Wednesday, 06 November 2019 14:00

The Government: DEPA is open for investors

The Government of Greece is preparing an unbundling draft law in order to carry out privatization of DEPA – selection of an independent operator of the gas transportation system (GTS).

The draft law which is going to split the company into an infrastructure owner and direct gas supplier (DEPA and DEPA Commercial) will be presented to the parliament by the end of January 2020, the Greek media reports it.

Early in September the Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis made a statement at the opening of the 84th International exhibition in Thessaloniki that the Government of Greece removes all obstacles for privatization of DEPA gas company, Hellenic Petroleum S.A. (HELPE) and the international Athens airport named after Eleftherios Venizelos. According to him, reforming of DEI (PPC) Electricity Company has been commenced.

“Investments, which hanged up because of bureaucracy and political indifference, will be unblocked. Privatization of DEPA, Hellenic Petroleum and the Athens airport will start right away”, he noted.

It was reported earlier that the Hellenic State Fund for Asset Sale qualified two companies (Glencore Energy UK Ltd и Vitol Holding BV) in July 2019 for participation in privatization of Hellenic Petroleum.

Apart from Hellenic Petroleum which is getting ready for sale, the privatization will touch DEPA Gas Company as well. At present, the state is controlling 65% of DEPA shares, while the rest 35% belongs to Hellenic Petroleum.

Citing the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) it was reported that SOCAR had planned to complete the deal on acquisition of a 66% stake in DEPA until December 21, 2015. However, the regulatory bodies of the EU blocked the deal.

On July 31, 2013 HRADF approved a deal on acquisition of 66% of the Greek DEPA by SOCAR for 400 million EUR. In December 2013, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan signed a shares purchase-sale agreement and a shareholder agreement with HRADF and Petroleum Company.

According to the document, SOCAR was supposed to acquire 31% of DESFA from the government of Greece and 35% from Hellenic Petroleum SA. The sold package of share of the Greek company is controlled by HRADF until the control (delivery-acceptance) over DESFA is passed to SOCAR.

According to the legislation of Greece and the EU’s third energy directive, the European Commission must take a concluding positive decision on this deal.

In November 2014 the European Commission declared that it started an in-depth investigation over conformity of the deal on acquisition of 66% of Greek DESFA by SOCAR with the EU merger regulation. The European Commission was supposed to make a final decision on this issue till the end of 2015.

At that period, the sale DEPA and DESFA (an operator of the Greek gas transportation system) was considered one of the key items of the Greek privatization program. Greece planned to get up to 1.5 billion EUR from their sale.

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