China State Grid nears €320m Greek entry

The Chinese utility is set to buy a chunk of the country’s power network after placing a higher bid than a consortium comprising Terna and F2i.

China State Grid is close to securing a 24 percent stake in Greek power grid operator ADMIE after trumping rivals with a bid at €320 million.

The state-owned utility was named as the highest bidder by Public Power Corporation, the Greek utility’s parent company, after beating off competition from a joint venture between Italian grid operator Terna and infrastructure fund F2i.

The partial sale comes under Greece's international bailout terms and requires PPC – 51 percent owned by the state – to sell its stake in the grid or be fully privatised by next year. Greek energy minister Panos Skourletis, who has previously stated his opposition to a full sale of PPC, described the sale process to China State Grid as “a reference point for other European countries seeking assistance in managing their networks”.

The deal will see China State Grid expand its European portfolio, which already includes stakes in the Italian and Portuguese grids. However, it recently faced more resistance in Belgium, where its bid for Eandis failed to meet necessary conditions to be ratified.

Its bid for Australia’s Ausgrid was also blocked by the country’s Treasury in August. The company was sold to a domestic consortium instead.

China State Grid’s bid is expected to be ratified by the PPC board early next week before heading to a final decision at a shareholders’ meeting on 24 November.