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EBRD provides EUR 160 million loan to Public Power Corporation of Greece

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has announced that it is providing a senior unsecured loan of up to EUR 160 million to Public Power Corporation S.A. (PPC), the largest power producer and electricity supplier in Greece, to address the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Founded in 1950, Public Power Corporation S.A. (PPC) It is the largest power generator and distributor in Greece with a total installed capacity of 12.2 GW primarily fossil-fuelled thermal power but also hydro, wind, and other renewable sources. PPC’s strategic priority is the decarbonization of its business through accelerated lignite decommissioning and boosting renewables investments (photo courtesy PPC).

According to a statement, the facility will support PPC’s working capital needs at a time of customer payment volatility following the outbreak of the crisis. It will also strengthen the resilience of the electricity sector as a whole by ensuring the stability of essential utility supplies and maintaining the momentum towards decarbonisation.

The loan comes under the EBRD’s Vital Infrastructure Support Programme to ensure the provision of vital services in its countries of operations confronted with acute pressure from the coronavirus pandemic.

The initiative is part of EBRD’s overall response to COVID-19. In the period 2020-2021, the EBRD expects to dedicate the entirety of its business investment of up to EUR 21 billion to tackle the challenges posed by the crisis.

Largest power generator and supplier

PPC is the largest electricity generator and supplier in Greece. It is also the owner of the country’s electricity distribution network and the sole provider of electricity to those Greek islands that are not connected to the national network.

The company has been listed on the Athens Stock Exchange since 2001 and its main shareholder is the Greek State (51.1 percent), through the participation of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund and the Hellenic Corporation of Assets and Participations.

PPC is central to Greece’s efforts to implement an ambitious decarbonisation strategy, aiming to close all of its existing coal-fired power plants by the end of 2023.

The extraordinary conditions that we faced due to COVID-19 pushed us to change our business operation in order to adapt to the new environment and to redefine the relationship with our customers, a process which we had already initiated in previous months. Despite initial disruptions to our liquidity at the outset of the pandemic in March, we have succeeded in regaining pre-COVID levels since May, thanks to introducing new ways of communicating to and serving our customers. In any case, there is no room for complacency. We are closely monitoring the situation and we aim to shield the company against the possibility of a new pandemic wave. The EBRD has supported us in this effort from the beginning, said George Stassis, Chairman and CEO of PPC.

The EBRD is helping PPC to establish an action plan to implement recommendations from the Task Force for Climate-related Disclosure (TCFD), by identifying key climate risks and opportunities and developing an associated plan to mitigate and adapt to these risks.

The TCFD is an initiative that was set up by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) to develop recommendations for more effective climate-related disclosures.

We are very proud to be supporting PPC during these uncertain times. PPC, and the Greek energy sector more generally, have embarked on a remarkable strategic reorientation away from coal and towards a green and sustainable model. This is one of the most ambitious energy transitions of any European country and PPC is central to those efforts. This loan is part of EBRD’s commitment to supporting vital infrastructure providers in weathering the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 crisis while sustaining, and accelerating, their long-term efforts to address the climate change crisis, said Andreea Moraru, EBRD’s Regional Head of Greece and Cyprus.

The EBRD started investing in Greece on a temporary basis in 2015 to support the country’s economic recovery. To date, it has invested over EUR 3.5 billion in more than 60 projects in the corporate, financial, energy, and infrastructure sectors of the Greek economy.

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