Privatisation tender for 66% of Greek gas TSO relaunched

Privatisation tender for 66% of Greek gas TSO relaunched

(Article by Stefania Chatzichristofi, published in the Energy & Natural Resources Newsletter of the ILO on July 31, 2017)

Previous privatisation
DESFA, the national natural gas transmission system operator (Greek gas TSO), is a 100% subsidiary of the
public gas corporation DEPA and was unbundled by the latter in 2007, in compliance with
Presidential Decree 33/2007(1) and Law 3428/2005.(2) The Hellenic Republic Asset Development
Fund (HRADF) currently holds a 65% share in DESFA, while Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE) holds a 35% share.

Following the first memorandum of understanding concluded between the Hellenic Republic and its
international lenders in May 2010, the Greek government decided to privatise its remaining shares
in the stateowned enterprises to the extent needed in order to collect 50 billion in the medium
term, which was necessary to repay its international debts. Three years later, the privatisation of
DESFA was initiated through the sale of 66% of DEPA’s shares to a strategic investor via a public
tender procedure. The share purchase agreement was concluded with the State Oil Company of the
Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR). Nevertheless, following the extended procedure to acquire the
respective merger control, the agreement was not concluded, as SOCAR withdrew from the
prolonged sale process in November 2016 after it failed to reach an agreement with the Greek

Further, in 2015 the third memorandum of understanding was concluded. Among others, it provides
for the reform of network undertakings and the privatisation and reform of the energy market
(especially the natural gas market), which is expected to lead to its full liberalisation by 2018. In
June 2016 Greece signed the supplementing memorandum of understanding, according to which the
government has agreed to proceed with an ambitious privatisation programme following the
establishment of a ‘hyper fund’, which was enacted by virtue of the Law 4389/2016.(3) The Asset
Development Plan approved by HRADF on April 26 2016 and by Greece’s Government Council for
Economic Policy on May 25 2016 encompasses, among others, the privatisation of DESFA.

On March 1 2017 Decision 51 of the Government Council for Economic Policy was published,
approving the process for a new international tender for the acquisition of a 66% stake in DESFA
31% owned by HRADF and 35% owned by HELPE, with the remaining 34% stake in HRADF being
transferred to the Greek state.

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