Various PPC 17% sale options to be examined by TAIPED

TAIPED, the state privatization fund, is expected to examine a variety of approaches, both conventional and unconventional, when the time comes to offer investors 17 percent of the main power utility PPC later this year, a bailout requirement.

At this point in time, offering a 17 percent stake of the power utility through the stock exchange would not be prudent as the corporation’s bourse value is currently low.

Subsequently, the privatization fund may decide to go for a convertible bond issue. Other approaches will surely also be examined, including an accelerated book building process involving a swift sale of shares through the bourse. This procedure entails the setting of a minimum share price, while the offer’s book remains open for just one to two days.

The sale of PPC 17 percent will not begin until the bailout-required sell-off of PPC lignite units has cleared up. This sell-off is expected to take place in June. A market test staged by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition has just been completed. Its results, measuring the level of investor interest, are expected any day now. PPC needs to disinvest lignite units representing 40 percent of its overall lignite capacity.

The Greek State currently owns 51 percent of PPC, including the 17 percent transferred to TAIPED. It will be left with 34 percent of the power utility following the sale. This remaining stake will be transferred to a new super-privatization fund to be comprised of various subsidiaries, including a holding company.

As was recently pointed out by Greek finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos, PPC urgently needs to improve its profit margin, reduce operating costs, provide new, modern services, utilize modern technologies and improve policies.