Voluntary exit offer a final pitch in PPC lignite units sale effort

The main power utilty PPC has included a voluntary exit plan for 1,248 employees stationed at the loss-incurring Megalopoli and Meliti power stations into the sales and purchase agreement (SPA) terms of its bailout-required sale of lignite units in what appears to be a final pitch to convince hesitant investors.

The labor flexibility term is one of four key incentives included in the SPA by the power utility, appearing eager for a successful sale procedure, representing 40 percent of its overall lignite capacity, to avoid repercussions, notably the addition of hydropower units to its bailout-required sale list.

In comments yesterday, PPC’s chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis argued the losses being incurred at the utility’s Megalopoli and Meliti power stations are less than figures being reported. He contended quarterly losses are 4.5 million euros at the Meliti unit and 3 million euros at Megalopoli.

Employees accepting the voluntary exit plan stand to receive severance pay of 15,000 euros and a bonus amount worth 5,000 euros.

A total of 1,017 staff members are employed at the Megalopoli facilities and 231 at Meliti. In the case of Megalopoli, employing a far greater number of persons, the voluntary exit plan will also be available to workers who have yet to accumulate retirement rights.

Investors have called for a reduction of workers at both units to 600 employees in total, which could be difficult to reach as 648 employees would need to accept the voluntary exit offer.

Other key incentives offered to investors in the SPA include Brussels-endorsed CAT remuneration of between 35,000 and 40,000 euros per MW for lignite-fired power production over a six-year period; a steady lignite supply price by PPC for the Meliti power station until a dispute concerning the nearby lignite mines in Florina is resolved; and the eradication of a lignite surcharge, already ratified in parliament and factored into investor equations.

Binding bids by potential buyers are due on January 7.