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ATHENS, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Greece has received two binding bids for a 66 percent stake in its gas grid operator DESFA, the Greek privatisation agency (HRADF) said on Friday, a sale that is a key condition of the country’s international bailout.
The agency said bids were submitted by a consortium of Italy’s Snam, Spain’s Enagas Internacional and Belgium’s Fluxys, and a consortium of Spain’s Regasificadora del Noroeste (Reganosa), Romania’s Transgaz and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Friday’s deadline for binding bids comes ahead of a euro zone finance ministers’ meeting in Brussels on Monday which will assess Greece’s bailout progress and decide on disbursing more bailout loans.
A share purchase agreement and a shareholders’ agreement for DESFA are due to be signed by April for the sale to conclude by June, before Greece exits its third bailout in August.
HRADF said it would begin evaluating the bids immediately together with its advisers.
DESFA, which owns and operates Greece’s natural gas network and a liquefied natural gas terminal on an islet off Athens, is considered a valuable asset as gas consumption in Greece rises and the country seeks to boost its presence in the regional energy market.
DESFA transports gas from the Greek-Bulgarian and Greek-Turkish borders to Greek consumers via a 1,459-km (907-mile) pipeline.
Greece relaunched the sale last year after a previous 400 million euro ($448 million) deal with Azerbaijan’s SOCAR fell through in 2016.
Under the deal, Hellenic Petroleum is selling its 35 percent stake in DESFA and Greece is divesting another 31 percent from its holding. (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Additional reporting by Stephen Jewkes in Milan; Editing by Karolina Tagaris and Jane Merriman)