PPC eyeing Fyrom, Albania, Turkey to offset local retreat

Greece’s main power utility PPC, keen to gain from the opportunities offered by an early entry into a foreign electricity market now being liberalized, is looking to acquire EDS, an electricity trading company with a 320 MW portfolio in Fyrom, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, representing 40 percent of the neighboring market, and possessing a presence, through subsidiaries, in the Serbian, Slovak and Kosovo markets.

Facing severe bailout-required market share contraction targets in Greece, PPC is desperately seeking to offset its anticipated domestic retreat with the generation of revenues abroad.

Though it is still too early for PPC to make any formal announcements on investment objectives in the wider region, the power utility has, for quite some time now, been examining a variety of prospects, including investing in Albanian hydropower facilities. PPC has already established a subsidiary in Albania.

Turkey is another neighboring market being examined by PPC. Early last month, PPC’s chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis, speaking at the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce’s annual “Greek Economy Conference”, revealed that the Greek power utility was looking to acquire the development rights for a power station in Turkey’s Eskisehir area, in the northwest, with Chinese firm Shenhua as the investment’s partner. “Our strategic choice is to become leaders in the region, which will enable us to develop as a modern electricity company,” Panagiotakis had remarked, suggesting PPC needs the support of foreign capital to remain afloat.

The Eskisehir plan entails the development of a 1,080-MW power plant, according to Turkish media. Lignite deposits in the area currently belong to EUAS (Electricity Generation Inc), which, along with the prospective power facility, represent part of a privatization plan. A January 26 deadline has been set for binding offers, while, according to local media, the winning bidder will be able to sell electricity production to the Turkish grid, through this facility, at a minimum tariff level of 5 to 6 dollars per KWh.

According to the bailout terms, PPC needs to reduce its Greek retail electricity market share to 49 percent by 2020.