Three of six DESFA tender bidders facing disqualification

Qatar’s Powerglobe LLC and American entry Integrated Utility Services (INTUS), two of six investment teams that submitted first-round bids to a renewed international tender offering a 66 percent stake of DESFA, Greece’s natural gas grid operator, will be eliminated from the sale procedure, while a third participant, either Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, an Australian contestant, or French-Romanian team GRTgaz-Transgas, also faces disqualification for not meeting certain  criteria, sources have informed.

TAIPED, the state privatization fund, is expected to announce a shortlist of three second-round qualifiers and as many unsuccessful bidders within the next few days.

Though reports have differed as to whether Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets or GRTgaz-Transgas is the third bidding team facing disqualification, latest developments strongly suggest it will be the French-Romanian team, previously viewed as the main challenger to a team comprised of Italy’s Snam, Spain’s Enagas, Belgium’s Fluxys and Dutch operator Gasunie.

GRTgaz possesses ITO certification but does not fulfil ownership unbundling (OU) certification requirements, legal sources have informed.

The Greek government would like to see as many qualifiers as possible advance to the tender’s second and final round, including the GRTgaz-Transgas consortium, as a broader field of contestants would generate stronger bidding and drive up the sale’s price.

At this stage, the Snam-Enagas-Fluxys-Gasunie team and Spain’s Regasificadora del Noroeste are seen as the only certainties for second-round qualification.

Investors have demanded greater clarity over DEFSA’s long-term revenue capacity.