PPC partnerships no sooner than mid-2017, officials expect

Officials at main power utility PPC have told energypress that the energy ministry’s objective set for the establishment of corporate partnership between the power utility and private-sector investors within 2016 is not feasible.

The PPC officials, well aware of the technocratic details the procedure will entail, stated that the formation of a new partnership involving the utility and private-sector investors should not be expected any time sooner than 2017.

Also, PPC’s likeliest partner, the French company EDF, a subsidiary of Edison, has internal matters of its own to settle before it can look out again and focus on preparing a partnership agreement with PPC.

EDF is expected to remain preoccupied with its internal affairs until the end of May. Even if PPC-Edison talks begin during the second half of 2016 and proceed at a rapid pace, the remaining months of the year will not suffice to finalize a deal.

The French company has yet to submit an official offer to PPC for a partnership. Once a move is made, PPC will need to select the assets it will include in the new venture, then have these evaluated as a means of determining the stake it will demand in the company, and thirdly, stage a general shareholders meeting on the matter.

Officials aware of the procedure’s issues said the plan stands no chance of being completed before mid-2017.

Some officials have noted that another factor making this process difficult is the lack of conviction being shown by PPC. The utility does not appear to have fully accepted the ministry’s plan for PPC-related partnerships as the only solution that will steer the company away from other undesired options, such as a part-privatization plan for PPC.

The utility seems to be dragging its feet towards a solution. Genop, PPC’s main workers union, appears to be preparing for battle. The union has already condemned the government for forgetting all that it stood for when in opposition.

Although PPC has publically denied it, Elpedison – owned by Edison, ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum), and the Ellaktor group – has demanded that one or two hydropower stations be included in the partnership deal.

PPC’s long-rumored partnership plan entails offering its Melitis I or Amyndeo power station, along with a license for the prospective power station Melitis II, 60 percent of a lignite mine in Vevi, as well as other mines in the area. According to this plan, the private investor will be expected to include production facilities, as well as capital to fund upgrades of PPC power stations and develop the new Melitis II power plant. Germany’s RWE and Russian investors have also been approached but have reportedly not responded.