Chinese officials to table widespread energy investment interest

Chinese investors are looking to, more or less, cover the Greek energy sector’s entire gamut.

Talks during a two-day visit, today and tomorrow, by a Chinese delegation headed by China’s President President Xi Jinping, are expected to cover energy cooperation in the installation of smart power meters and fiber optics to networks, investments in natural gas-fueled power stations, energy storage, as well as joint ventures for solar, wind and biomass energy projects.

This widespread Chinese investment interest, more or less covering the sector’s entire gamut, also includes financial support as well as the sale of all types of technology needed.

The interest of Chinese investors was made clear to power utility PPC chief executive Giorgos Stassis on a trip to China a week ago.

Talks between officials will include interest by State Grid Corp of China (SGCC) to build on its 24 percent stake of Greek power grid operator IPTO and enter the equity make-up of the operator’s subsidiary Ariadne, project promoter of the Crete-Athens electricity grid link.

Joint investments with PPC and other players in the renewable energy domain will also be explored.

HEDNO/DEDDIE’s plan for the installation of smart power meters is another topic of interest for the visiting Chinese investors.

The next chapter of preceding talks with PPC officials for the development of gas-fired power stations is also expected.

Fuel shift alternatives of the power utility PPC’s prospective Ptolemaida V power station, originally planned as a coal generator, will also be tabled.

Just days ago, PPC officials, led by Stassis, the CEO, held a range of meetings at the Shanghai International Import Expo 2019 with China Development Bank, Shanghai Electric and China Three Gorges, holding a stake in Portugal’s EDP Renovaveis.

China Intellectual Electric Power (solar), ZTE (telecommunications) and CHINT (smart power meters) are among other companies also believed to be seeking to secure investments in the Greek market, sources informed.

IPTO head expresses interest for more Chinese partnerships

The strategic partnership recently established between IPTO, Greece’s power grid operator, and SGCC (State Grid Corporation of China), which acquired a 24 percent stake in the operator, has so far proved exceptional, IPTO chief executive Manos Manousakis told Chinese news agency Xinhua.

The results of this partnership are already apparent in IPTO’s improved performance, which is why the operator plans to seek further collaborations with Chinese partners, Manousakis noted.

IPTO recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with CDB, the China Development Bank, one of the world’s biggest banking institutions. CDB has expressed an interest to finance companies and projects in Greece. IPTO hopes that CDB financing will provide impetus to the operator’s ambitious growth plan.

“We signed a very important memorandum of understanding with China Development Bank to explore the possibilities of financing our new projects and for the company’s capital,” Manousakis told the Xinhua agency. “Major interconnection projects on the Greek mainland and islands, as well as international interconnection projects in the Mediterranean all lie ahead,” he added.

EBRD: China capitalizing on Greek energy market openings

A European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) report monitoring China’s investments in Europe, whose findings on Greece were presented in Athens yesterday, notes that China, sensing market opportunities, has been able to enter the Greek market after being permitted to do so by European authorities, However, the country is now facing tightening conditions being engineered by the EU, the report mildly suggests.

The EBRD report, authored by Dr. Jens Bastian and funded by the Central European Initiative, an intergovernmental forum committed to supporting European intergration through cooperation among member states, details China’s aggressive investment approach in Greece and places particular emphasis on the local energy sector.

Attention is paid to Greece’s role in China’s wider plans. The report describes Greece as a gateway for Chinese investments in the wider Balkan region. China’s strategy, continuously bolstering the country’s standing abroad, has cultivated aspirations for the Balkan and central European markets, the EBRD report notes.

It also notes that Chinese investors, contrary to other interested parties, have made the most of the subdued investment activity in Greece and shown a willingness to take risks and pursue long-term business strategies.

The EBRD report also points out that reliable ties have been established between Chinese investors and Greece’s political and business communities. As a result, Chinese investors are now placed in the pole position for Greek projects, it notes.

Reference is made to two major Chinese energy-related moves in Greece. One concerns the interest of the China Development Bank (CDB) to reinforce its presence in Greece, primarily through financing energy sector projects, as has been pointed out by the bank’s chief, Hu Huaibang. CDB and the Bank of Greece recently signed a memorandum of cooperation.

The recent entry of SGCC (State Grid Corporation of China) into IPTO, Greece’s power grid operator, as a strategic partner with a 24 percent, is also presented in the report. This agreement ranked as the second largest investment to be made in Greece in 2016. Another Chinese investment, Cosco’s takeover of the Piraues Port Authority (OLP), topped the list.



China Development Bank and PPC set to sign MoU in Thessaloniki

China Development Bank (CDB) and the main power utility PPC are scheduled to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on September 9 in Thessaloniki, during a conference organized within the framework of the 82nd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).

The conference, titled “Investment opportunities in Southeastern Europe – Trends and challenges in the energy sector”, is being organized by PPC at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art.

Energy mnister Giorgos Stathakis, China Ambassador Zou Xiaoli, the Head of European Commission Representation in Greece Panos Karvounis as well as representatives of companies and banks from China and southeast Europe will speak at the conference.

PPC aspires to have a leading role not only in the reconstruction of the energy environment, but also in its development and modernization prospects. Through its leading role in enhancing the competitiveness of the Greek economy, it also aspires to mark the expansion framework for investments, aiming at maximizing synergies and upgrading energy networks, the company stressed.

The conference will also focus on the promotion of Greece’s geographic position as an energy hub for the Balkans and Europe.