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