Besides PPC, hiring, pay limits to also be eased at subsidiaries

Besides the power utility PPC, rigid recruitment regulations set by ASEP, the Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection, will also be eased for subsidiaries DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator, and PPC Renewables.

The new terms, to also include a relaxation of remuneration and procurement restrictions, are part of a wide-reaching draft bill to be presented by the energy ministry’s leadership at a Ministerial Council meeting today.

The energy ministry is determined to distance both PPC and its subsidiaries from bailout-related restrictions imposed on public-sector enterprises.

However, the draft bill will not include privatization-plan details for DEDDIE, whose model and procedures will be shaped within the framework of a new PPC business plan being prepared and expected to be completed within December, sources informed.

A finalized decision has been reached on gas utility DEPA’s privatization plan. The corporation will be split into two new entities, DEPA Trade and DEPA Infrastructure, and the Greek State’s entire 65 percent stake will be privatized. Hellenic Petroleum ELPE controls DEPA’s remaining 35 percent.

Also, DEPA’s international projects will be removed from the utility and incorporated into a new autonomous state-controlled company. The gas utility’s international projects include its stakes in the IGB and Poseidon pipelines, plus Memorandums of Cooperation and agreements, such as the Alexandroupoli FSRU plan.

The draft bill does not appear to include any terms on the futures of DEPA employees and sub-contracted staff members.

Strategic partner, privatization the PPC solution, chief tells

The arrival of a strategic partner and privatization is the only realistic option available for struggling power utility PPC, as this would lessen the Greek State’s tight grip on the utility and enable decisions needed for the corporation’s restructuring and sustainability, chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis has suggested in a detailed rundown of company matters, regarded by some pundits as an overview of his tenure ahead of the upcoming snap elections.

PPC requires capital support worth 2.2 billion euros to reshape and achieve long-term sustainability, financial services company Standard & Poor’s has determined in an outlook backed by Panagiotakis.

During his overview, presented to company shareholders yesterday, the chief executive offered no hints as to who could provide this capital amount and under what conditions, but did specify that PPC’s hydropower units should not be sold.

Panagiotakis is well aware of the fact that ASEP (Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection) restrictions on state-run enterprises cannot be avoided at PPC as long as the Greek State holds a 51 percent stake, which is why a strategic partner for the power utility is seen as the only viable solution.

PPC’s first-quarter results, disappointing, were leaked recently and are expected to be officially announced today.

Ministry preparing 200 hirings at privatization-bound DEPA

The energy ministry is maneuvering to clear bailout-related employment restrictions imposed on public sector enterprises and facilitate the recruitment at privatization-destined gas utility DEPA of the majority of 200 workers currently subcontracted as external associates.

The ministry’s leadership appears to have bowed to worker union pressure, ensuring the hirings will go ahead, sources informed. If so, they would bypass ASEP (Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection) restrictions.

As a result, 150 workers subcontracted by DEPA would be distributed to three gas utility subsidiaries: the wider Athens area gas supplier EPA Attiki; distributor EDA Attiki, also covering the wider Athens area; and DEDA, responsible for gas network development in regions not covered by the parent company. All three can hire personnel without conforming to ASEP restrictions. A further 23 workers are currently subcontracted with DEDA and between 30 and 35 with CNG refueling stations.

New employees are expected to be offered individual work agreements. The duration of these agreements remains unclear.

An energy ministry DEPA draft bill scheduled to be submitted to parliament on February 28 and designed to split the gas utility into two entities, DEPA Trade and DEPA Infrastructure, ahead of its privatization, is not expected to include extensive details on personnel matters, including the ministry’s recruitment plan.

In addition, pay cuts are also planned for DEPA’s current staff on the payroll.



State energy firm hirings freed from civil staff council limits

A legislative revision submitted to parliament yesterday by a governing Syriza party MP will enable state-run energy enterprises joined by strategic investors as minority partners to appoint managerial staff directly through the labor market, free of any  constraints related to hirings carried out via ASEP, the Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection.

The revision is necessary as the country’s energy sector is being reshaped by privatizations and the arrival of new strategic partners demanding managerial representation.

IPTO, the power grid operator, which was recently joined by State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) as a strategic partner, now holding a 24 percent stake, has agreed to offer key managerial posts to SGCC officials.

This managerial arrangement, agreed to between the Greek State and SGCC, a minority partner, would not have been possible without the legislative revision.

Strategic investors aiming to acquire minority stakes in other prospective Greek energy sector privatizations will also benefit from the legislative revision as they will be permitted to seek qualified managerial staff of their choice in the wider labor market.

Strategic investors who stand to acquire majority stakes in state-run energy firms have the right to appoint managerial staff of their liking, regardless of the legislative revision.

Snam, Enagas and Fluxys have been declared the preferred bidding team in an international tender offering a 66 percent stake of DESFA, Greece’s natural gas grid operator. An ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) privatization, still at an early stage, is offering investors a 50.5 percent stake. The prospective majority shareholders at DESFA and ELPE will be free to decide on managerial appointments regardless of the legislative revision.

However, management-level recruits at the main power utility PPC, still controlled by the Greek State with a 51 percent stake, continue to be made through ASEP, the civil personnel selection body. The revision will enable PPC management posts to be filled free of any ASEP intervention when a stake of the power utility is eventually privatized.

Also, strategic investors to acquire stakes in two forthcoming DEPA (gas utility) subsidiaries controlling the enterprise’s distribution networks and commercial matters, will be able to pick personnel from the wider market.