Fast-track process for Brussels approval of SGCC’s IPTO move

A decision by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition on an agreement between PPC, the main power utility, and China’s SGCC (State Grid Corporation of China), for the latter’s acquisition of a 24 percent stake in the power grio operator IPTO, a PPC subsidiary, could be nearing as the Brussels competition authority is putting the case through a simplified, fast-track procedure.

This would enable the application’s examination to take considerably less time than the many months normally required in Brussels for such cases.

Greek authorities submitted their application to the DG Comp on April 10, seeking its endorsement for the SGCC acquisition agreement. Approval from Brussels would enable the SGCC purchase to go ahead, bringing in needed cash for PPC.

The DG Comp’s eventual refusal to endorse a sale plan for DESFA’s (natural gas grid operator) 66 percent was a key aspect in that privatization attempt’s downfall.

However, SGCC’s interest in IPTO differs as the Chinese company is seeking to buy a minority stake of the operator. Brussels could set specific management terms.

As previously reported by energypress, Brussels has grown increasingly skeptical of strategically significant acquisitions by Chinese firms.

Current indications suggest the IPTO case is making solid progress in Brussels. If so, one final requirement, certification by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, and energy authorities in Brussels, will be needed to enable the operator’s split. The DG Energy is not expected to fully use up a two-month period it will have at its disposal but, instead, act swiftly and rely on terms set by RAE.