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Under heavy guard, Greece's Public Power board gives nod for power units sale

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ATHENS (Reuters) – The board of Public Power Corp. (PPC), Greece’s dominant power utility, approved the sale of its coal-fired units on Wednesday, fulfilling a condition of the country’s latest international bailout which has drawn fierce protest from unions.

Wednesday’s meeting was held at a building accommodating the energy ministry and guarded by riot police after workers occupied PPC headquarters earlier this month, forcing the board to postpone another meeting on the sale.

Athens and its lenders have agreed that PPC will divest about 40 percent of its coal-fired capacity to help open up the sector after an EU court ruled the utility abused its dominance in the coal market.

PPC’s trade union, one of the most powerful in the country, says the government is fire selling the “family silver”.

The board gave PPC the go ahead for an international tender to divest a coal fired unit and a licence for a second in Florina, northern Greece, along with two units in southern Greece.

PPC has hired HSBC as financial adviser for the sale and Pricewaterhouse to help with the spin off of the units.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou)

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