BAKU, June 21 (Itar-Tass) - The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) will acquire a 66 percent stake in Greece’s natural gas grid operator DESFA.
The agreement in principle was reached with Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), SOCAR said in its statement on Friday.
“At present, advisory groups of SOCAR and HRADF are finalizing technicalities,” the statement read.
SOCAR President Rovnag Abdullayev said his company’s decision to buy DESFA “proves a high level of bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Greece and their leading energy companies.”
“SOCAR that has accumulated good experience in operating gas pipelines in the Caspian Sea region is ready to start work in the first such project in the EU member-states, namely in Greece. The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic looks optimistically into future cooperation with Greece,” he said.
The deal’s sum has not been disclosed, but several sources say SOCAR offered 400 million euro for the stake.
At present, Greece’s top oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum owns a 35 percent stake in DESFA and the Greek government - a 31 percent stake. It is expected that the latter will get around 188 million euro for its stake.
On the list of contenders in the bidding contest were also Russia’s Sintez Group and Greek-Czech group PPF-Terna. However, in June 2013 both companies abandoned their plans.