Tuesday, June 20, 2017

China's State Grid seals acquisition of stake in Greek power grid - REUTERS

Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:54pm GMT
Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; editing by Susan Thomas

ATHENS, June 20 (Reuters) - China's State Grid, the world's biggest utility, concluded on Tuesday the acquisition of a minority stake in Greece's power grid operator ADMIE, Beijing's second big investment in the bailed-out country in more than a year.

Under its latest international bailout by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, Greece has agreed to spin off ADMIE from its state-controlled power utility Public Power Corp. and sell a 24 percent stake to State Grid for 320 million euros ($356 million).

China has been investing in Greece in recent years, aiming to turn the country into a transhipment hub for growing business with Europe. The two countries agreed in May to deepen cooperation in infrastructure, energy and telecommunications.

"The transfer of ADMIE is an important milestone for Greece-China cooperation in the energy sector, for deepening bilateral relations and for boosting bilateral financial and trade transactions," State Grid Corporation of China Chairman Shu Yinbiao said in Athens.

Shu said State Grid would be a long-term strategic investor in ADMIE.

The ADMIE deal comes more than a year after China's biggest shipping company COSCO Shipping bought a 51 percent stake in Greece's biggest port Piraeus for 280.5 million euros.

Greece hopes that State Grid will help ADMIE with a 2 billion euro 10-year investment plan, which includes connecting the island of Crete to mainland Greece via undersea cables.

Greece has blocked a European Union statement at the United Nations criticising China's human rights record, a decision EU diplomats said undermined efforts to confront Beijing's crackdown on activists and dissidents. ($1 = 0.8988 euros)