Local officials question potential of minister’s DEPA sale plan

Local officials have expressed doubts over the potential of an alternative DEPA privatization plan prepared by energy minister Giorgos Stathakis, entailing the establishment of a holding company to serve as an umbrella for three new subsidiaries respectively covering commercial, distribution and international projects divisions.

Besides the domestic disagreements, it remains to be been how the troika will react to the minister’s proposal when its head officials arrive in Athens next week for bailout negotiations.

According to energypress sources, certain local officials have expressed concerns as to whether the minister’s DEPA plan can raise the expected privatization funds. The skeptics believe the plan will not be able to raise more than 180 million euros. A total of 250 million euros is expected from the sale of a 66 percent stake of DEPA.

These officials fear the plan’s appeal may be insufficient for investors.

DEPA’s networks will definitely draw the interest of investors, pundits have told energypress. On the contrary, the gas firm’s commercial division is expected to be a less sought after prospect given the increasing competition in the natural gas market, the pundits added.

A new proposal entailing the establishment of two subsidiaries, one representing DEPA’s networks and the other the firm’s commercial division, without a holding company, has now also been tabled, it is believed. Each subsidiary would be sold separately to represent a 65 percent privatization.

The picture should start clearing up next week, on Wednesday, when the troika meets with government officials.