Candidates in IPTO’s previous tender expected to re-emerge

The considerable market potential offered to investors by the power grid operator IPTO’s prospective split from parent company PPC, the main power utility, following last night’s agreement between Greek officials and the country’s creditor representatives, will surely reignite the interest of key European players.

The Greek state will acquire a 51 percent of IPTO while the other 49 percent will be sold at the bourse and to a certified European transmission system operator (TSO) through a tender.

This latter aspect of the IPTO sale, essentially a part privatization, is expected to draw the interest of major European operators as it will offer entry into a European electricity market, potential for partnerships, as well as opportunities for shares of EU funds provided for the development of European energy networks.

Italy’s Terna, which had shown the greatest interest among investors for IPTO in a recent unfinished effort made to sell a 66 percent through an international tender, before eventually withdrawing, is expected to re-emerge as a strong candidate. Terna is striving to expand its presence in southeast Europe and has made clear its intention to play a key role in the integration of the region’s electricity market. Acquiring a stake in IPTO will certainly help the Italian company’s southeast European aspirations.

Belgian company Elia, which had withdrawn its intererest in the recent IPTO tender prior to Terna, also has plans to expand its European market presence.

It appears that SGCC, the State Grid China Corporation, also a candidate in the unfinished IPTO tender, will not be able to seek a stake in the Greek operator through the new tender to offer part of IPTO’s 49 percent because the condition included in yesterday’s agreement restricts participation to certified European transmission system operators. However, SGCC will be able to acquire an IPTO stake through shares to be offered at the bourse. The same goes for the Canadian fund PSP and Australia’s IFM.

Preparations made for the previous unfinished tender will help swiften procedures in this latest effort. For example, the virtual data room remains open. An independent evaluation company is expected to be appointed imminently.

Issues that will need to be overcome for the procedure to make progress include offsetting PPC’s debt owed to its IPTO subsidiary. This may be factored into the compensation package to be offered to the power utility for the loss of its networks along with IPTO.