DESFA sale’s deadline this Friday is final, bidders told

Though this coming Friday’s latest deadline for bindings bids in a tender offering a 66 percent stake of DESFA, the natural gas grid operator, is drawing near, reports of new obstacles and unresolved issues troubling the privatization attempt’s prospective bidders are abounding.

Despite the concerns, a new deadline extension beyond the February 16 date, following a previous stretch, will not be granted to the tender’s two remaining bidding teams, authorities have told energypress.

The DESFA privatization’s progress is crucial to the conclusion of the bailout’s third review, promising Greece a 5.7 billion-euro tranche. A new Eurogroup meeting concerning this review is scheduled to take place on February 19, just three days after the DESFA tender’s deadline.

A team comprised of Italy’s Snam, Spain’s Enagas, Belgium’s Fluxys and Dutch operator Gasunie represents one of the two bidding teams. Spain’s Regasificadora del Noroeste has joined forces with Romania’s Transgaz as the other contender.

As has been previously reported, participants are demanding a revenue formula correlating investment performance with risk. Prospective bidders have also requested greater leniency for a time restriction limiting their right to resell any fraction of the 66 percent stake to be acquired in DESFA.

According to sources, an agreement has been reached that will permit buyers to resell their respective DESFA stakes once 24 months have elapsed, under the condition that their sale price does not exceed the amount to be established through the current tender.

The Greek government is aiming for a sale price of at least 400 million euros, the amount offered by Azerbaijan’s Socar, the winning bidder of a previous and unfinished DESFA tender in 2013, which had also offered a 66 percent stake of the operator.