Greece looks to sell share in transmission operator

The latest tender, part of the country’s privatisation programme, comes more than six months after a €400m deal with Azerbaijan’s Socar fell apart.

Continuing its infrastructure privatisation programme, the Greek government is once again seeking bidders for a 66 percent share of its Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator.

On Monday, the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, Greece’s privatisation agency, released an invitation for expressions of interest in the grid operator, known as DESFA after its Greek acronym.

The announcement marks Greece’s second attempt to sell off the operator, a subsidiary of the country’s national gas supply corporation. In 2013, the agency reached a deal with Socar, Azerbaijan’s state gas operator, to sell a 66 percent share of DESFA for €400 million. But that deal fell apart last year, as Socar reportedly asked for the price to be dropped when the Greek government raised DESFA’s tariffs by a lower amount than expected.

The current tender envisions a two-part process. First, potential bidders will submit a letter of interest, with HRADF choosing which groups qualify for the second phase. These groups would then have the chance to submit a binding offer.

Greece created HRADF in 2011, as it was looking to sell off infrastructure assets to meet the terms of bailout deals with the EU and the IMF. Already this year, the agency has reached deals on concessions for the Athens airport and the Thessaloniki Port Authority.