A request made by Paneuropean Oil – a member of the Latsis corporate group holding a 45.47 percent stake in ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) – for a latter date concerning the oil refinery’s next shareholders’ meeting, has been accepted but the motive behind the move remains unknown.
Prior to this request for the meeting’s delay, the Latsis group had remained discreet with regard to its ELPE stake in years. However, last July, Paneuropean did increase its stake in ELPE from 42 percent to the current level.
Reports claiming to know the reason, or reasons, behind the Latsis group’s move to delay the next ELPE shareholders’ meeting are merely speculative.
ELPE’s future as a shareholder in DEPA, the public gas corporation, and DESFA, the natural gas grid operator, is one issue that needs to be cleared up.
The utilization of the Greek State’s 35 percent share in ELPE also needs to be addressed. TAIPED, the State Privatization Fund, has already announced a tender seeking a consultant for this stake’s prospective sale.
The administrative rights of ELPE’s two main shareholders, Paneuropean Oil and the Greek State, also need to be clarified.
At present, Paneuropean holds two seats on the ELPE board, while officials stemming from the Latsis group hold key executive posts at the refinery, especially in financial management and planning.
Certain reports have claimed the Greek government has accepted a request by the Latsis group for the appointment of a Paneuropean official on the ELPE board. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras responded to these reports by declaring that “winning teams do not change their line-ups,” a reference to ELPE’s recent company record profit figures. Even so, an increased Paneuropean representation at ELPE has not been ruled out.
Other reports have linked the Latsis group’s request for a delay of the next ELPE shareholders’ meeting to discontent felt by the group in its relations with the government for its wider corporate interests, beyond ELPE.