Greece gives investors another week for coal plant bids

Smoke from a power plant rises at the lignite center of Western Macedonia, near the city of Ptolemaida, northern Greece, 7 October 2014. [Yannis Kolesidis/EPA/EFE]

Greece has given investors another week to 15 January to submit binding bids for three coal-fired power plants and a licence to build another one, a senior energy ministry official told Reuters on Monday (7 January).

Public Power Corp. (PPC) is selling the plants in northern Greece and on the southern Peloponnese under the terms of Athens’ latest international bailout after an EU court ruled that PPC had abused its dominant position in the coal market.

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The bid deadline has been repeatedly pushed back since the tender was launched last year for different reasons.

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PPC has shortlisted six investors but a source familiar with the matter, who declined to be named, said only three may submit binding bids.

PPC, which is 51% state-owned, and the energy ministry are handling the divestment and the EU Commission is overseeing the process.

The 7 January deadline was pushed back because PPC wants to first conclude a voluntary redundancy scheme it has offered to its workers, the official said, declining to be named.

Investors will then have a clearer picture of the plants’ workforce, the official added.

PPC employs about 1,400 people at the plants and aims for about two-thirds to sign up to the voluntary redundancy scheme or opt to move to other subsidiaries within the group by later this week, according to another source close to the process.

PPC declined to comment on the issue.

PPC’s chairman has called for the bid deadline to be extended to February, saying this was needed to ensure bidders had all the necessary information to make their offers, including a European Commission decision on whether the plants would be financially rewarded for making capacity available. However, the energy ministry has pushed for the process to be wrapped up earlier.

The six investors shortlisted are: A consortium of Beijing Guohua Power Company and Damco Energy; Gek Terna; ElvalHalcor; Energeticky a Prumyslovy Holding; Indoverse Coal Investments; Mytilineos.

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