Romania’s natural gas transport grid operator Transgaz, in partnership with Regasificadora Del Noroeste (Reganosa) and the European Bank for Reconstruyction and Develkopment (EBRD), submitted one of the two bids received before the February 16 deadline for the majority (66%) stake in Greece’s DESFA, the Romanian company said in a statement.
The EBRD’s support is a last-minute addition to the consortium and is likely to significantly strengthen the position of the Romanian company in its race to take over the Greek gas transport operator. As opposed to other investors, Transgaz clearly evaluates DESFA not only in terms of the cash flow it generates but also for its strategic position: negotiations on the Greece-Bulgaria-Romania vertical gas corridor were resumed last year.
The other bid for DESFA was submitted by Snam (Italy), Enagas (Spain) and Fluxys (Belgium).
Should it be successful, the takeover would allow Transgaz to better manage the transport of natural gas from the Caspian region to Central Europe. DESFA operates the Revythousa LNG terminal and is involved in the Trans Adriatic Pipeline project (TAP) that will bring Caspian gas from the Turkish-Greek border to Italy, as well as in the BRUA project that is aimed at connecting the TAP route in Greece to Austria, through Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.
Transgaz is understood to be ready to pay the same price as that negotiated by Azerbaijan’s Socar for the 66% stake in DESFA, namely €400mn, Agerpres reported in December 2016, quoting Greek daily Kathimerini.
Socar, which abandoned negotiations with Greece on the 66% stake in DESFA in 2016, is notably not among the bidders now. The Azeri buyer was reportedly estimating the 66% stake at €260mn, compared to the €400mn asked by Greece. Socar revised its bid downward after it accepted the €400mn price tag in December 2013, when Greek officials passed a law hiking the transport fees by a lower amount than expected.
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