IPTO evaluation result next Friday, on binding bids deadline day

The results of an independent evaluation of IPTO, Greece’s power grid operator, being conducted by Barclays are expected to be delivered next Friday, a date coinciding with the binding bids deadline for prospective bidders participating in an ongoing international tender for a 24 percent stake of the operator, currently a wholly owned subsidiary of PPC, the main power utility.

PPC will not accept anything less for IPTO’s 24 percent than the figure to eventuate from the evaluation.

Three strategic investors, Italy’s Terna, France’s RTE and China’s State Grid International Development have qualified for the international tender’s second round, involving binding bids. The deadline for bids expires on October 21. Local authorities added a further two days to a preceding one-week extension. The new deadline for bids coincides with the evaluation’s delivery date.

At this stage, China’s State Grid International Development appears to be the most interested of the three candidates – in terms of enquiries and proposals being made, both for the tender’s conditions and the operator’s future plans.

Both PPC and IPTO officials believe that if the Chinese firm decides to submit a binding bid for the Greek operator’s 24 percent, its price will be insurmountable.

Despite being interested in IPTO as part of a wider regional strategy, Italy’s Terna has noted its bid will reflect the sale’s actual commercial prospects. The firm does not want to unsettle its own financial standing or shareholder interests.

Though France’s RTE was recently engaged in talks with Hydro-Quebec, a Montreal-based global powerhouse, for a possible joint bid, the two sides did not reach an agreement. As a result, the French company will most likely not make a binding offer.