IPTO bidders waiting for virtual data room access, now delayed

Three qualifiers through to the second stage of an international tender offering a 24 percent share of IPTO, the power grid operator, are expected to be granted access into the operator’s virtual data room within the next fortnight, slightly behind schedule.

Once in, the bidders will be able to conduct their due diligence procedures before submitting binding bids.

The virtual data room’s opening was originally scheduled for as early as this week but now appears set for a slight delay as a result of technical issues. Officals keeping a close watch on the developments believe IPTO’s virtual data room will be open for investors by the end of August, at the very latest.

The IPTO tender faces an extremely tight schedule. If the country’s lenders deem that its overall progress is unsatisfactory, then IPTO, a subsidiary firm wholly owned by main power utility PPC, will face the prospect of full privatization.

Under the current plan, 24 percent of IPTO is being offered to strategic investors, 51 percent will be transferred from PPC to the Greek State, while the other 25 percent will be offered to investors through the bourse.

France’s RTE, an EdF subsidiary, China’s State Grid International Development Limited, Hong Kong, and Italy’s Terna are the three contenders for IPTO’s 24 percent.

The virtual data room will remain open for roughly one month. The candidates must be provided a complete picture of the PPC subsidiary within September. Binding bids will need to be submitted in October, at a date to be announced, while a preferred bidder must be named by October 31.

According to sources, all three qualifiers are very interested in the Greek operator and, so far, have only gone as far as to present their respective company descriptions without unveiling any information on their plans for IPTO.

The potential buyers all view investing in IPTO as a move that would support their aspirations to further expand in southeast Europe. The candidates all intend to play leading roles in the region by making new investments in electricity interconnection projects and also establishing a strategic presence in the European electricity market as it heads towards the EU target model of full integration.

A leading priority for the European Commission, energy integration promises to simplify transborder electricity transmission.

The aforementioned factors explain why Italy’s Terna and China’s State Grid International Development Limited, Hong Kong had both also taken part in a preceding IPTO tender staged by the country’s previous administration, offering a 66 percent stake.