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Greek, German power companies talk on future cooperation

Greece's Public Power Corp. SA and Germany's RWE AG announced Friday that they were in talks for a possible future venture.

The venture would involve a multibillion dollar investment aimed at upgrading the Greek utility's aging infrastructure, according to Greek media reports.

The reports had said that the Public Power Corp. signed a preliminary memorandum of understanding with RWE, one of Germany's largest power companies, to explore cooperation in new projects such as the joint development of new thermal units in Greece, renewable energy sources, joint expansion in the Balkans and joint natural gas pipeline projects.

According to the reports, RWE would own 51 percent and hold management control of the new units if a deal were reached, while PPC would retain the remaining 49 percent.

"In order to ensure adequate electrical energy both in the immediate future and in the coming years, PPC has examined cooperation proposals which at times have been submitted by large and reliable companies," the corporation said in a statement in response to the media reports.

It confirmed that RWE was among those companies.

"Discussions with RWE specifically concern only projects. The obviously confidential discussions for the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the companies, despite the progress that there has been, are in a preliminary stage," it said.

RWE Friday confirmed on its Web site that it was in talks with PPC on possibilities for cooperation, but said no agreement had been signed.

Under a EUR5 billion investment plan, PPC intends to replace its aging power plants - some more than four decades in operation - with new, more efficient units. The plan calls for the replacement of 3,200 megawatts of installed capacity.

The corporations' labor union, the powerful General Federation of Electric Power Workers, or GENOP, issued a statement late Thursday vowing to block the deal. It did not give details.

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