Thursday November 27, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
12o C
9o 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)  
Debtors snap up offer for easier settlements
Belgium gas firm said to be eyeing DESFA
OLP approval paves way for investment in Piraeus
Airport tender exceeds expectations
Hundreds of migrants on crippled ship off Crete
Ships from Greece rushed to help after a crippled freighter crammed with hundreds of migrants floundered for hours Tuesday in gale-force winds and high waves in the Mediterranean Sea, offici...
Policemen suspected of working at Piraeus bar where shooting took place
At least three serving policemen are thought to have been working at the bar in Mikrolimano, Piraeus, where a 31-year-old man opened fire with an AK-47 early on Saturday, resulting in 15 peo...
Inside News
SOCCER
Atletico eyes last 16 berth against Olympiakos
Greek champion Olympiakos faces a tough task if it is to prevent last season's beaten finalist Atletico Madrid sealing its passage into the last 16 of the Champions League at the Vicente Cal...
SOCCER
EPO ends soccer suspension, Super League resumes
Soccer action will resume this weekend after the Super League convened on Monday, elected a new president and alternate president and sent a letter to the soccer federation that assures it t...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Beware of the fallen idols
Akis Tsochatzopoulos, a legendary figure of the Greek socialist movement, a man who came very close to taking over the party that governed the country for half of the time following the fall...
EDITORIAL
The hard truth
The coalition government must tell the truth to the Greek people, even if this entails admitting to mistakes made over the last few months. The country’s citizens are fully aware of how cruc...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Hundreds of migrants on crippled ship off Crete
2. Atletico eyes last 16 berth against Olympiakos
3. Debtors snap up offer for easier settlements
4. Belgium gas firm said to be eyeing DESFA
5. OLP approval paves way for investment in Piraeus
6. Airport tender exceeds expectations
more news
Today
This Week
1. Anastasiades to undergo heart surgery in the US on Dec 4
2. Two police officers among 9 arrested for drug trafficking
3. Cargo vessel carrying hundreds of migrants adrift southeast of Crete
4. Trade deficit widens by 8.7 percent during Jan-Sept period, says ELSTAT report
5. Fraport, Copelouzos offer highest bid for Greek regional airports
6. Stop Mediterranean becoming vast migrant cemetery, Pope tells Europe
Today
This Week
1. Give Greece a chance
2. Biden heads to Istanbul amid tension over Cyprus EEZ violation
3. Scientists expand excavation of ancient Amphipolis
4. Extremism from a bygone era
5. Piraeus nightclub shooting leaves 3 seriously injured
6. Cosco’s Greek unit adds multinational rail-freight client
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.