LUKoil and Latsis Group make joint bid for stake in Ellinika Petrelaia
LUKoil announced that it was working with the Latsis Group of Greece to acquire a strategic minority stake in the
Greek state oil company Ellinika Petrelaia (Hellenic Petroleum, formerly known as DEPA but now called ELPE).
LUKoil has submitted a joint bid for a 30 % stake in ELPE with the Latsis Group. The Russian company will have a one-third share in the venture while the Latsis Group will have a two-thirds share.
The Russian oil company said that it hoped to work with its Greek partner to boost ELPE's profile in neighbouring Balkan markets and elsewhere in Europe.
ELPE already controls more than 50 % of the domestic market for refined petroleum products and supplies nearly 100 %
of the motor oil used in Macedonia. LUKoil, meanwhile, has significant leverage over the Bulgarian fuel market
through its majority stake in the Neftokhim oil refinery in the Black Sea port of Burgas.
In late 1999, LUKoil and ELPE struck a deal on cooperation. The wide-ranging agreement, signed in Moscow, called for the two companies to work together on exploration and production, refining of crude oil and marketing of petroleum products in Greece and other countries.
LUKoil's President Vagit Alekperov said at the time that his company and ELPE planned to extract oil together in the former Soviet Union and later move on to other major development projects in North Africa, Iran and Iraq. He also said LUKoil hoped to work with ELPE to gain a share of petroleum product markets in South-eastern Europe and the Black Sea basin. However, the two companies have so far cooperated on a modest scale, partly due to the fact that ELPE's business is more focused on refining and distribution than exploration and production.