Two bidders shortlisted for Greek transmission privatisation

Six groups expressed interest in a 66% stake in the operator, as the country continues its privatisation programme.

The Greek government has shortlisted two potential buyers for its sale of a 66 percent stake in its Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator, narrowing down a list of six bidders.

Regasificadora, a Spanish firm partially owned by First State Investments, and a consortium comprising Snam, Enagás Internacional, Fluxys and Nederlandse Gasunie were picked for the next phase of the tender process. The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, Greece’s privatisation agency, said the two schemes will now submit binding offers for the grid operator, known as DESFA after its Greek acronym.

Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, Berkshire Hathaway Energy subsidiary Integrated Utility Services, Qatar-based Powerglobe and a joint venture comprising state-owned Romanian firm Transgaz and France’s GRTgaz also submitted expressions of interest for DESFA.

The tender process marks Greece’s second attempt to sell its stake in DESFA, which is owned by HRADF (31 percent) and Hellenic Petroleum (35 percent). In 2013, the agency reached a deal with Socar, Azerbaijan’s state gas operator, to sell the same share for €400 million. That deal collapsed when Socar asked Greece to drop the price after the government raised tariffs by a lower rate than expected.

The move comes as Greece continues its effort to privatise state-owned infrastructure assets as part of the terms of bail-out deals with the EU and the IMF. HRADF, created in 2011, reached deals on the Athens airport and the Thessaloniki Port Authority earlier this year.