Local investors subdued over PPC lignite units for sale

Local investors appear reserved, if not even more disinterested, in a package of lignite-fired power stations and mines to soon be offered through the main power utility PPC’s bailout-required sale of such units, following a renewed request made yesterday by the power utility’s CEO Manolis Panagiotakis to possible buyers, including industries.

The power utility’s rise in operating costs, in 2017, following an increase of lignite-fired electricity generation, a development framed in the power utility’s latest financial results posted just days ago, has further unsettled the negative thoughts of many investors over the future prospects of PPC’s lignite units.

One major local player, among a group of investors who have not entirely abandoned the possibility of participating in PPC’s sale of lignite units, stressed that authorities should understand there is far less money to be made in the lignite sector.

The outlooks of other leading Greek investors were even more negative. “We will not invest in lignite even if the units are offered to us for free,” one investor pointed out.

A PPC board meeting that had been planned for yesterday – to launch the lignite disinvestment procedure and endorse the hirings of consulting firms already selected – did not take place as the power utility’s main union, Genop, occupied the company headquarters. This meeting has now been rescheduled for Monday as a teleconference in order to disenable further Genop intervention.

Panagiotakis, PPC’s boss, yesterday promised to offer investors a detailed presentation of all related figures and prospective benefits. He reiterated that contact is being maintained with Greek industrialists. The industrial sector, in particular, has further incentive to participate in the sale and secure steady tariffs amid the changing electricity market environment, the PPC chief pointed out.

The sale’s announcement will be made in late May, as scheduled, despite the Genop resistance, Panagiotakis noted, adding that creditors, especially banks, will be offered a one-month period for any reaction.

The aim is to make an announcement for final offers by late June or early July, the PPC chief informed.

Responding to concerns of a low sale price for the units as a result of the EU’s environmental policies, Panagiotakis insisted that independent valuators, taking all factors into account, will determine the sale package’s worth.