Is Terna get­ting ready to seek a stake in grid oper­a­tor ADMIE?

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY CHRYSSA LIAGGOU

Ital­ian grid oper­a­tor Terna is ex­pected to be present at the ten­der for the sale of a 24 percent stake in the In­de­pen­dent Power Trans­mis­sion Oper­a­tor (ADMIE), af­ter be­ing the fa­vorite to win the orig­i­nal ten­der for the sale of a 66 percent stake of the Pub­lic Power Cor­po­ra­tion sub­sidiary, which was halted by the gov­ern­ment in De­cem­ber 2015.

A siz­able rep­re­sen­ta­tion from the Ital­ian group ar­rived in Athens on Tues­day and ac­cord­ing to sources vis­ited both ADMIE and the of­fice of En­vi­ron­ment and En­ergy Min­is­ter Panos Sk­ourletis.

The ar­rival of the Terna of­fi­cials co­in­cided with PPC’s pub­li­ca­tion of the in­vi­ta­tion for ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est in the 24 percent stake in ADMIE, just a day af­ter the util­ity’s gen­eral meet­ing ap­proved the grid oper­a­tor’s sep­a­ra­tion from PPC.

PPC ap­pears to be seek­ing the fastest pos­si­ble com­ple­tion of the process for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the cur­rent plan that en­sures the state re­mains in con­trol of ADMIE. If the timetable agreed with the coun­try’s cred­i­tors is not ad­hered to, the law dic­tates a 100 percent sale of the grid oper­a­tor.

As a re­sult, the dead­line for the stake sale is par­tic­u­larly tight and the pre­ferred bidder will have to be se­lected by Oc­to­ber.

Meet­ing the tar­get will also de­pend on whether there will be ad­e­quate in­vestor in­ter­est, as, be­sides the com­plex process and tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties, in­vestors will have to fac­tor in the fact that they will only con­trol a re­duced stake, of 24 percent, and will have the Greek state as a part­ner.

The Ital­ians how­ever ap­pear un­fazed and are eye­ing a strate­gic po­si­tion in the do­mes­tic mar­ket.

Bel­gian grid oper­a­tor Elia is wait­ing in the wings af­ter also mak­ing an ap­pear­ance in the first ten­der. Since then, though, its in­ter­est ap­pears to have sub­sided. Cana­dian fund PSP In­vest­ments had also ex­pressed an in- ter­est in the first ten­der.

At this stage, pro­vi­sional ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est will be con­firmed on July 20, when, ac­cord­ing to the in­vi­ta­tion by PPC, the can­di­date buy­ers will have to sub­mit their en­try in the first phase of the two-stage ten­der. In or­der to qual­ify to take part in the ten­der, the com­pa­nies must be na­tional elec­tric­ity net­work op­er­a­tors par­tic­i­pat­ing in a grid that is a mem­ber of the Euro­pean Net­work of Trans­mis­sion Sys­tem Op­er­a­tors for Elec­tric­ity (ENTSO-E), or con­sor­tiums with at least one mem­ber from the afore­men­tioned. Bid­ders must also have had an av­er­age cap­i­tal avail­abil­ity of at least 350 mil­lion euros in the last three fi­nan­cial years.

PPC is seek­ing to com­plete the sale process ac­cord­ing to the cur­rent plan quickly, as that will en­sure the state re­mains in con­trol of ADMIE and avert the pos­si­bil­ity of a 100 percent sale of the grid oper­a­tor.

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