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2012-01-11 - 13:09:00 - DJ UPDATE: Greece To Start Sale Of Refiner Stake By End April

DJ UPDATE: Greece To Start Sale Of Refiner Stake By End April

(Adds government official's comment, details, background, in paragraphs four to eight.)

By Stelios Bouras

Of Dow Jones Newswires

ATHENS (Dow Jones)--Greece plans to move ahead with the sale of its stake in refiner Hellenic Petroleum SA (ELPE.AT) by the end of April and will start talks with creditors on setting this year's privatizations target.

"By the end of January we plan to start the sale procedures for [natural gas grid operator] Desfa and [gas company] Depa, at the same time," Kostas Mitropoulos, chief executive of the Hellenic Republic Assets Development Fund, said at a conference Wednesday.

"In two to three months, after this we will start the sale of the 35% stake in Hellenic Petroleum owned by Greece."

Last year, Greece raised EUR1.5 billion by selling state assets, such as a stake in Hellenic Telecommunication (OTE), but has yet to determine its privatizations target for 2012. The Greek government will determine goals for this year's sell off agenda with representatives from Greece's creditors, the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, also known as the troika.

"Discussions with troika will determine the upcoming annual target when they arrive in Athens," a senior government official said.

The troika are due in Athens mid January to continue negotiations with Greece on the country's second bailout worth EUR130 billion. Among the assets Greece has slated for sale this year is a 29% stake in betting monopoly OPAP.

"In February advisers will tell us how to move ahead with OPAP. Conditions are not good for gaming companies right now," added the official.

Greece had been targeting privatization revenues of EUR50 billion by 2015, however, the IMF said last month that uncertainties in the banking sector and difficult market conditions have resulted in the target being pushed back to 2017.

-By Stelios Bouras, Dow Jones Newswires; +30-210-3731772;

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 11, 2012 08:09 ET (13:09 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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