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Greece modifies DEPA privatization terms

Tourism

Greece agreed to change some terms in the planned privatization of natural gas distributor DEPA, opening the way for Russian giant Gazprom to bid for the firm, a senior official directly involved in the sale talk said. Privatization agency HRADF finalized the terms of the sale contract late on Friday, lowering the amount that DEPA’s buyer will have to deposit as a guarantee to before the deal gets regulatory approval. “The guarantee was halved to 10% of the purchase price,” the Greek official told Reuters on Saturday. HRADF also said it would compensate the buyer up to €180 million if DEPA fails to collect overdue bills owed by recession-struck Greek clients by December 31, 2015, according to the official. Cash-strapped Greece needs the DEPA sale to go through to hit the privatization revenue targets set in its EU/IMF bailout. Gazprom, which last year made a preliminary bid of €900 million (£793.2 million) for DEPA, has been lobbying hard to wring these concessions from Athens.

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