Finalized DEPA privatization plan needed, time pressuring

With time pressure growing and one alternative plan after another being worked and reworked by Greek authorities for the bailout-required privatization at DEPA, the public gas corporation, officials at TAIPED, the state privatization fund, the gas utility and energy ministry are likely to meet during the week to forge a finalized plan.

Greece’s obligation to sell a 65 percent stake will remain the basis of the plan, but  alternatives of equivalent worth will be sought. At least two alternatives have so far being proposed. The energy ministry and DEPA appear to favor establishing a holding company to be comprised of three subsidiaries and be eligible for a listing on the bourse.

According to this plan, one of the three subsidiaries will control the DEPA networks and a strategic investor could cquire a minority stake. The second subsidiary would take on commercial affairs but a majority stake could be sold to investors. The third subsidiary would remain a part of the holding company and control major projects.

According to DEPA sources, this option is the most preferred.

DEPA still needs to finalize negotiations concerning changes at its supply and distribution ventures with local partners Shell and Eni before the privatization procedure can proceed.

DEPA is expected to withdraw from the EPA supply company covering Greece’s north and remain a part of the distribution company, EDA Thess. DEPA holds 51 percent stakes in these ventures and Italy’s Eni the other 49 percent.

DEPA is also expected to acquire Shell’s 49 percent in EPA Attiki and EDA Attiki, two ventures serving the wider Athens area. DEPA also holds respective 51 percent stakes in these.

An announcement by DEPA and Shell is expected imminently, sources have informed. A price tag of nearly 150 million euros is expected to be attached to Shell’s withdrawal. Other details remain undisclosed.