State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (Socar) has confirmed its intent to acquire 66% stake in Greek gas grid operator, National Natural Gas System Operator (DESFA), for approximately €400m ($457m).
The deal includes the sale of 35% stake held by Hellenic Petroleum and Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund’s (HRADF) 31% ownership.
In December 2013, HRADF and the Hellenic Petroleum signed a share purchase agreement and the shareholders agreement with Socar for the privatization of DESFA.However, the deal faced concerns from the European Commission and has since been under review.
A Greek privatization official was quoted by Reuters as saying that Greece is considering an option whereby SOCAR would acquire the stake and sell at least 17% of it to the Greek state or a third entity, to help address the concerns of the European Union (EU).
The Greek Government launched privatization program with an aim to upgrade and liberalize the energy markets.
DESFA owns and operates the only high-pressure gas transmission and the only liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and mainly transports gas through its network, in the country.
Subject to approvals by the relevant EU and national authorities, the transaction is expected to be completed by 21 December of this year.