Strict bail-out terms threaten robust PPC Renewables

The tight institutional framework regulating public sector companies threatens to derail PPC Renewables, a Public Power Corporation subsidiary firm established in 2006, despite its robust standing that includes high profitability, sound creditworthiness, and an impressive portfolio of projects.

The stifling conditions imposed on public sector companies as part of the country’s bail-out agreement – they forbid new recruits and impose salary cuts – have understaffed PPC Renewables, affecting the company’s operational ability. A range of makeshift solutions have, until now, been conjured up to keep PPC Renewables afloat, but, based on latest developments, the company is faced by the threat of being left without personnel – both staff and administration.

Despite being backed by an ambitious business plan that includes 21 wind-energy parks and 18 hydropower stations, PPC Renewables, at present, does not have a single staff member on its payroll. Its operations are currently being manned by caretaker administrative officials stepping in from PPC as well as employees on temporary work contracts that expire at the end of this year.

Recruitment procedures for 65 staff members, organized by the Supreme Council for Personnel Selection (ASEP), were launched just days ago. However, this process can be expected to be time-consuming, meaning that, as of January 1, PPC Renewables will be left without personnel while awaiting finalization of the recruitment procedure before the company can relaunch its operations.

According to energypress sources, the Environment, Energy & Climate Change Ministry has underlined the problem to the coalition’s leadership. The ministry has requested that PPC Renewables either be exempted from the tight regulations imposed on public sector companies or that current temporary work contracts be extended until the ASEP recruitment process is finalized.

The caretaker administration at PPC Renewables has warned the Environment, Energy & Climate Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis and his deputy, Makis Papageorgiou, that, as things currently stand, the company will be forced to either stop operating or be taken over within the next month or two.

Although still unclear, it appears that PPC Renewables managing director Diamantis Vachtsiavanos has submitted his resignation to the Energy Ministry.

Ironically, these developments do not reflect the reality at PPC Renewables, on a growth path. Its financial figures for the current year’s first nine months were at par with those of the equivalent period last year, a highly profitable one for the enterprise. PPC Renewables is also in the midst of an ambitious business plan that includes investments worth 327 million euros for 2014 to 2017. The plan’s objective is to roughly triple the company’s current capacity of 148 MW to 313 MW.