Fifteen local, foreign players interested in PPC lignite units

Greek and foreign electricity production firms, mixed teams, as well as local industrial energy consumers make up fifteen enterprises which, according to the energy ministry, have expressed an interest, through a recent market test, to acquire main power utility PPC lignite units in Megalopoli and Meliti, being offered in a bailout-required sale package.

Though the sale procedure has yet to reach a binding stage, certain players, responding to a market test question asking respondents if they intend to participate in the upcoming tender, provided positive answers, while noting  that their current interest remains conditional.

According to energypress sources, these firms include GEK-Terna, the Copelouzos Group, joined by China’s Shenhua for the PPC units sale, industrial energy consumers such as Viohalco, as well as electricity producers from eastern Europe, where lignite-fired electricity generation remains widespread.

Other players, including local industrial giant Mytilineos, have opted to keep their intentions under wraps for the time being.

The results produced by the market test, staged by the European Directorate for Competition to get a feel of investor intentions, will not necessarily be followed up later on in the sale, meaning that any interpretations of indications at this stage are premature.

Minimum sale prices to be set by an independent evaluator will be crucial. They will remain sealed and disclosed once first-round offers have been opened to determine qualifiers of the sale, scheduled to take place in June. PPC may request improved offers if these are below evaluation levels. Many market officials believe evaluation levels will be reasonable.

“If the evaluation levels are reasonable then many players may participate in the sale, including ones who did not express an interest in the market test. However, if these evaluation levels are deemed to be too high, then the number of participants could be restricted to a single-digit figure,” noted a highly-ranked official at one company.

This official added that certain negative market test responses could end up becoming positive as the sale procedure’s conditions are clarified over time. The content of a draft bill currently being prepared by the energy ministry will also be crucial factor, the official noted.

PPC’s commitment to share unit withdrawal costs with investors, once the time comes, is seen as a positive factor by prospective investors.

The European Commission will maintain full control of the sale procedure through a monitoring trustee, according to Greek daily Kathimerini.