Gazprom drives hard bargain as sole major bidder for Greek DEPA
Gazprom is squeezing Athens for better terms to buy DEPA, Greece’s sole retail gas distributor, a Greek official said, as the Russian gas export monopoly leverages its strength position as the only major player in the running, Reuters wrote. Binding bids are due to be submitted on May 29 for DEPA, which posted a net profit of €106 million last year. Gazprom, which is already DEPA’s main supplier, last year made a non-binding bid of €900 million ($1.2 billion). Greece has already agreed to reduce the required guarantee and is striving to resolve DEPA’s liquidity problem, said Stelios Stavridis, chairman of Greek privatization agency HRADF in an interview with state radio NET. “The big problem in Greece’s energy market is that everybody owes to everybody else”, Stavridis said. According to Greek sources close to the sale, Gazprom is concerned that the European Union might block the DEPA acquisition. Gazprom’s only rival for DEPA is M&M Gas, a joint venture by Greek energy firms Motor Oil and Mytilineos. But M&M’s initial bid of about €550 million was far below Gazprom’s, and its parent firms own money to DEPA.
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