The Latsis corporate group, the main shareholder of ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum), is expected to play a pivotal role in the Greek government’s quest to retain as big a share as possible of DESFA, the natural gas grid operator, for the Greek State – perhaps even 51 percent.
ELPE holds a 35 percent stake of DESFA, part of which will be needed if the Greek State is to maintain a considerable share of the operator. A new international tender is being planned following the recent collapse of the long-lasting initial sale effort.
The Greek State currently holds 66 percent of DESFA, of which 31 percent, however, has been transferred to TAIPED, the state privatization fund, which essentially leaves the state with 35 percent, unless a percentage is acquired from ELPE’s percent stake.
According to energypress, ELPE has not yet been approached by the Greek government. In the event that an offer is made, a positive response from ELPE is anything but certain. The Latsis group sees strong potential in southeast Europe’s natural gas market.
The DESFA sale process is moving slowly despite the fact that the government needs to fill a 188 million-euro gap in privatization revenues for 2017.
The government can be expected to continue dragging its feet on the DESFA sale if its objective of establishing a plan that may ensure considerable control of the operator for the Greek State is not achieved. The energy ministry has not denied its interest in the prospect of a 51 percent DESFA stake for the Greek State.