Wednesday October 1, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
28o C
16o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Hidden Greek gems billionaire emerges with Folli Follie

By Tom Metcalf

Dimitrios Koutsolioutsos, the founder and chairman of Folli Follie SA (FFGRP), has become a billionaire as the Athens-based maker of jewelry, handbags and fashion accessories increased almost 10-fold in the last two years.

Folli Follie, which owns jeweler Links of London as well as its namesake retail chain, weathered Greece’s economic turmoil selling mid-priced items such as $60 Match & Dazzle Bracelets and $135 K Chic Handbags, and partnering with Shanghai-based Fosun International Ltd. and Basel, Switzerland-based Dufry AG.

"The Koutsolioutsos family managed to get the company out of a very difficult period when there was doubt whether Greece would stay in the euro zone," Iakovos Kourtesis, an Athens-based analyst at Piraeus Securities SA, said in a phone interview. "Through strategic agreements with Fosun they’ve managed to expand into China. The tie-up with Dufry promises growth in areas like Latin America and Russia."

Koutsolioutsos controls 36 percent of the company, according to a 2013 financial statement, a stake valued at $1 billion. The 71-year-old has at least $75 million in cash and other assets derived from share sales and dividends, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The billionaire didn’t respond to e-mail requests for comment.

Koutsolioutsos opened the first Folli Follie store in downtown Athens in 1982 with his wife, Ekaterini, according to the company’s website. The company sold shares on the Greek stock exchange 15 years later. It merged with Hellenic Duty Free Shops SA and Elmec Sport SA in 2010. His son, George, is the company’s chief executive officer.

'Cautious optimism'

The company navigated the global financial crisis by selling a 9.5 percent stake to Fosun in 2011, which bolstered the retailer's expansion into China. They also completed the sale of the group’s duty-free business to Dufry in 2013, which allowed Folli Follie to pay down debt.

The company’s revenue dropped to 934 million euros ($1.3 billion) in 2013 from 1.1 billion euros the prior year while debt was reduced by 519 million euros to 223 million euros. Its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization margin rose two percentage points to 21 percent.

Folli Follie’s performance stands in contrast to the weakness of the broader Greek economy, where gross domestic product fell 1.1 percent in the first quarter of 2014 and unemployment stood at 28 percent at the end of February, according to Greece’s statistics agency.

"Looking ahead, there is cautious optimism regarding the outlook for the Greek economy," Koutsolioutsos said in his 2012 letter to shareholders. "We believe that our competitive strengths, along with the growth strategies that we have implemented, will enable us to achieve continued financial success." [Bloomberg]

ekathimerini.com , Friday June 6, 2014 (10:42)  
Mario Draghi to push ECB to buy Greek, Cypriot ´junk´ loans: FT
NBG Pangaea eyes listing on foreign bourse, huge portfolio
Out-of-control unpaid bills bring PPC to its knees
Banks feel optimistic ahead of stress test results
New suburban railway station opens in Athens suburb of Tavros
Transport Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis on Wednesday inaugurated a new station on the Athens-Piraeus Proastiakos suburban railway line. The new station in Tavros, near Athens's southern co...
Thessaloniki transport gets more expensive
October began with more expensive public transportation for the residents of the northern port city of Thessaloniki, as the OATH transit authority introduces fare hikes in a bid to boost rev...
Inside News
SOCCER
All team sports suspended next weekend in memory of dead fan
The government announced on Monday the suspension of all team sports events in Greece scheduled for next weekend, October 4 and 5, in the memory of the Ethnikos Piraeus fan who died a few ho...
SOCCER
Karamanos punishes Michel for deeming him surplus
Atromitos forced Olympiakos’s first loss this season in all competitions on Saturday to allow PAOK to go alone on top of the Super League table on Sunday. Odds-on title favorite Olympiakos l...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Truth before the battle
The coalition has lost its sense of direction in the last few months. Exactly where things went off track is not the question at this stage. What is certain is that if it continues competing...
EDITORIAL
Bending the rules
The flexibility with which laws are implemented has been a fundamental cause for concern in Greece during the post-dictatorship era. Everything becomes a subject for negotiation, even in cas...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Mario Draghi to push ECB to buy Greek, Cypriot ´junk´ loans: FT
2. New suburban railway station opens in Athens suburb of Tavros
3. Thessaloniki transport gets more expensive
4. Smallpox decimates sheep stocks in northern Greece
5. Air-raid sirens to go off all over Greece at 11 a.m. in drill
6. NBG Pangaea eyes listing on foreign bourse, huge portfolio
more news
Today
This Week
1. Air-raid sirens to go off all over Greece at 11 a.m. in drill
2. Bending the rules
3. Truth before the battle
4. Smallpox decimates sheep stocks in northern Greece
5. Thessaloniki transport gets more expensive
6. New suburban railway station opens in Athens suburb of Tavros
Today
This Week
1. Greece may opt for unusual president to avoid snap polls, Venizelos says
2. Woman allegedly buried alive by accident in northern Greece
3. Salaries in Greece continue to slide, dipping 1.4 pct in Q2
4. Should you bet with Kissinger on where the world is heading?
5. Cypriots divided by 1974 war seek Shariah hub
6. The shocking thought of euro-dollar parity
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.