Revisions, delays expected for PPC’s lignite-only sale package

Serious European Commission concerns over Greece’s proposal for the bailout-required sale package of PPC units are expected to lead to delays in the procedure as well as sale plan revisions.

According to the bailout schedule, the sale list of PPC units ought to have been endorsed by the Directorate-General for Competition no later than today, ahead of a market test scheduled for October, to determine the level of investor interest. Instead, the Greek proposal, a lignite-only package delivered to Brussels a few weeks ago, has been met with hesitation.

Revisions to the package will most likely be needed, a prospect that would delay the entire procedure. The task has also been made even more difficult by a DG Comp demand requiring a swifter sale process, prior to 2020, of a 40 percent portion of PPC’s lignite capacity. Greek authorities have presented a schedule that stretches beyond 2020.

This discrepancy in the sale’s schedule could also prompt changes to the PPC sale list content.

The inclusion of the utility’s Amynteo unit, a facility whose lifespan expires in 2020 and which would require an investment of around 100 million euros to keep operating for another 10 to 15 years, is being questioned.

Latest developments suggest that the European Commission is applying pressure on Greece for the addition of the Agios Dimitrios power station, a 1,450 MW facility, to the PPC sale list. Officials at PPC and Greece’s energy ministry have both denied the existence of such a demand.

Many pundits believe that hydropower units will need to be added to the PPC sale package in order to attract investors. At this stage, Greek officials are refusing to consider such an option, meaning that major changes will most likely need to be made to the current lignite-only sale plan.