The privatization of Greek natural gas grid operator DESFA is and will remain a key element of the country’s privatization program, said the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici.
Discussions on the next steps and timing are underway within the Greek stability support program for the immediate resumption of the process for completion of privatization of DESFA’s 66 percent and ensuring ownership unbundling with the least possible delay, Greek media quoted Moscovici as saying.
Earlier, Dutch Gasunie gas company expressed interest in obtaining a 32-percent stake in DESFA. Meanwhile, Gasunie seeks to acquire the management of the natural gas grid operator. Belgian Fluxys and Romanian Transgas also remain interested in acquiring a share in DESFA, while the participation of Italian Snam company in the new tender is not excluded either. Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR won a tender in 2013 on the purchase of a 66-percent stake in DESFA for 400 million euros.
The Azerbaijani company intended to obtain a 31-percent stake from the Greek government and to buy a 35-percent stake in Hellenic Petroleum.
It was expected that the deal will be closed only after the purchase of at least a 17-percent stake out of SOCAR’s 66-percent by Italy’s Snam.
SOCAR, Snam and Greek government have been holding intensive talks against the background of changes in legislation that affected DESFA’s financial position and market value. However, the parties were unable to reach an understanding and consequently, the deal was terminated Nov. 30.