PPC lignite units sale headed for new deadline extension

The main power utility PPC’s bailout-required sale of lignite units, representing 40 percent of its overall lignite capacity, is headed for yet another deadline extension beyond the current January 7 date for binding bids, energypress sources have informed following a meeting between the power utility’s chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis and Genop union leaders, staged on the eve of Christmas.

At this stage, January 25 appears to be the likeliest new date for binding bids.

Prospective buyers want all procedures for a voluntary exit plan concerning 1,248 employees at the Megalopoli and Meliti power stations, both incurring losses, to be  completed before they submit any binding bids. According to energypress sources, a January 10 deadline has been set for the voluntary exit plan.

PPC included the voluntary exit plan to the disinvestment’s sales and purchase agreement (SPA) terms as an incentive.

Losses incurred at the Megalopoli and Meliti power stations and the unfavorable overall conditions concerning lignite as an energy source are two factors believed to be keeping investor offer plans at subdued levels.

A total of 1,017 staff members are employed at the Megalopoli facilities and 231 at Meliti. Investors have called for a reduction of 600 workers at both units. This means the Meliti power station would be left with 120 workers and Megalopoli with 480. Unionists are questioning whether such a target is attainable.

Employees accepting the voluntary exit plan stand to receive severance pay of 15,000 euros and a bonus amount worth 5,000 euros.

Other key incentives offered to investors in the SPA include Brussels-endorsed CAT remuneration of between 35,000 and 40,000 euros per MW for lignite-fired power production over a six-year period; a steady lignite supply price by PPC for the Meliti power station until a dispute concerning the nearby lignite mines in Florina is resolved; and the elimination of a lignite surcharge, already ratified in parliament and factored into investor equations.