Major traders, Socar tipped to submit first-round ELPE bids

Two of the world’s biggest commodity traders, Dutch firm Vitol and Switzerland’s Glencore, will probably feature among the participants to officially express interest in ELPE’s (Hellenic Petroleum) international tender offering a 50.1 percent stake of the enterprise, according to latest information provided by sources.

The deadline for non-binding offers expires today following an extension of a previous May 18 deadline.

Besides the aforementioned commodity traders, Azerbaijan’s state-run energy firm Socar, joined by a European firm, possibly Spanish, is also tipped to declare non-binding interest in the bailout-required ELPE sale, sources have informed. This would represent a surprise development.

Socar had taken part in a previous DESFA (natural gas grid operator) sale and was declared the winning bidder before its long-running acquisition attempt was blocked by European Commission competition concerns.

News on the possible participation of major European energy players is not good. European petroleum groups such as Italy’s Eni, Hungary’s MOL, France’s Total, and, possibly, Spain’s Repsol, have reached decisions to not submit initial expressions of interest for the ELPE sale, according to energy market pundits.

A clearer picture on the sale’s preliminary turnout is expected later in the day when TAIPED, the state privatization fund, is expected to announce the list of first-round bidders.