* To sell 50 pct plus one share in DEPA commercial business
* A 14 pct stake sale in distribution networks will follow
* Aims to extend Athens Airport concession for 1.1 bln euros (Adds more detail)
By Angeliki Koutantou
ATHENS, June 18 (Reuters) - Greece will launch a tender in November to sell a majority stake in gas company DEPA’s commercial operations, the country’s privatisation agency (HRADF) said on Monday.
Greece has agreed with its foreign creditors on DEPA’s privatisation plan, which involves splitting DEPA into two entities, one covering its wholesale and retail gas supply business and the other its distribution network and international activities.
Greece, which holds a 65 percent stake in DEPA, will look to sell 50 percent plus one share in DEPA’s commercial activities, according to an updated privatisation plan published on HRADF’s website.
Privatisations have been a key part of Greece’s three international bailouts since 2010 to help the country attract investment and reduct its debt, which is the highest in the euro zone.
Athens has raised about 5 billion euros ($5.8 billion) from state asset sales so far and is aiming for another 3 billion euros by 2019, more than a year after it exits its latest bailout in August.
Greece will start the sale of a 14 percent stake in DEPA’s distribution networks once it divests the company’s commercial activities, according to the revised plan.
Athens also expects to conclude a deal this year which extends a concession of Athens International Airport for 1.1 billion euros, more than double the initially agreed price, a privatisation agency official said.
This might help Greece exceed this year’s target for privatisation proceeds of 2 billion euros, the official also said.
Greece last year agreed to extend the airport concession for 20 years until 2046 for net proceeds of 480 million euros. But a lengthy approval process by the EU’s competition watchdog has delayed the agreement.
$1 = 0.8621 euros Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou, editing by Louise Heavens and Jane Merriman