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ATHENS, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Greece plans to sell a 49% stake in power distribution network HEDNO to help strengthen the finances of its current owner, state-controlled power utility Public Power Corp. (PPC), the country’s energy minister said on Monday.
Addressing Greek lawmakers, Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said the stake sale would include strong rights for minority shareholders as Athens wanted to attract both institutional and strategic investors.
PPC’s finances have weakened in recent years, as the utility is saddled with more than 2.7 billion euros ($772 million) of unpaid bills from customers who struggled to meet payments during the country’s economic crisis.
“It will be a cash injection for PPC and a modernisation for HEDNO itself,” Hatzidakis said.
An energy official said the sale would be launched next year.
Hatzidakis said Athens would also seek to sell more of power grid operator ADMIE in 2020. Greece owns a 51% stake in ADMIE and China’s State Grid a 24% stake.
Greece will also try to find a legally solid solution for Europe’s biggest nickel producer Larco, Hatzidakis said.
The European Commission said last month it was taking Greece to the European Court of Justice over its failure to recover 135.8 million euros of illegal state aid to Larco.
Larco owes about 350 million euros in unpaid bills to PPC.
$1 = 0.9073 euros Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Mark Potter
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