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Greece ready to privatize national petrol and gas producers

02 August 2009 / 18:08:57  GRReporter
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Kostis Hatzidakis, Greece's Minister of Development, has recently revealed the government's plan to privatize the country's petrol and natural gas producers. He further explains that the two companies will be merged initially, and a strategic investor will be found at a later stage to buy 49 per cent of the new company's interest, while the remaining 51 per cent of the shares will still be owned by the Greek government. According to Mr Hatzidakis, the merger will be completed by the end of this year, and its execution will be enabled by a new law, currently drafted by the Ministry of Development. The Minister ensured interested parties that the government will execute the merger of DEPA and DEFTA without damaging the country's interests, or the interests of any of the two companies for that matter.

            The Development Minister seemed rather optimistic about finding a potential strategic investor for the new company. One of the reasons is the guaranteed privilege for petrol research in the Aegean that will be granted to the company following the implementation of the new law. However, Mr Hatzidakis clarified that all the future research and extraction in the Aegean will follow strict regulations for protecting the marine ecology, and will adhere to all scientific norms, aiming to protect Greece's international relations. A new national commission will be established in order to regulate the process, and will involve Greece's Minister of Foreign Affairs - Dora Bakoyianni.

            Mr Hatzidakis, Greece's Development Minister, is rather experienced in privatization efforts as he was one of the leading negotiators for the successful deal, transferring the controlling interest of Olympic Airways from the government to Marfin Investment Group. His achievement is highly valued, as a number of preceding governments had tried and failed to close the deal. According to economic analysts, Hatzidakis' next privatization deal, involving the Greek petrol and natural gas producers, should be just as successful.

Tags: Greece privatization natural gas petrol
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