PPC VP denies utility teetering; new minister meets with union reps, points to share's collapse since 2015

Wednesday, 17 July 2019 21:48

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The vice-president of debt-laden Public Power Corp. (PPC) on Wednesday allayed widespread speculation in the country over the ATHEX-listed electricity utility’s future, saying it is “not on the verge of collapse”.

PPC executive Giorgos Andriotis spoke at the 23rd Economist roundtable with the Greek government, where he downplayed particularly negative 2019 results to far and instead pointed to a reduction in PPC debt by 212 million euros over the past year and by a billion euros since 2015 – when a SYRIZA government took over.

He put investments by Greece’s dominant power utility at 750 million in 2018, and 790 million euros in 2019, while referring to a Standard & Poors positive forecast for the utility. 

“These figures dispute the claims of an imminent PPC collapse, they do not reflect reality,” Andriotis, who was appointed by the previous leftist government, said.

Andriotis blamed the massive H2 2018 losses on factors such as skyrocketing emission trading rates – due to PPC’s reliance on lignite – as well as increased burdens from NOME electricity auctions.

In a later development, relevant Environment and Energy Minister Costis Hatzidakis met with the leadership of PPC’s biggest trade union, GENOP-PPC, on Wednesday afternoon.

In a later statement, union president Giorgos Adamidis said the minister pledged that now “surprises” are forthcoming.

On his part, Hatzidakis charged that the previous SYRIZA government brought the utility, which has a dominant position in Greece’s energy market, on the verge of bankruptcy and flattened its share, which he said lost 90 percent of its value since 2015.

“They accuse me of undermining PPC, while after the (May 2019) European Parliament elections and afterwards it’s share has increased by 60 percent,” he said.

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