IPTO sale’s next step made amid shaky political climate

International tender procedures for the sale of a majority 66 percent stake in IPTO – Greece’s Independent Power Transmission Operator, locally referred to as ADMIE – are expected to take one more, and extremely significant, step over the next few days with the presentation of the Service Purchase Agreement and Shareholders Agreement to interested parties ahead of bidding.

Although a standard procedure intended to allow candidates to process the tender’s details and forward any observations or requests for revisions, in IPTO’s case, this step of the process also promises to serve as an indicator of the respective positions being maintained by the potential bidders amid an increasingly unsettling political climate in Greece that is beginning to point towards early national elections.

To date, neither the PPC, the Public Power Corporation – IPTO’s parent company – nor the Environment, Energy & Climate Change Minister have received any official word from the candidates about a waning interest over political instability concerns. However, according to market pundits, the potential bidders are feeling increasingly concerned. Four participants, Terna, SGCC, Elia, and PSP, have emerged as the candidates for the majority stake in IPTO.

Greece’s main opposition party, leftist Syriza, currently ahead in various polls, would be called upon to sign IPTO’s privatization agreement, if elected prior to its completion. Syriza says it opposes the privatization of all networks.

Both the coalition and PPC seem to be accelerating procedures for swifter finalization of the planned privatization. Government officials said completion by the end of the year is feasible, which could avert any entanglement of IPTO’s privatization with the increasingly ominous political climate. If needed, early elections would most probably be held in spring.