PPC near bank deal to refinance 1.3-bln-euro bond loan

Public Power Corporation is close to a deal with creditor banks to refinance a bond loan worth 1.3 billion euros, paving the way to an upgrade of its credit rating and its return to capital markets this year, Manolis Panagiotakis, PPC’s chairman and CEO said on Thursday.
Addressing an energy congress in Athens, Panagiotakis said that this move combined with lowering burdens for renewable energy sources, increased availability of hydro-electric power stations and repayment of state arrears worth 120 million euros in May, PPC will be in a position to operate smoothly in the next two years.
However, he underlined the need to complete – the soonest possible – an energy planning, a precondition for the disinvestment of lignite power stations in Megalopoli and Florina. “If there are no clear plans, if the investor does not know what the energy mix is, either he will not have a reason to invest, or he will lead the price lower,” Panagiotakis said. He asked for a clear answer on whether lignite will remain in the energy planning of the country, while he stressed that PPC agreed with a reorientation of electricity production towards renewable energy source. For this reason, he explained, PPC’s business plan envisages the increase of renewable energy sources’ power by 15 times in the next decade.
Mihalis Verriopoulos, secretary-general of the Environment and Energy Ministry, said a national energy plan, currently underway, will have to offer a balance between the need to reduce dependence from coal and energy supply security. The final aim is to have a transparent market with an increased role for consumers, dominance of renewables and promotiion of energy storage, he noted.