(Adds energy ministry official)
ATHENS Jan 11 Greece wants to keep a majority
stake in its gas grid operator DESFA and sell only a small
holding to investors after a previous plan to sell a 66 percent
stake collapsed, a Greek newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Under its privatisation programme, a key part of its
international bailout, Greece and its biggest oil refiner
Hellenic Petroleum had agreed to sell the DESFA stake
to Azerbaijan's SOCAR for 400 million euros ($422 million).
The energy ministry was not immediately available for
comment, but when asked about the Kathimerini report, a senior
ministry official said "everything is being examined."
The deal collapsed last year after Athens passed legislation
raising DESFA's gas tariffs by a lower amount than SOCAR had
expected and SOCAR asked for a lower price.
Asked if there would be a new tender, the official, who
spoke on condition of anonymity, said: "De facto."
Greece's energy ministry has proposed to its lenders a new
plan under which the country would maintain a 51 percent stake
in DESFA and divest just 14 percent to investors, Kathimerini
reported. But the official said the precise model would be
decided with its lenders as part of ongoing negotiations under
its bailout review.
Greece's privatisation agency currently holds 65 percent in
DESFA and Hellenic Petroleum owns the rest.
Greece is expected to have missed its 2.5 billion euros
bailout target for privatisation proceeds last year and to have
raised only 500 million euros, according to its 2017 budget.
It expected revenues of 2.6 billion euros from the scheme
this year, including 180 million euros from the DESFA sale.
($1 = 0.9472 euros)
(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; editing by Susan Thomas)