Privatisation of Greek gas firm DEPA fails - sources
Greece failed to attract any binding bids for natural gascompany DEPA, two Greek officials close to the sale said on Monday, making it unlikely the country will meet privatisation targets under its international bailout, Reuters reported.
Athens, which has a binding goal to raise 1.8 billion euros ($2.38 billion) from asset sales by the end of September, got just one bid - from Azerbaijan's SOCAR - for natural gas grid operator DESFA, a DEPA unit that it wanted to sell separately.
It was unclear if a DESFA sale could proceed if DEPA remains in state hands. Failure to sell the companies would also block the planned privatisation later this year of state oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum, which owns 35 percent of DEPA.
"Greece has received no binding bids for DEPA and one bid from Azerbaijan's SOCAR for DESFA," a senior official involved in the sale told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The deadline to submit binding bids expired at 1000 GMT. Russia's Gazprom was a frontrunner to buy DEPA but withdrew at the final stage.
Sintez, a small Russian energy firm, and two other Greek contenders dropped out of the bidding for both DEPA and DESFA, sources told Reuters earlier on Monday before the deadline expired.
There was no comment from the Greek government or its privatisation agency HRADF.
Greece had tried hard to woo Gazprom to submit a bid, with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras meeting Gazprom's Chief Executive Alexej Miller last month in Athens.
A local energy industry source said the government had mishandled the sale talks. "It was handled in an amateurish way. The government made bilateral talks with Gazprom and in the end the Russians pulled out," the official said on condition of anonymity.