PPC signs memorandum of cooperation with GE Europe

Public Power Corporation’s (PPC) signature of a Memoradum of Understanding with General Electric Power in Zurich was “a historic moment,” PPC chairman and CEO Manolis Panagiotakis said on Tuesday, in a TV interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA).

The signing of the memorandum signalled the start of a long-term cooperation with a visible positive impact on the Greek economy, helping to create new jobs, Panagiotakis noted. He stressed that it “covers joint business efforts in Europe and Greece with the prospect of expanding to the wider region, such as North Africa, for maintenance, operation support and service of energy units”.

General Electric Europe is based in Baden industrial park, outside Zurich. Following the acquisition of Alstom, the company is one of the largest players in the energy sector and any cooperation with this giant has strategic importance, financial circles in Zurich told ANA.

A high-ranking PPC delegation – headed by Panagiotakis – traveled to Zurich to sign the memorandum, after several months of preparations.

Panagiotakis said the cooperation will offer work not only to PPC’s staff, but to other Greek technicians, engineers, etc. “We will create a new generation of technicians bringing new value and wealth to the country,” he noted. Panagiotakis underlined, however, that developments demanded that PPC should adjust to new challenges and undergo changes. “As you already know, GE has acquired Alstom and has several such units in the area. So it is a vast market and for PPC this is something valuable, particularly in current conditions to change our business activities,” he said.

“It is known – we have said it several times – that PPC needs to transform. And because of this we have to sell 40 pct of our lignite business. PPC will become small in electricity. But we plan to become the strongest company in Greece taking initiatives in other sectors, such as natural gas, taking advantage of technology developments – electric cars – and expand abroad. This cooperation with GE is a clear example of such an activity,” Panagiotakis said.

GE has the know-how and the ability to set up, in a very short period of time, using advanced technology, new generation electric power stations capable of operating automatically using all forms of fuel.

A PPC announcement on Tuesday said the MoU with GE Power concerns the offering – at an initial stage – of maintenance services for GE Power’s equipment in Greece, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

More specifically, the two companies will explore the possibility of cooperation to offer operation, maintenance, leasing, education, damage diagnosis and repair of wind turbines, steam turbines, generators, boilers and other equipment used in electricity power stations or industrial use. For this purpose, a joint group will be set up to draft a recommendation for the proper business model.

PPC said that GE has established equipment in these regions, with the prospect of significantly increasing this equipment in the future. PPC owns a significant number of GE and Alstom machines (GE has acquired Alstom’s electricity energy production activities) and has the necessary technical equipment to perform maintenance works. Currently, maintenance, repair and other services are offered by GE’s subsidiaries in cooperation with local representatives.

Manolis Panagiotakis, PPC’s chairman and CEO said: “GE is the biggest manufacturer of turbines for electricity energy production in the world. The cooperation will improve existing maintenance practices through synergies. We are very optimistic that through this cooperation we will further develop our business in multiple fields in the sector of electricity production, a very important thing as we will exploit know-how and our people, our basic comparative advantage and create employment opportunities for Greek engineers and technicians”.

Michael Rechsteiner, vice-president GE Power Services Europe Division, said: “The signing of a memorandum of understanding between PPC and GE Power Services is another step towards a close and long-term cooperation between the two companies. The strategic goal is to lay the foundations for a further operating growth in Greece and Southeastern Europe, through a framework of healthy competition, transparency and institutional compliance”.