ATHENS Greece received nine expressions of interest from investors in the sale of the country's state-controlled gas distribution network, DEPA Infrastructure, the country's privatisation agency said on Friday.

Greece, which emerged from a series of internationalbailouts in 2018, intends to sell gas utility DEPA's commercial and distribution business in two separate tenders to help open up the sector.

The country is selling its 65% stake in DEPA Infrastructure.Hellenic Petroleum, which holds the remaining 35% inthe company, has also agreed to offload its stake.

The privatisations agency said the following investors had expressed interest to acquire DEPA Infrastructure:

Antin Infrastructure Partners, China Resources Gas (HONG KONG) Investment Ltd, Consortium SINO-CEE Fund and Shanghai Dazhong Public Utilities Group, EP Investment Advisors, First State Investments (European Diversified Infrastructure Fund II), Italgas SpA, ISQUARED Capital Advisors LLP, KKR (KKR Global Infrastructure Investors III L.P.), MAQOUARIE (MEIF 6 DI HOLDINGS).

The agency said its advisors would evaluate the expressions of interest and make their recommendations to its board on the candidates that "qualify for the next phase of the tender, the binding offers phase."

(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos and Angeliki Koutantou; editing by David Evans)