PPC, to post solid 1Q results, recruiting after years of exits

Power utility PPC is set to recruit new technical staff after a number of years of personnel issues dominated by exits prompted by voluntary exit offers, early retirement packages and departures.

A total of 200 new recruits will be brought in for the utility’s technical departments, now understaffed, based on more flexible employment terms implemented in 2019, which do not guarantee new staff members permanent job status.

PPC subsidiary DEDDIE/HEDNO is severely understaffed, as was highlighted during an emergency situation last February, when a heavy snowstorm damaged power supply lines around the country and caused outages, some of these lasting a number of days.

At the end of 2020, DEDDIE/HEDNO’s workforce had shrunk to 5,700, from 6,000 at the end of 2019. Also, earlier this year, in February, the operator launched a new voluntary exit program for employees eligible for full pension rights.

PPC, the parent company, had 13,832 employees on its payroll at the end of 2020, down from 15,109 a year earlier, 7,113 of these employed at PPC, approximately 5,700 at DEDDIE/HEDNO, and 1,000 at other group subsidiaries.

PPC is aiming for a payroll of 11,500 employees by 2024, according to company announcements.

Besides the company’s retirement and voluntary exit programs, a portion of personnel, such as workers at the lignite-based units being withdrawn, is being transferred to other departments, a procedure requiring vocational retraining.

Meanwhile, PPC is today expected to announce satisfactory 1Q results. Analysts have forecast an operating profit figure of 211 million euros, up 16 percent compared to the equivalent period a year earlier.

PPC’s second voluntary exit plan this year achieves 85% success rate

Power utility PPC’s second voluntary exit program offered to employees this year has achieved a success rate of 85 percent, convincing 465 staff members to sign up, from a target group of 550.

Applicants needed to meet two prerequisites for this latest PPC exit program. Firstly, applicants must be on the way to turning at least 55 years of age by December 31, 2020. Secondly, they needed to have already qualified for pension rights before applying for the exit plan.

Without the pension right criterion, the program would have applied to a far broader group of as many as 1,700 employees at PPC units around the country.

PPC is believed to be satisfied with the course of its voluntary exit plan this year. The tally of voluntary exits this year is seen reaching 1,200, over an initial estimate of 1,000.

Employees who sign up for the program each receive compensation packages totaling 35,000 euros.

The power utility is expected to keep downsizing. According to last year’s business plan, PPC is aiming for a workforce reduction of 4,500 employees by 2023.

PPC, turning to green energy, has scheduled to shut down its Kardia III and IV and Megalopoli III lignite-fired power stations in 2021, followed by Agios Dimitrios I and II in 2022. Megalopoli III could be withdrawn sooner than planned, the company recently announced.

PPC’s latest voluntary exit plan reaches success rate of over 80%

A total of 437 power utility PPC employees have registered for the corporation’s latest voluntary exit plan, limited to staff members over the age of 55, which makes the offer, expiring today, available to approximately 500 persons.

Based on these figures, the success rate of PPC’s latest exit plan, until yesterday, was well over 80 percent.

The total number of voluntary employee exits could reach 450 by the time the offer’s deadline expires later today.

Besides a compensation amount of 15,000 euros for each exiting employee, the program also includes 20,000-euro bonus payments, taking the total package to 35,000 euros for departing staff members.

Approximately 1,300 employees left PPC in 2019 through the voluntary exit plan. The total figure for 2020 is expected just as high, if not higher.

If so, this would take PPC over the half-way mark in its overall voluntary exit strategy. The company has set an overall target of 4,500 departures, according to the latest PPC business plan. PPC also intends to refresh by recruiting 800 new employees.

PPC’s payroll cost has fallen by 45.1 million euros, from 419.3 million to 374.2 million euros, the company announced in its first-half results.


PPC voluntary exit offer taken up by 1,000 workers this year

Close to 300 power utility PPC employees have taken up the corporation’s latest voluntary exit offer and are set to depart by the end of this month, taking the tally of staff leaving the company this year through exit plans to approximately 1,000.

The latest offer was targeted at 1,700 workers turning 55 years of age by December 31 and employed at all PPC facilities around the country, not just lignite units.

Some 700 PPC employees had accepted a preceding voluntary exit plan that expired at the end of June.

Departing workers will each receive 35,000-euro packages comprising compensation of 15,000 euros plus 20,000 euros in bonus payments.

PPC plans to stage more voluntary exit rounds. A company business plan announced last December set an objective of approximately 4,500 employee departures by 2023.

This essentially means PPC’s administration will be looking to reduce its payroll by a further 2,500 employees. Besides the 1,000 voluntary exit package applicants accumulated this year, a further 1,000 employees have qualified for pension rights.

PPC’s finances are already showing signs of improvement as a result of the corporation’s lighter payroll. Payroll costs dropped to 374.2 million euros in the first half of 2020 compared 419.3 million euros in the equivalent period last year.

PPC’s workforce numbered 14,678 on June 30, down from 15,907 a year earlier.


PPC staff left idle by lignite unit closures to be transferred

Power utility PPC employees left idle as a result of the corporation’s planned phaseout of lignite-fired power stations until 2023 will be transferred to other company units and posts, the PPC board has decided.

The company’s leadership anticipates PPC’s two voluntary exit programs this year will end up attracting some 1,200 participants, a figure deemed satisfactory considering the company’s financial figures.

PPC is preparing to launch a second voluntary exit program on September 1. It will concern some 1,700 company employees, of which 500 have already qualified for full pension rights.

The full details of the upcoming voluntary exit offer have not yet been announced but are expected within the next few weeks.

It is known that interested parties will face a September 31 deadline to lodge their applications. Also, the follow-up voluntary exit plan will offer outgoing employees bonus payments of 20,000 euros on top of severance pay worth 15,000 euros.

An initial voluntary exit program offered by PPC earlier in the year drew 702 employees from PPC’s lignite-fired units, slightly below the target figure, prompting company savings estimated at 48 million euros.

PPC broadens next voluntary exit plan, set for September

The board at power utility PPC has decided to broaden its voluntary exit program to include eligible staff from all divisions, currently estimated at between 1,700 and 1,800 employees aged over 55.

However, less than a third of these employees, some 500 in total, are believed to have accumulated pension rights, sources said.

Though this shortfall is likely to discourage employees from taking up the voluntary exit offer, PPC’s chief executive Giorgos Stassis is determined to push ahead with the plan and invite interested parties to lodge their applications between September 1 and 30.

The PPC voluntary exit package offers employees a 20,000-euro bonus payment as an addition to severance pay worth 15,000 euros.

An initial voluntary exit effort already staged by PPC attracted 602 employees from the utility’s Meliti and Megalopoli lignite-fired power stations and a further 123 employees from related subsidiaries, producing annual savings of 48 million euro for the company.

PPC had set an objective to attract some 900 employees from the lignite-fired power stations to its initial voluntary exit plan.

Stassis, PPC’s boss, has promised to soon carry out a targeted recruitment plan for staff with specialized skills, according to Pantelis Karaleftheris, the workers’ representative on the PPC board.


PPC chief delivers favorable news on a number of fronts

Power utility PPC, undergoing gradual transformation, expects to have amortized the cost of an initial voluntary exit plan for lignite-unit workers within six months, while amounts owed by the corporation to a series of third parties are being reduced, chief executive Giorgos Stassis informed analysts during a conference call yesterday, following a presentation of first-quarter results.

The cost of an initial voluntary exit package concerning approximately 1,000 PPC employees working at lignite units in northern Greece, is estimated between 30 and 35 million euros.

Stassis offered positive news on a number of fronts, including electricity-bill payments and cash flow, service digitization, securitization of unpaid receivables, and the ongoing implementation of a five-year business plan.

Online payments by customers now represent 30 percent of transactions, an 80 percent increase since the beginning of the lockdown measures, while 18,000 customers per day turn to the corporation’s call center for information, up from 5,000, maximum, prior to the lockdown, the company boss informed.

PPC has chosen the current period to launch its initial voluntary exit plan in order to determine, within the next two-and-a-half months, how many of its 4,000 or so employees working at lignite-fired power stations and mines will take up the offer, offering severance pay totaling 35,000 euros.

State-controlled PPC wants to organize personnel transfers as part of the country’s decabonization process.  Vacant positions will be filled by workers to be transferred from PPC’s Amynteo facilities, planned to shut down in September, and Kardia, whose withdrawal is expected in 2021.

Electricity-bill payments by customers, down 18 percent in March and 14 percent in April, have rebounded to pre-lockdown levels since May, the chief executive informed.

Amounts owed to contractors, suppliers, operators and other third parties have fallen to 650 million euros from 900 million euros, Stassis said.

A small-scale securitization package for unpaid receivables up to 60 days will be offered in June or July, he added.



PPC endorses exit plan for 890 workers in west Macedonia

Power utility PPC’s board has approved an initial voluntary exit plan for 890 employees at lignite-fired power stations and mines operated by the corporation in the west Macedonia region, northern Greece.

The overwhelming majority of these workers, or 80 percent, are aged over 55, performing jobs  classified as labor-intensive and health-hazardous, and eligible for full pensions, energypress sources informed.

Company employees eligible for the voluntary exit plan must lodge applications by June 30.

The exit plan is being offered as a result of PPC’s phasing out of lignite units by 2023, beginning with a unit at Amynteo this year.

Just under 3,000 jobs will be lost following gradual closures of state-controlled PPC’s power stations and mines in the west Macedonia region, part of the government’s decarbonization policy.

Outgoing employees will each receive bonus severance pay of 20,000 euros, to cost the company 18 million euros, plus compensation of 15,000 euros, by law, for a further total cost of 13.5 million euros.

Salaries for the initial exit plan’s 890 workers are estimated to cost PPC an annual amount of 56 million euros.

Specific dates for the voluntary exit plan have yet to be announced by PPC officials. Workers are expected to gradually depart from July to December this year.

The PPC board will soon also reach decisions on equivalent voluntary exit plans for workers at Meliti, in northern Greece’s Florina area, and Megalopoli, in the Peloponnese.



PPC to report better 1Q results, approve voluntary exit plan

Power utility PPC will, later today, report significantly improved financial results for the first quarter, compared to the equivalent period a year earlier, sources have informed.

The results, to show higher operating profit and a sustained rebound following a downward trajectory experienced in the final quarter of 2019, according to the sources, will be officially announced once the day’s trading session at the Athens stock exchange has ended.

PPC’s improved results will reflect the positive impact of a series of changes made by the power utility’s new administration last August, especially a decision to increase tariffs, the sources noted.

Interestingly, the financial effects of the pandemic have been subdued as a reduction in electricity-bill collections was far lower than feared, the sources said.

State-controlled PPC may also announce a 160 million-euro financing plan stemming from a European financial institution as a measure to boost the corporation’s cash flow.

The first-quarter results will be accompanied by a PPC announcement on the corporation’s ongoing implementation of initiatives for restructuring and adjustment to modern energy-transition demands, the sourced informed.

Also today, the PPC board is expected to approve a voluntary exit plan for between 700 and 1,000 of approximately 4,500 employees working at the corporation’s lignite-fired power stations units, all headed for closure by 2023. Ptolemaida V, now under construction, will keep operating until 2028, according to the government’s decarbonization plan.


PPC, decarbonizing, to hire consultant for worker exits

Power utility PPC has decided to soon hire a consultant to help shape a voluntary exit plan for employees working in the corporation’s lignite sector, set to gradually wind down as a result of the country’s decarbonization policy.

The consultant’s efforts will focus on the structure of the voluntary exit plan, its incentives, timing and extent within PPC’s workforce, not including employees eligible for retirement and workers to be transferred to other company units.

PPC plans to appoint a consultant in the immediate future with the objective of announcing the full details of its voluntary exit plan towards the end of this year.

PPC’s voluntary exit plan is intended to stretch over a number of years as a gradual process aligned with the decarbonization effort.

Severance payments, according to a company announcement made several months ago, currently total 22,000 euros per employee.

PPC’s objective is to reduce its workforce to 11,500 by 2024 from 15,300 at the end of 2019, according the company’s new business plan.

The Amynteo lignite-fired power station in Greece’s north is at the top of PPC’s withdrawal list, but it now remains unclear when this exit can take place.

Amynteo was originally scheduled to be withdrawn by April 30, tomorrow, but this exit may be postponed until next year. The completion, by local authorities, of regional projects securing telethermal services is a key factor. PPC is currently awaiting an update on these projects.



PPC, reducing workforce, boosts voluntary exit plan bonus by €2,000

Power utility PPC, looking to decrease its workforce by some 3,800 persons, from 15,300 to 11,500 employees until 2024, has increased the bonus payment offered through its voluntary exit plan by 2,000 euros to 7,000 euros.

No employees will be dismissed nor will salaries be cut, the power utility’s chief executive Giorgos Stassis promised during a weekend visit to Ptolemaida, west Macedonia, in the heart of northern Greece’s lignite-dependent area.

PPC is planning to withdraw all existing lignite-fired power stations over the next three years as part of the government’s decarbonization plan for the country.

Under the current PPC retirement plan, departing staff members receive a 15,000-euro payment, not including the bonus amount.

The PPC boss, speaking at an event staged by local authorities in the west Macedonia region, stressed company employees will be provided alternatives. Options will include transfers to other company divisions, retraining as well as voluntary exits for staff eligible for retirement, Stassis explained.

PPC is awaiting a finalized business plan from McKinsey to decide on the exact number of its staff exodus.

PPC’s annual savings from staff cut plan worth at least €200m

The total annual savings to result for power utility PPC from the departure of approximately 4,000 employees, expected to have gone by 2024, according to the utility’s new business plan, just announced, is estimated at more than 200 million euros, roughly 25 to 30 percent of the company’s entire payroll cost.

The overwhelming majority of this staff will no longer be required as a result of PPC’s plan to withdraw all its existing lignite-fired power stations by 2023.

The prospective job cuts primarily concern staff on remuneration packages worth over 55,000 euros per annum. Bailout-related payment limits have been imposed on most of these employees, both managerial and technical staff.

PPC’s payroll currently totals 15,350 employees but is expected to be reduced to approximately 11,500 by 2024.

A series of voluntary exit programs will be offered to significantly reduce PPC’s payroll expenses, according to the business plan. Severance pay offers are seen exceeding 20,000 euros.

Approximately 60 percent of the 4,000 or so staff members to be will have reached retirement age while the other 40 percent, roughly 1,800 persons, will be offered voluntary exit programs.


PPC presenting its new business plan today, market awaiting details

Power utility PPC’s new business plan, to be announced today, has attracted the attention of market officials, eagerly awaiting details on the utility’s transformation, objectives and how these can be achieved.

PPC is expected to make official a swifter withdrawal plan for all its existing lignite-fired power stations by 2023, a staff reduction plan numbering approximately 5,000 employees, as well as a renewable energy capacity boost of 1 GW by 2024.

Ptolemaida V, a 660-MW facility currently under construction, is expected to operate until 2028, Greece’s decarbonization deadline, according to the government, before it is converted into a  lignite-free unit. Details on this conversion plan remain unknown.

A recent study conducted by power grid operator IPTO determined that gas-fueled power stations offering a total capacity of between 2,400 and 2,800 MW can cover the gap to be created by the withdrawal of PPC’s lignite-fired units.

However, the IPTO study was conducted based on the assumption that PPC’s lignite-fired power stations would be withdrawn by 2028, the previous goal, not 2023, as has emerged more recently. It remains unclear how this change of plan could affect the overall capacity coverage equation and whether an additional study will be needed.

Market officials are also awaiting further details on the cost of PPC’s staff reduction plan. The  willingness of employees to accept voluntary exit plans will be crucial.

Also, the cost of the utility’s new focus for greater renewable energy production is another key aspect of the business plan being eagerly awaited by market officials.


PPC voluntary exit plan may push for up to 5,000 retirees

Though the details of power utility PPC’s voluntary exit plan are still being worked on, the plan could push for the withdrawal of as many as 5,000 employees of various qualifications, divisions and levels, according to sources.

An exodus of such a number of employees, representing roughly 30 percent of PPC’s workforce, will obviously cost the power utility a considerable amount.

If this target figure is to succeed, the incentives for employees will need to be far more generous than those offered in an exit plan last year. Severance pay of 15,000 euros plus a 5,000-euro bonus prompted 220 voluntary exits.

A voluntary exit plan outlined last week by energy minister Costis Hatzidakis – it includes employees five years or less away from the retirement age of 60 and  covers all their social security fund commitments until pension eligibility is reached, plus severance pay – is expected to cost at least 100,000 euros per employee, according to more reserved union estimates.

Some 4,000 PPC employees are currently already eligible for pensions. A total of 16,747 employees were on the power utility’s payrolls at the end of 2018.

PPC staff exit plan categories outlined by energy minister

A voluntary exit plan for power utility PPC employees, outlined by energy minister Costis Hatzidakis yesterday, includes full coverage of social security fund commitments for staff aged 55 and over, until pension rights are acquired, at the age of 60, as well as severance pay.

The exact same model, covering all social security fund contributions until pension qualification, was successfully applied at Hellenic Telecommunications OTE, initially between 2012 and 2014, followed by a more recent period.

The cost of providing all social security fund contributions for personnel five years away from the pension age will take two years to recover, PPC has estimated in initial calculations.

The voluntary exit plan includes a category for younger personnel, aged between 50 and 55, to be made redundant by PPC’s restructuring effort. Employees belonging to this category will be transferred to subsidiaries needing staff additions or other public sector enterprises.

A third category concerns PPC employees already close to retirement age. Some 1,000 power utility staff members are expected to qualify for pension rights this year alone.

PPC planning to lure new managers, cut labor costs

Power utility PPC, preparing an entirely new remuneration policy for its workforce, intends to recruit managerial professionals from the employment market as part of its effort to modernize operations.

The corporation’s new pay policy promises to end distorted arrangements through which salaries of long-serving technical staff members and thousands of workers stationed at mines and power stations have reached or exceeded earnings of high-ranking managers.

Long-serving employees receive gross salaries of up to 4,600 euros per month, the upper-limit imposed on state-controlled PPC as part of the country’s bailout terms for public sector firms. The government plans to exempt PPC from this restriction.

Income levels of PPC managers are between 30 and 50 percent below current market rates.

For many years, successive Greek governments have not permitted administrations at PPC, seen as part of the public sector, to implement mass voluntary exit or recruitment programs.

Subsequently, the average age of the company’s employees now exceeds 50, meaning that thousands of workers have reached salary upper limits while earnings of managers have remained stagnant as a result of bailout-related restrictions.

Besides wanting to recruit professional managers, PPC is also planning voluntary exit packages for long-serving workers, to be replaced by lower-cost recruits.

All these changes, part of PPC’s restructuring plan, are being incorporated into a draft bill to be announced within October.

McKinsey’s new PPC business plan to feature major changes

Consulting firm McKinsey, set to prepare a new five-year business plan for power utility PPC, will base its proposals on three key factors: CO2 emission right costs;  lignite-fired units that should remain active or withdrawn; and the resulting impact of these decisions on the grid’s sufficiency.

The study, whose preparation will soon get underway, is expected to end up featuring major changes compared to a previous set of proposals as PPC’s current financial condition has deteriorated compared to early in 2018, when the previous business plan was delivered.

It had called for an improvement of the corporation’s operating profit by 500 million euros over a five-year period. The current demands are far more challenging.

The previous business plan, which was based on eight fronts, placed emphasis on renewable energy investments, new business activities, international expansion and overall investments totaling 3.9 billion euros, approximately half of which would have been channeled into networks and the RES sector. A 23 percent share of the investments was planned for the construction of a new lignite-fired power station, Ptolemaida V. Major changes are now expected along all these fronts.

A tougher stance on unpaid receivables; a plan entailing the partial sale of DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator; and pricing policy adjustments are expected to feature in the new plan.

McKinsey’s examination to determine which lignite-fired power stations must keep operating or be withdrawn is expected to generate a voluntary retirement list of 2,000 employees.

If so, severance pay costs for PPC will amount to 30 million euros, as employees are currently entitled to 15,000-euro payments for early retirement.



Targeted PPC staff exit plan a must to avoid functional issues

A voluntary exit plan envisioned by the new energy minister Costis Hatzidakis for power utility PPC should carefully target a pool of around 2,000 workers primarily maintained as back-up staff rather than specialized, experienced personnel working at the utility’s technical and commercial divisions, so as to avoid any operating issues, company sources have informed.

A plan prepared by consulting giant McKinsey for PPC proposes the reduction of a similar number of staff.

The voluntary exit plan, whose details will need to be honed by PPC’s next chief executive, will cost no less than 30 million euros as each outgoing employee stands to receive severance pay of 15,000 euros.

Precision will be needed when selecting staff for the voluntary exit plan to avoid any operational disruptions at the already-troubled power utility, sources highlighted.

PPC currently employs a total of 9,500 staff members, 65 to 70 percent of these, or 3,000 to 3,500, holding technical positions. A further 800 to 900 are employed in the commercial division, while the back-up staff numbers roughly 2,000 persons.

At present, many PPC units do not possess younger staff possessing sufficient technical skills to replace experienced older personnel. Bailout restrictions have prevented state-controlled PPC from hiring new personnel, which has created a shortage of younger employees ready to take on responsibilities.

“This means that if, for example, five staff members stationed at a island power unit employing ten persons were to leave after reaching retirement age, then this unit would definitely not be able to continue operating,” one highly ranked PPC official warned.

PPC’s payroll cost totaled 790 million euros last year, which works out to an average of 49,000 euros per employee, a costly figure prompted by a high average age of over 50 and correspondingly elevated pay packages.




McKinsey voluntary exit plan for PPC reentering picture

Besides cash injections and capital reinforcements envisioned through the sale of a minority stake of network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, among other moves, cost reductions are also a key part of the government’s rescue plan for the power utility PPC.

Energy minister Costis Hatzidakis, who delivered his PPC rescue plan in Parliament yesterday, included a voluntary exit plan, to be aimed at retirement-age workers, among the measures.

This proposal is not new. Various versions of differing scale were included in older business plans prepared by McKinsey on behalf of PPC.

A revised voluntary exit plan, including incentive details and schedule, will need to be shaped by PPC’s new administration, expected to be appointed within the current week, in collaboration with the energy ministry.

Of the series of older McKinsey staff-reduction proposals delivered, a milder – by comparison – plan was favored. It envisioned 2,000 job cuts by 2022 through the gradual withdrawal of retirement-age personnel.

An initial McKinsey plan was far tougher, proposing 1,300 job cuts through asset disinvestments; 500 cuts through the withdrawal of the outdated Kardia and Amynteo power stations; no further job contract extensions for 1,000 persons; 900 job cuts through retirement; as well as a voluntary exit plan for 3,000 workers.

PPC widens voluntary exit plan eligibility, limits food allowance

The main power utility PPC’s severance pay of 15,000 euros offered to employees agreeing to depart through the corporation’s voluntary exit plan will now also be made available to staff members who have been employed at the company for at least 25 years, not just older personnel eligible aged at least 62 and eligible for retirement, PPC’s administration has decided at a board meeting.

The measure, part of a PPC personnel restructuring plan prepared by the consulting firm McKinsey that includes more flexible labor terms for new and outgoing employees, incentives and staff redistribution, aims to lower the average age of the power utility’s workforce, currently numbering approximately 10,000, to less than 50, the current average age.

So far, the voluntary exit plan has been accepted by 273 employees at two lignite-fired power stations, Megalopoli and Melit, included in PPC’s bailout-required disinvestment of lignite units, as well as a further 220 employees at other divisions and units.

It remains to be seen if PPC will succeed in reducing its payroll by approximately 4,000 employees for cost savings of 330 million euros, as McKinsey has advised in its business plan for the Greek power utility.

As part of the corporation’s wider cost-reduction measures, the PPC board has also decided to reduce a food allowance offered to employees to 3.40 euros per day from its previous level of 6 euros per day over the next three years.

PPC lignite unit contenders up pressure, new deadline possible

Three contenders considering the main power utility PPC’s sale of its Megalopoli and Meliti lignite-fired power stations included in a bailout-required disinvestment of lignite units are intensifying their pressure on PPC for more favorable terms as the deadline for binding bids approaches.

In response, PPC has been eager to present any new favorable developments that have emerged from the implementation of incentives in an effort to support the sale’s conditions and price-tag potential.

This was demonstrated yesterday by chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis in comments to journalists.  He made reference to the results of a voluntary exit plan offered to employees at the Megalopoli and Meliti units, both loss-incurring. A total of 360 employees working at the two lignite-fired power stations have accepted the offer. Prospective buyers have indicated they want the workforce at Megalopoli and Meliti, totaling 1,248 prior to the voluntary exit plan, to be cut down to 600. PPC has just announced a voluntary transfer plan for Meliti and Megalopoli unit employees to other company posts.

Panagiotakis also noted PPC is negotiating with the owners of the Ahlada lignite mine, feeding the Meliti power station, for a lower supply price and longer supply agreement.

Reacting to the PPC chief’s comments, China’s CHN and the Copelouzos group’s Damco, one of the sale’s three potential bidding teams, described the results of the staff reduction effort at the two power stations as a good basis for cost reduction.

A consortium comprising the Czech Republic’s Seven Energy and Gek Terna has refused to comment. The Seven Energy firm has yet to present itself as a certain participant in the sale. In recent times, it has made note of narrow profit margins despite the voluntary exit plan, CAT remuneration uncertainties surrounding for the two units, and increased CO2 emission right costs.

Panagiotakis, the PPC chief, yesterday told journalists the Mytilineos group remains a contender for the Megalopoli and Meliti power stations. The Mytilineos group has not responded but, according to sources, remains troubled by what it sees as an unfavorable investment conditions surrounding the lignite sector, including the sharp rise in CO2 emission right costs.

Just days remain before the sale’s January 23 deadline for binding bids expires. An extension could be required as a result of PPC’s last-minute Ahlada mine negotiations and a Brussels delay concerning the European Commission’s position on Greece’s CAT remuneration mechanism proposal, a crucial factor for the lignite units sale.



PPC voluntary exit plan’s payroll cost savings estimated at €21.2m

The main power utility PPC’s voluntary exit plan offered to staff at the corporation’s loss-incurring Meliti and Megalopoli power stations will produce payroll savings of more than 21.2 million euros for the corporation, energypress sources closely following the power utility’s bailout-required disinvestment of lignite units, which includes the aforementioned facilities, have informed.

A total of 360 employees working at the two lignite-fired power stations have accepted PPC’s voluntary exit proposal, offering 25,000 euros in severance pay.

A total of 243 PPC employees at the Megalopoli unit have registered for the voluntary exit plan. Their total payroll cost for the corporation has been estimated at 14.5 million euros. In addition, 76 Megalopoli unit employees departed in the previous six-month period for severance pay amounts of 15,000 euros. Their payroll cost reduction is estimated at 4.5 million euros, which brings the tally of the payroll cost reduction for all 319 employees to nearly 19 million euros.

As for the Meliti unit, a total of 41 employees have agreed to leave, producing payroll savings of 2.2 million euros.

Prospective buyers have indicated they want the workforce at Megalopoli and Meliti, totaling 1,248 prior to the voluntary exit plan, to be cut down to 600.

PPC yesterday announced a voluntary transfer plan for Meliti and Megalopoli unit employees, offering jobs at other power utility posts, sources informed.

The response of employees to this transfer offer is expected to be subdued as workers will take into account the distance factor. Most available posts are believed to be situated in the Athens area, not close to the Florina and Arcadia locations of the two units.

On another front, PPC and the owners of the Ahlada lignite mine feeding the Meliti power station are engaged in talks to resolve issues concerning their supply agreement, whose  whose pricing and quantity details are vague. The supply agreement will be taken on by Meliti’s prospective new owner.