December 18, 2017 / 11:44 AM / a year ago

Greece to push back DESFA gas grid privatization deadline: source

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s privatization agency (HRADF) will push back to February the deadline for the submission of binding offers for a 66 percent stake in natural gas grid operator DESFA, a source close to the process said on Monday.

“The interested parties have sought an extension. It will be granted with the deadline sometime in February. That date has not yet been set,” the source said, requesting anonymity.

The current deadline is Dec. 22.

HRADF had earlier identified the two investor groups qualified to proceed to the next phase of the tender - and the submission of binding bids - as Spain’s Regasificadora del Noroeste (Reganosa) and a consortium of Italy’s Snam (SRG.MI), Spain’s Enagas Internacional, Belgium’s Fluxys (FLUX.BR) and Dutch Gasunie.

The asset sale is part of a privatization program undertaken by Greece under the terms of its multi-billion euro bailout.

Based on an updated draft of key targets of the bailout programme, the nomination of the preferred bidder is to be completed by Feb. 2018. A share purchase agreement and shareholders’ agreement is to be signed by April, and a conclusion by June 2018.

DESFA owns and operates Greece’s natural gas network and a liquefied natural gas terminal offshore, west of the Greek capital Athens.

Greece’s privatization agency holds 65 percent in DESFA and Hellenic Petroleum owns the rest. Under the deal, Hellenic Petroleum is selling its 35 percent stake in DESFA and Greece is divesting the rest.

It transports gas from the Greek-Bulgarian and Greek-Turkish borders to Greek consumers via a 1,459-km (907-mile) pipeline.

Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; writing by Michele Kambas; editing by Mark Heinrich; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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