Greece says 15 investors interested in sale of coal-fired power plants

FIFTEEN investors have expressed interest in acquiring coal-fired plants the country will divest to comply with an EU court ruling, Greece’s energy ministry said yesterday. Athens has agreed with its foreign creditors that power utility Public Power Corp (PPC), which is 51 per cent state-owned, will sell plants equal to about 40 per cent of its capacity after a European court ruled that the utility had abused its dominant position in the coal market. Greek and international energy producers and local industries participated in a market test conducted by the European Commission’s directorate general for competition, the ministry said in a statement. “There was strong interest from investors,” energy minister George Stathakis said, without providing further details.

Greece has reached an agreement with the Commission on the issue, which has been at the top of the agenda of talks with its creditors, and will prepare a draft law, he said. The units that will be sold are Meliti I and the yet-to-be-built Meliti II in northern Greece along with another two units in the southern Greek town of Megalopolis. Athens is expected to pass any relevant law by April in order for PPC to launch a tender by June. Under its latest bailout, Greece also needs to cut PPC’s share of the retail market to below 50 per cent from 88 per cent by the end of 2019. The southern European country is keen to divest plants that will not significantly reduce PPC’s generation capacity. The EU wants to ensure that the plants will attract investors’ interest.