ATHENS, June 18 (Reuters) - Azeri state energy company SOCAR has improved its offer to buy Greece's natural gas grid operator, DESFA, the semi-official Athens News Agency (ANA) said on Tuesday, citing sources.
SOCAR, the sole bidder for DESFA after Russian energy company Sintez and Greek-Czech group PPF-Terna dropped out of the bidding earlier this month, has offered 400 million euros ($536 million), ANA said.
The offer exceeds the 330 million euros that Greek authorities set as a floor based on an independent valuation of the grid operator, ANA said.
SOCAR wants to increase its gas distribution in Greece from the current 17 percent and to deliver gas to the country from the major Shah Deniz field off Azerbijan.
The Greek privatisations agency is selling a 66 percent of DESFA of which 35 percent is owned by refiner Hellenic Petroleum , meaning the debt-laden country would get about half of the proceeds.
DESFA is a wholly owned subsidiary of state-run natural gas company DEPA. Greece failed to find a buyer for DEPA earlier this month in a setback to its privatisation programme. (Reporting by Harry Papachristou and George Georgiopoulos. Editing by Andre Grenon)