The country’s major energy sector players are more or less split in their investment interest for DEPA Trade and DEPA Infrastructure, the two new entities to emerge from gas utility DEPA’s privatization plan, but the overall interest for DEPA Trade appears to be more substantial.
The Mytilineos group, Motor Oil and the Copelouzos group have already expressed interest in DEPA Trade and will probably submit bids once the tender is staged. Hellenic Petroleum ELPE, holding a 35 percent stake in DEPA, is also expected to express interest in DEPA Trade.
The emergence of foreign bidders cannot be ruled out as Greece’s natural gas market is gaining prominence as a hub for the wider region in southeast Europe.
As for the gas utility’s networks, Italy’s Eni, maintaining interests in the trade and distribution markets of Thessaloniki and the Thessaly region, is reported to be interested in DEPA Infrastructure. GEK Terna is also believed to be seriously considering this entity’s gas distribution prospects.
Besides the level of bids, the energy ministry will also take into account the respective business plans to be submitted by investors to the DEPA Infrastructure tender, the objective being to secure further network expansion covering new regions.
Details and procedures concerning the DEPA privatization plan have been included in a draft bill to soon be delivered to Greek Parliament. In the lead-up, the plan will be presented for public consultation, possibly beginning today.
Unlike the previous government’s plan, the Greek State’s entire 65 percent stake in DEPA will be offered through the two new entities.
The DEPA Trade and DEPA Infrastructure tenders are expected to be staged concurrently.