Greece's gas firm, DEPA, draws interest from 17 buyers

Seventeen firms expressed initial interest in the privatisation of Greek natural gas company DEPA, one of the country's major assets to go on the block to help pay down public debt, its privatisations agency said on Friday.

The agency did not name the interested parties but said the potential buyers came from 12 different countries, seven of which were outside the euro zone.

Greece is considering either a «bundled» sale of DEPA - combining its wholesale, trading and gas supply business with its DESFA networks and liquefied natural gas arm - or an «unbundled» deal in which DESFA would be sold separately.

"The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund will evaluate the fulfillment of legal and financial conditions of each candidate and announce which qualified parties will be invited to submit indicative offers,» the agency said.

DEPA owns 51 percent of local supply companies which have a monopoly until 2036 to sell natural gas to small industrial, commercial and residential customers. In 2010, the DEPA group reported sales of 1.22 billion euros and net profit of 90.8 million. It has not yet published its 2011 results.


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