Greece: Talks between ADMIE and potential investors for acquisition of stake in Ariadne Interconnector

, SEE Energy News

The Athens-Crete electricity interconnection is urgently needed as electricity demand on the island is increasing while high-polluting oil-fired units currently operating on Crete will soon need to be withdrawn as part of the EU’s environmental policy. ADMIE plans to complete the interconnection by the end of 2022. Greek electricity transmission system operator ADMIE has started talks with investors interested in the acquisition of a minority stake in its subsidiary Ariadne Interconnector, responsible for the project for the construction of electricity interconnection between the island of Crete and Greek mainland.

Potential investors in Ariadne have to be financially robust, well acquainted with energy sector matters and focused on long-term investments, as the operator focuses on large groups with portfolios carrying major investments, said Yiannis Margaris ADMIE’s Deputy CEO, and that ADMIE has already started talks with French RTE and Belgian Elia.

ADMIE expects to sign a bank loan agreement by the end of May for an amount of between 400 and 500 million euros to finance the Athens-Crete interconnection. The possible involvement of established investors in the project is expected to achieve better borrowing terms.

In late 2019, Greek Minister of Energy Kostis Hatzidakis said that a tender for the sale of minority stake in Ariadne Interconnector, a special purpose vehicle established by electricity transmission system operator ADMIE for the construction of an interconnection between the island of Crete and the mainland, is expected to be launched in early 2020. However, the planned tender was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. State Grid Corp of China (SGCC), a minority stakeholder in ADMIE, appears willing to participate in the tender. The Chinese company, already holding a 24 % stake of ADMIE, has expressed interest to acquire 20 % of Ariadne Interconnector.

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