IPTO virtual data room closes tomorrow, two-horse race seen

An ongoing sale procedure offering a 24 percent stake of IPTO, Greece’s power grid operator, to strategic investors is entering its final stage as prospective bidders have just one more day of access to the operator’s virtual data room.

The prospective bidders, Italy’s Terna, France’s RTE and China’s State Grid, the three operators through to the second stage of the sale’s international tender, will then need to submit binding bids by mid-October.

Based on current indications, RTE appears to be the least interested of all three candidates, so much so that officials believe the French operator may not submit a binding bid for IPTO’s 24 percent.

RTE, a wholly owned subsidiary of EdF, is currently looking to reduce its debt level and, as a result, is examing the prospect of offering an equity share to investors.

As for the other two prospective bidders, Terna and China’s State Grid, both have remained active in the sale procedure, raising hopes that a bidding war may eventuate and benefit the seller, IPTO’s parent company PPC, the main power utility.

Certain pundits believe Terna will not be able to match China’s State Grid’s offer. Others contend that the Italian operator’s strategic interest in IPTO should not be underestimated. Terna plans to expand its presence in the Balkans and play a key role in the region whose electricty market is headed towards intergration.