Greece's Public Power agrees grid operator stake sale to Macquarie

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The logo of Australia's biggest investment bank Macquarie Group Ltd adorns a desk in the reception area of its Sydney office headquarters in Australia, Oct. 28, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray

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ATHENS, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Public Power Corp. (PPC) (DEHr.AT), Greece's biggest power utility, has agreed to sell a minority stake in the country's sole power grid operator HEDNO to Macquarie Asset Management (MQG.AX), PPC and Macquarie said on Wednesday.

The announcement comes a day after PPC got shareholders approval for the sale.

PPC last month named Macquarie as the preferred bidder for a 49% stake in HEDNO. Macquarie's offer valued the stake at 2.1 billion euros ($2.44 billion), including debt of 804 million euros.

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Macquarie Asset Management will invest in PPC on behalf of institutional investors, including pension funds and insurance companies, PPC and Macquarie said in a joint statement.

"The transition to net zero emissions is reshaping how electricity is produced, transported, and used across the Greek economy," said Martin Bradley, senior managing director at Macquarie.

"Significant investment in electricity distribution infrastructure is needed to facilitate this rapid change."

PPC will retain a 51% stake in HEDNO, which operates a 242,000 km long grid, bringing electricity to about 7 million households and businesses.

PPC is leading Greece's decarbonisation efforts as it plans to shut down all but one of its coal-fired plants by 2025.

($1 = 0.8608 euros)

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Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; editing by Jason Neely

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