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Greece gets two binding bids in gas grid sale

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LNG Industry,

Reuters are reporting that Greece has received two binding bids for a 66% stake in its gas grid operator DESFA, the Greek privatisation agency (HRADF) announced, a sale that is a key condition of the country’s international bailout.

The agency said bids were submitted by a consortium of Italy’s Snam, Spain’s Enagas Internacional and Belgium’s Fluxys, and a consortium of Spain’s Regasificadora del Noroeste (Reganosa), Romania’s Transgaz and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The 16 February deadline for binding bids came ahead of a euro zone finance ministers’ meeting in Brussels on 19 February which will assess Greece’s bailout progress and decide on disbursing more bailout loans.

A share purchase agreement and a shareholders’ agreement for DESFA are due to be signed by April for the sale to conclude by June, before Greece exits its third bailout in August.

HRADF said it would begin evaluating the bids immediately together with its advisers.

DESFA, which owns and operates Greece’s natural gas network and a LNG terminal on an islet off Athens, is considered a valuable asset as gas consumption in Greece rises and the country seeks to boost its presence in the regional energy market.

DESFA transports gas from the Greek-Bulgarian and Greek-Turkish borders to Greek consumers via a 1459 km (907-mile) pipeline.

Greece relaunched the sale last year after a previous €400 million (US$448 million) deal with Azerbaijan’s SOCAR fell through in 2016.

Under the deal, Hellenic Petroleum is selling its 35% stake in DESFA and Greece is divesting another 31% from its holding.

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