Saturday November 1, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
18o C
13o 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)  
Disposable income of households fell 10.3 pct in one year
Banks unhappy with bad loans bill
State debtor numbers grew in September
Reform plan among conditions
Ministry swap halts talk of reshuffle as reforms eyed
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Friday appointed Nikos Dendias as defense minister, replacing outgoing Dimitris Avramopoulos, who assumes the European Commission’s immigration portfolio ne...
Turkish-Greek cooperation in Aegean helps stem flow of migrants
Closer cooperation between Greek and Turkish coast guard authorities has led to 11,000 undocumented migrants being prevented from entering Greek borders and returned to the neighboring count...
Inside News
BASKETBALL
Spanoulis played Zeus for Olympiakos against Neptunas
Captain Vassilis Spanoulis helped Olympiakos narrowly avoid an upset on Friday as it defeated Euroleague debutant Neptunas Klaipeda 85-81 in overtime in Lithuania to preserve its perfect sta...
BASKETBALL
Obradovic watches Greens thrash his Fenerbahce
The second homecoming of former Panathinaikos coach Zeljko Obradovic, now at Fenerbahce, was not as emotional as last year’s, but it was certainly was the night of an emphatic triumph for th...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
The judiciary’s responsibility
The reform efforts over the past few years have begun to bear fruit. Greece has improved its standing in the World Bank’s Doing Business rankings, rising 48 positions from 2010 to 61st place...
EDITORIAL
Findings raise eyebrows
An investigation into money transferred to foreign banks by civil servants since 2010, when Greece’s brutal debt crisis erupted, has come up with some striking findings. The checks, which we...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Spanoulis played Zeus for Olympiakos against Neptunas
2. Disposable income of households fell 10.3 pct in one year
3. Banks unhappy with bad loans bill
4. State debtor numbers grew in September
5. Reform plan among conditions
6. Ministry swap halts talk of reshuffle as reforms eyed
more news
Today
This Week
1. Archaeologists find underground vault at Amphipolis tomb
2. Man shot dead, woman injured in Vathis square attack
3. Greek retail sales rise for third month in a row
4. Cyprus’s Georgiades bets on economy for Irish-style bailout exit
5. Germany’s 10-year bonds decline before euro-area inflation data
6. New defense minister to be appointed without reshuffle
Today
This Week
1. Austria’s creative bookkeeping beats Greece on secret debts
2. End of reason, end of humanity
3. Clean bill of health for Greek banks from stress tests
4. Samaras pledges action after flash floods in Athens
5. Eurobank, National Bank restructurings eliminate capital gap
6. Athens flood damage assessed, compensation payments to begin
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.