PPC racing against time for IPTO sale, concerns growing

The main power utility PPC is racing against time to list a power grid operator IPTO holding company on the bourse by May, a bailout requirement included in the split-and-sale plan for the operator, a utility subsidiary.

According to sources, a plan of the prospectus for the prospective listing of the holding company, to carry a 51 percent stake of IPTO, has already been presented to the Hellenic Capital Market Commission (HCMC).

A finalized prospectus will be established as soon as PPC has posted its financial results for 2016. If the listing’s prospectus were to be finalized now, PPC would need to base it on the corporation’s most recently published financial results, meaning the nine-month results for 2016.

Sources closely connected to the IPTO sale procedure told energypress that the objective is to have finalized both the holding company’s bourse listing and split from PPC within May.

PPC, the operator’s parent company, is looking forward to receiving funds from the sale of a 24 percent share of IPTO to SGCC (State Grid Corporation of China) as well as the sale of a 25 percent stake to the Greek State. The total payment expected from these two sources, estimated at over 620 million euros, promises to offer financial relief to PPC, burdened by a poor cash flow.

In more recent times, market officials have expressed growing concern over the IPTO sale’s prospects, fearing its possible collapse, as was the case with the long-running attempt to sell a 66 percent stake of DESFA, the natural gas grid operator, to the Azerbaijani energy firm Socar, with Italy’s Snam as a partner.

The European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition had intervened on the DESFA sale, citing competition concerns. The DG Comp demanded that the Azerbaijani company surrender a portion of the majority DESFA stake it had agreed to acquire and become a minority partner in the deal.

With China’s SGCC set to become involved in IPTO’s future management decisions, Brussels appears to be examining the introduction of protective measures that would prevent aggressive takeovers by Chinese firms, subsidized by the Chinese State to outbid rival buyers in tenders.

PPC and the Greek government would want to have pressed ahead with the IPTO sale prior to the implementation of any such restrictive measures by Brussels.