PPC, Edison talks not yet over, officials to meet at conference

Italian energy company Edison, already producing about 12 percent of Greece’s national electricity output through Elpedison, a joint venture also involving Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) and Ellaktor, has not given up the prospect of establishing a partnership with main power utility PPC, despite recent claims by the latter’s boss ruling out the prospect.

In comments offered last week, PPC’s chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis said talks with Edison for a possible partnership would not continue, adding that negotiations are “now being held with others”.

Edison’s executive vice president Roberto Poti, who will be part of the same panel with Panagiotakis at an Economist conference next week, is likely to take the opportunity and raise the prospect of a PPC-Edison partnership. If so, a new response from the PPC boss, and any ensuing dialogue, could shed light on the matter.

PPC is looking to form partnerships as part of its strategy to counter a bailout-required market share reduction.

The PPC chief, in his comments last week, explained that talks with Edison for a partnership concerning development of the Melitis 2 power station in Florina, northern Greece, could not continue as the French EDF group, which controls Edison, does not invest in lignite units. According to Panagiotakis, Edison had made an offer to PPC.

The Greek power utility chief’s position does not represent the stance of the Greek government, which favors the establishment of partnerships as a means of avoiding any forced sales of PPC units. This could be prompted if bailout demands aiming to further liberalize the country’s electricity market, by subduing PPC’s current dominance in production and supply, are not met.

Local market officials agreed with Panagiotakis’s remarks on EDF, noting that the French corporate group is not interested in investing in lignite, adding that this is the case with most European energy companies due to CO2 emission reduction obligations.

The local officials added that establishing a partnership purely for the development of a new power unit is not a usual tactic in the sector as joint ventures usually have broader objectives.