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Greece seeks final bids for gas grid sale before year-end

ATHENS (Reuters) — Greece aims to get binding offers from investors shortlisted for a 66% stake in state-controlled natural gas grid DESFA by the end of the year, two sources close to the process said on Wednesday.

Under its latest international bailout with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, Greece is selling a 31% stake in DESFA and Hellenic Petroleum is selling its 35% stake in the grid. The country needs to conclude the sale by the end of the year.

Spain's Regasificadora Del Noroeste (Reganosa) and a consortium of Italy's Snam, Spain's Enagas, Belgium's Fluxys and Dutch Gasunie got the green light last month to carry out a due diligence process before they submit binding bids.

"They (bidders) are in the process of getting access to DESFA's virtual data room," an official with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. "The aim is to have binding bids before the end of the year."

Another source said the offers were expected in December.

Greece's privatization agency (HRADF) which is handling the sale declined to comment.

A previous deal to sell the stake to Azerbaijan's SOCAR for $472.28 MM collapsed last year after Athens passed legislation raising DESFA's gas tariffs by a lower amount than SOCAR had expected, and SOCAR subsequently sought to lower the acquisition price.

Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou. Editing by Jane Merriman

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