Institutional investor in DESFA sale to be offered 25% stake

Latest developments in the long-delayed sale of a major stake in DESFA, Greece’s natural gas grid operator, indicate that an institutional investor will be offered a 25 percent share, well above the level of at least 17 percent demanded by the European Commission.

Azeri energy firm Socar had agreed to purchase a 66 percent stake of DESFA after winning an international tender in 2013 before the European Commission intervened to demand that it surrender 17 percent to a certified European operator, which would reduce Socar’s stake to 49 percent.

The acquisition of a 25 percent share of DESFA by a prospective institutional investor would reduce Socar’s stake to 41 percent and make the Greek State the operator’s second-largest shareholder with a 34 percent stake.

At the time of the tender procedure’s completion, Socar had offered 400 million euros for a 66 percent stake of DESFA.

On another natural gas-related front, the energy ministry has reportedly rejected any chance of a gas network usage fee hike of as much as 66 percent, which is permitted by current operating regulations that apply for DESFA. The operator relies on these fees for revenue. It is believed that a milder increase of less than 10 percent is being considered.