Greece Gets Six Expressions Of Interest In Gas Grid DESFA


ATHENS, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Greece has received six expressions of interest in a 66 percent stake in its natural gas grid operator DESFA, the country's privatisation agency said on Monday.

Greece, in its eighth year of economic crisis, is aiming for 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) in asset sales this year and 3.5 billion in 2018. It also wants to promote itself as a transit hub for gas from Asia and the eastern Mediterranean to Europe.

The interested investors are: Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets; a consortium of Italy's Snam, Belgium's Fluxys, Dutch-based Gasunie and Spain's Enagas ; Romanian state-owned Transgaz with France's GRTgaz; Spain's Regasificadora del Noroeste; Integrated Utility Services; and Powerglobe LLC.

Shortlisted investors will be invited to submit binding offers at a later stage.

Greece must conclude the DESFA sale by the end of the year under its bailout-mandated privatisation scheme.

Under the deal, Greece's biggest oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum is selling its 35 percent stake in DESFA and Greece is divesting the rest.

A previous deal to sell DESFA to Azerbaijan's SOCAR fell through last year after Greece passed legislation raising DESFA's gas tariffs by a lower amount than SOCAR had expected.

DESFA owns and operates Greece's natural gas network and a liquified natural gas terminal offshore west of the Greek capital.

It transports gas from the Greek-Bulgarian and Greek-Turkish borders to Greek consumers via a 1,459 kilometre pipeline.

Last year, it recorded sales of 170 million euros and a net profit of 34 million euros. Its fixed assets stood at about 1.3 billion euros.

($1 = 0.8482 euros)

(Editing by David Holmes)


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