ELPE holding company state control thoughts new sale delay

A local Capital Market Commission demand that would have required the eventual preferred investor in the ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) to make a public offering to other company shareholders may have been dropped but a new stumbling block, possibly bigger, has surfaced in the ELPE sale offering investors 50.1 percent as the government is now pushing for a plan that would maintain the Greek State’s control of hydrocarbon exploration and production rights at all licenses already awarded to ELPE. These rights would be transferred to a state-controlled holding company.

The government appears to be pursuing a revised arrangement that would offer the Greek state control of ELPE’s existing exploration and production rights with a stake of at least 51 percent, even 100 percent.

Paneuropean, offering 30.47 percent of 45.47 percent held in ELPE to the sale, had reached an agreement last April with the government for the Greek State, offering 20.5 of its 35.5 percent stake, to hold a 25 percent stake, not 51 percent or 100 percent, in the new holding company, to be named Exploration Holding Company. This stake would eventually rise to 36.25 percent, directly and indirectly, for the Greek State.

However, the energy ministry now wants a reexamination of April’s agreement, energypress sources informed.

Over the past few weeks, the ministry has been holding talks with Paneuropean as well as ELPE’s two contenders, Glencore and Vitol, in search for a new arrangement that would increase the Greek State’s control of the new holding company from 25 percent to no less than a 51 percent majority, if not total control.