PPC, DEPA, ELPE privatizations to remain on TAIPED agenda

TAIPED, the State Privatization Fund, is expected to keep the energy utility privatizations concerning the main power utiliy PPC (17%), the Public Gas Corporation DEPA (65%) and Hellenic Petroleum ELPE (35%) on its updated strategic plan, sources have informed.

A draft plan of pending privatizations forward by the country’s creditor representatives to the Greek government includes all three as well as slow-moving and troubled privatization efforts such as that of DESFA, the natural gas grid operator.

These will all be included in TAIPEDs’s new Asset Development Plan (ADP), updated every six months. A total of 17 privatizations are expected to be included on the next ADP list, two less than in May. The sales of Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) and the Asteras hotel resort in Vouliagmeni, southern Athens, have been completed.

The energy sector privatizations will stand as a leading priority on the new ADP list. TAIPED, according to the bailout agreement, will need to recruit consultants, a prior action for the second review’s completion, expected by December 5, when the next Eurogroup meeting of EU finance ministers is scheduled to be held.

The consultants will offer guidance on the best possible routes for these privatizations. Options, for example, could include sale procedures via the bourse or purchases by strategic investors. The objective will be for the privatization procedures of PPC and DEPA, at the very least, to be launched in 2017.

Once officially announced, the updated ADP list will bring an end to the serious doubts of energy sector privatizations expressed by the recently replaced energy minister Panos Skourletis.

Of course, some time will be needed to get the PPC, DEPA and ELPE sales rolling once consultants have been hired. Unique obstacles concerning each of the three utilities will first need to be cleared.