Gazprom spurns Depa over finance fears
BY JAMES MARSON
MOSCOW -- Gazprom didn't bid for Greece's natural gas company Depa for fear that its finances would deteriorate before the deal closed, a process that Gazprom said could take up to a year.
We didn't receive enough guarantees that Depa's financial situation wouldn't worsen by the closing of the deal Gazprom's spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said in an emailed statement.
Greece said it failed to attract a single bid for Depa, one of the crown jewels of its ambitious, but long delayed plan to sell state assets to help repair the country's finances.
Gazprom's Chief Executive Alexei Miller had visited Athens three times in recent weeks for talks on Depa. But Mr. Kupriyanov said the state controlled firm, which supplies the bulk of Greece's gas, hadn't made an offer because of "significant risks."
Depa "is already experiencing serious problems with non payments of consumers" he said. "It is facing a restructuring with the spinning off of Desfa (Greece's gas grid operator), and the participants in the tender received no guarantees that the state regulation of Depa wouldn't worsen."
Since its first bailout in May 2010, Greece has steadily failed to meet targets for its privatization program. Athens has repeatedly scaled back an earlier goal of raising $66.1 billion from asset sales by the end of the decade.
It now aims for $ 14.73 billion in privatization proceeds by the end of 2016, $33.18 billion by 2020 and $ 66.36 billion over an unspecified period.
Dow Jones Newswires