Snam-led consortium set to make DESFA offer close to €400m

A Snam-led consortium established for a renewed tender offering 66 percent of DESFA, Greece’s natural gas grid operator, plans to submit an offer of around 400 million euros, reliable Italian media has reported.

Snam has been joined by Spain’s Enagas, Belgium’s Fluxys and Dutch operator Gasunie, regarded, until recently, as the outright favorite for the tender, whose deadline for binding offers expires on February 16.

However, a recent decision by the sale’s other remaining contender, Spain’s Regasificadora del Noroeste, to team up with Romania’s Transgaz, has added new interest to the sale.

The Greek government hopes the run-off between two formidable contenders will generate elevated offers, a development that would validate its decision to restage the tender. Azerbaijan’s Socar was declared the winning bidder, amid feeble competition, of the previous DESFA sale effort, which eventually derailed. Socar offered 400 million euros for DESFA’s 66 percent.

Italian business publication Milano Finanza reported the Snam-led consortium will offer around 400 million euros.

The DESFA sale appears to be a leading priority for the Italian firm, which holds a 20 percent stake in the TAP consortium developing the TAP natural gas pipeline to cross northern Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea to Italy. The combination of both assets in the one portfolio is an attractive prospect.

This subject is reported to have dominated sideline talks between Snam’s CEO Marco Alvera and various officials at a recent Italian conference.

ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) has agreed to include its 35 percent stake in DESFA to the sale. However, the petroleum firm’s participation cannot be guaranteed if the price offered is deemed to be unsatisfactory.

ELPE’s 35 percent and a 31 percent stake controlled by TAIPED, the state privatization fund, make up the 66 percent share of DESFA being sold.

ELPE’s deputy chief Andreas Siamisiis, in recent comments to Reuters, noted that the petroleum firm’s participation in the sale is not a given and will depend on the price offered.