IPTO plan could work under certain conditions, advisers say

High-profile international consultants hired to assess a Greek government proposal submitted to the country’s creditor representatives three months ago for power grid operator IPTO’s split from parent company PPC, the main power utility, believe the plan can work under certain conditions, while they have recommended certain revisions.

Negotiations between Greek government officials and creditor representatives are currently in full swing in Athens. According to energypress sources, the talks on IPTO’s future are taking place primarily at a technical level. Energy minister Panos Skourletis has held just one meeting with the creditor representatives.

Two consulting firms working on the case, Lazard, a leading global financial advisory and asset management firm, and the business law firm Norton Rose, are playing a key role in the process.

They believe appropriate conditions concerning a complex series of issues, including legal matters, taxation, social security, and convergence with other European corporate breakaways, will need to be achieved.

According to the government’s original plan for IPTO, a 51 percent stake would be sold to the Greek state, 29 percent would be placed on the bourse, and 20 percent would be sold to a strategic investor.

The consulting firms have advised the creditor representatives that it would be preferable if the 29 percent equity share of the new IPTO company were not placed on the bourse. Besides the 20 percent designated for a strategic investor, the consultants have recommended that additional institutional investors should come on board before any remaining stake is placed on the bourse.

As for the payment to PPC for IPTO’s breakaway, the power utility will receive the amounts to be agreed from the strategic and institutional investors. However, it has already become clear that the Greek state will not be able to offer cash for its acquisition of a 51 percent share in IPTO. Instead, the consultants are looking at solutions such as the partial payment of PPC debt through future IPTO profits.

The creditor representatives still need to be persuaded by the consultants on the feasibility of the Greek government’s IPTO plan, including the latest revisions proposed. Should the Greek plan be deemed impossible to implement, then an alternative solution entailing a one-hundred percent sale of IPTO will be retabled.