TAIPED blurs pic­ture over So­car of­fer for gas net­work op­er­a­tor

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY CHRYSSA LIAGGOU

The fu­ture of DESFA re­mained un­clear yes­ter­day as state pri­va­ti­za­tion fund TAIPED an­nounced that the sole of­fer for a 66 per­cent stake in the gas trans­mis­sion net­work op­er­a­tor by Az­eri com­pany So­car is “be­ing ex­am­ined in its de­tails and con­ces­sions.”

TAIPED opened the bind­ing of­fer yes­ter­day and stated that in a fu­ture board meet­ing of share­hold­ers, i.e. TAIPED and Hel­lenic Pe­tro­leum, a de­ci­sion will be made on the bid, though it did not spec­ify when the meet­ing may take place.

Sources ex­plained that the “con­ces­sions” re­ferred to by TAIPED link the price that So­car is of­fer­ing with the fi­nan­cial state of the com­pany (eq­ui­ties and debts). TAIPED ad­vis­ers ap­pear to be­lieve that a dif­fer­ent read­ing of those con­ces­sions could per­suade the Az­eri state firm to im­prove its of­fer con­sid­er­ably.

Kathimerini has been told that the of­fer ranges be­tween 390430 mil­lion eu­ros for the stake at DESFA. The lower end of that is very close to the value of the 66 per­cent stake should the val­u­a­tion of the whole of the com­pany at 600 mil­lion eu­ros be con­firmed.

So­car’s of­fer for gas trans­mis­sion net­work op­er­a­tor DESFA is set to range be­tween 390 and 430 mil­lion eu­ros, within the es­ti­mated value of the firm’s 66 per­cent stake.

The sale of DESFA will also de­ter­mine whether the pri­va­ti­za­tion process for Hel­lenic Pe­tro­leum will be un­blocked, with the govern­ment ea­ger to speed it up af­ter the fail­ure of the first ten­der for Pub­lic Gas Cor­po­ra­tion (DEPA).

En­ergy mar­ket pro­fes­sion­als con­sider it likely that the out­come of the ten­der for DESFA will only be pub­lished af­ter an an­nounce­ment by Azer­bai­jan on its de­ci­sion about the pipe­line to carry nat­u­ral gas to Western Europe. The fi­nal de­ci­sion on whether Baku will choose Nabucco or the Trans-Adri­atic Pipe­line (TAP), which Greece is back­ing, will be made on June 28.

There should be a good in­di­ca­tion of the Az­eris’ in­ten­tions by June 23, when the govern­ment is ex­pected to pro­ceed to ei­ther award­ing the ten­der to So­car or to pro­nounce it a fail­ure. Such es­ti­mates are based on the fact that Athens would like to re­verse the neg­a­tive cli­mate from the un­for­tu­nate con­clu­sion of the DEPA ten­der and has con­nected the sub­mis­sion of So­car’s bind­ing of­fer for DESFA with TAP and the boost to the coun­try’s geopo­lit­i­cal role it is ex­pected to give.

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