Lenders could turn to ongoing PPC probe for extra pressure

The country’s creditor representatives, threatening to table unfavorable European Directorate for Competition findings linked to a market abuse probe being conducted on the main power utility PPC, are applying relentless pressure for the sale of PPC units, a leading government official informed last night, during a break at the ongoing bailout negotiations in Athens, believed to not be producing real progress in the energy-sector issues being tackled.

Though it remains unclear whether either side has shown any willingness to compromise, the energy ministry is conveying a message of cautious optimism and insists that the bailout’s second review will not be obstructed by energy-sector matters.

Pundits keeping a close watch on the developments contended that the country’s lenders are remaining resolute on their demands but could offer some leniency on a demand to review PPC’s bailout-related market share contraction progress in June. This review could instead be staged in December, one well-informed contended.

The review could spark a demand for the immediate sale of 40 percent of PPC’s production units if the utility fails to meet market reduction targets, expected to gradually reduce PPC’s market share to less than 50 percent by 2020. PPC, maintaining a dominant market share of nearly 90 percent, missed its end-of-2016 target.