Ministry proposes law revision for ELPE sale’s public offering dispute

Greece’s finance ministry has proposed a legislative revision as a solution exempting the ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) privatization from law concerning public offering procedures.

The Capital Market Commission, locked in a dispute with the ministry and TAIPED, the state privatization fund, has insisted that the ELPE privatization cannot be exempted from public offering procedures as, besides the Greek State, selling 20.5 of its 35.5 percent stake, the sale also involves a private-sector company, Paneuropean, ELPE’s main shareholder, which owns 45.47 percent and is selling a 30.47 percent stake. Subsequently, the sale cannot be regarded as one of exclusive interest to the public sector, the Capital Market Commission has contended.

Insiders believe the finance ministry’s revision proposal will not be easy to achieve as the law concerning public offers is clear.

The dispute has prompted a deadline delay for binding bids, now expected to be extended until no sooner than December.

Dutch enterprise Vitol and Switzerland’s Glencore are the two contenders in an international tender offering 51 percent of ELPE.