Investors – funds and major operators – are believed to be expressing strong interest for a minority stake in power grid operator IPTO’s subsidiary Ariadne Interconnection, the project developer of the Athens-Crete electricity grid interconnection.
Talks with parties interested in an Ariadne Interconnection stake have commenced, the power grid operator’s deputy chief Yiannis Margaris informed media during a press call for a presentation of the company’s annual financial results.
Prospective Ariadne shareholders must be financially robust, well acquainted with energy-sector matters, and focused on long-term investments, Margaris pointed out, setting terms and conditions.
The operator is focusing its search on big groups with portfolios carrying major investments, the deputy said.
IPTO’s administration is already engaged in talks with European operators such as Belgium’s Elia and French operator RTE, Margaris indicated.
IPTO expects to sign a bank loan agreement this month for an amount between 400 and 500 million euros to help finance the Athens-Crete interconnection. A sum stemming from Ariadne’s cash reserves worth 200 million euros and National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) funds of between 300 and 400 million euros are also expected to contribute.
The Athens-Crete link project is set to start and all the funds must be in place, IPTO officials said.
The possible involvement in Ariadne of investors will help achieve better borrowing terms, the officials added, while stressing the two procedures – search for a minority shareholder and capital – are moving ahead independently of each other.
Talks are also in progress with investors for island interconnections to facilitate RES projects, Margaris said.