The Dutch company Nederlandse Gasunie in a surprise, last-minute move on the eve of the deadline for submitting binding offers for a 66 percent stake in the Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator S.A. (DESFA), decided to pull out of the tender, government sources said.
Gasunie, The Netherlands’ national gas distribution operator, was one of the first companies that registered an interest in the DESFA privatisation after the abortive buyout by the Azeri company Socar in the first tender, and before the second tender was proclaimed by the government.
Gasunie switched strategy and left the consortium comprised of the Italian company Snam, the Spanish company Enagás Internacional, and the Belgian company Fluxys, which is considered the strongest investment scheme, as the three companies are shareholders in the TAP gas pipeline, which after 2020 will transport natural gas to Europe, via Greece, Albania, and Italy.
Aside from the above consortium, the other two bidders in the tender are the Spanish company Reganosa and Romania’s Transgaz, with the participation of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The Reganoza and Transgaz cooperation, which was finalised recently, was supported by the government, in order to bolster completion and raise the price.
Top officials at Hellenic Petroleum, and Environment Minister Yorgos Stathakis, have said that they will not accept an offer lower than 400 million euros, which was Socar’s offer in the previous tender.