Socar to go on investing in Greece, despite no deal on DESFA (UPDATE)

(Details added, first version posted at 18:51)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 1

By Azad Hasanli – Trend:

Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR’s termination of the deal with Greece’s government on acquiring a 66-percent stake in the Greek national gas transmission system operator DESFA will not affect SOCAR's further investments in this country and region, SOCAR said in a message Dec. 1.

SOCAR, Snam [Italian natural gas infrastructure company] and Greece’s government have been holding intensive talks for the last few months against the background of changes in legislation that affected DESFA’s financial position and market value.

The talks were held in a friendly atmosphere and the Greek government has always favored the agreement, said the message.

However, the parties were unable to reach an understanding and consequently, the deal was terminated Nov. 30, according to the SOCAR message.

SOCAR won a tender in 2013 on the purchase of a 66-percent stake in DESFA for 400 million euros.

The Azerbaijani company intended to obtain a 31-percent stake from the Greek government and to buy a 35-percent stake in the Hellenic Petroleum.

It was expected that the deal will be closed only after the purchase of at least a 17-percent stake out of SOCAR’s 66-percent by Italy’s Snam.

SOCAR extended the term of a letter of guarantee on the tender to buy DESFA’s stake for another month in September and October. A letter of guarantee expired on November 30.

In late November, Greece’s Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) again requested from Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR to extend the term of a letter of guarantee on a tender on SOCAR’s acquiring a 66-percent stake in the Greek national gas transmission system operator DESFA until Dec. 23

The HRADF appealed to SOCAR with the aim of proper execution of the DESFA privatization contract.

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