PPC facing new era with 34% transfer to holding company

In recent times, the administration of power utility PPC and its main union group Genop leaders have focused their attention on this coming Monday’s follow-up PPC general shareholders meeting, needed following the disruption of last week’s session, during which the government’s bailout-required plan to split and sell the utility’s subsidiary firm IPTO, the power grid operator, must be endorsed.

However, another significant development is also emerging, this being the transfer, in autumn, of a 34 percent stake of PPC to the country’s new Public Holding Company (EDIS), to serve as a subsidiary of Greece’s new super-privatization fund.

At the same time, the company to hold the Greek State’s prospective 51 percent of IPTO – once the operator is split from PPC and between 20 and 24 percent is sold to a strategic investor – will also be transferred to the EDIS fund. The fund will carry privatization candidates to be sold only if necessary.

Despite the significant corporate group changes to be brought about at PPC by the transfer of a 34 percent share to the EDIS fund, few at the utility seem to have realized the development’s magnitude.

It essentially represents the bailout agreement’s final step for the PPC of the future, the others being last May’s move by the government council for economic policy to include a 17 percent share of PPC in TAIPED, the exisiting State Privatization Fund, as well as the IPTO split and sale plan, now in progress.

The PPC and IPTO stakes to remain with the Greek State will both be placed in the EDIS fund. The move is intended to help further reduce their operating costs, support management, based on Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) practices, and also improve results and company values.

The Greek State currently holds a 51.12 percent of PPC, including the 17 percent transfeted to TAIPED. The energy ministry has politically controlled the utility and the finance ministry has technically been its main shareholder. New chiefs at EDIS and the new privatization fund, to be selected jointly with the country’s lenders, will soon enter the picture. The straitjacket on PPC will tighten.

Though still at the beginning of a period of changes that will not become apparent until next winter or within 2017, the overall developments, along with the arrival of NOME auctions in September and the resulting greater competition in the electricity market, promise to establish a completely different picture in 2017 and 2018.