ATHENS May 18 Greece will conclude the spin-off
of power grid operator ADMIE by mid-June, meeting a key term of
its third international bailout, ADMIE's chief executive said on
Athens and its EU/IMF lenders had agreed that 24 percent of
ADMIE, owned by state-controlled utility Public Power Corp,
would be sold this year to China's State Grid Corp and a further
25 percent to a Greek state holding company.
"Everything will be wrapped up within the first 15 days of
June," ADMIE Chief Executive Yannis Kabouris told Reuters on the
sidelines of an Athens energy conference.
The sale is part of Greece's slow-moving privatisation drive
and efforts to open up the country's energy market.
Kabouris said that State Grid's participation would also
help ADMIE to implement a 2 billion euro ($2.22 billion) 10-year
investment plan, which includes connecting the island of Crete
to mainland Greece via undersea cables by 2023.
"The strategic investor is a very big company with huge
financial calibre that will bring know-how for state-of-the-art
technology, such as cables and direct current power systems,"
Power production on Crete, the largest of the Greek islands,
is currently provided by three oil-fired plants that must be
shut down by 2025 to comply with an EU directive.
Kabouris said that ADMIE hopes to conclude the first phase
of the plan, which involves connecting Crete to the southern
Peloponnese, by 2020. The second phase, linking Crete to Athens,
is expected to be ready by 2023.
The estimated total cost of the two phases is about 1
billion euros, Kabouris said. Part of the project will be
financed by European funds and possibly the European Investment
ADMIE is also in talks with banks for further financing,
"We believe they (State Grid) will help us secure better
financing terms," he added.
($1 = 0.9001 euros)
(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Karolina Tagaris
and David Goodman)