Saturday November 29, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
16o C
10o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Greece draws investors seeing bad loans come good, says Piraeus chief Sallas

By Christos Ziotis & Nikos Chrysoloras

International investors have started placing money into Greek banks as they anticipate the improving economy will boost profits across the industry, Michalis Sallas, chairman of Piraeus Bank SA, said.

As the country’s deficit narrows and output stabilizes, banks are likely to recover more than they previously projected from struggling borrowers, Sallas said in an interview.

“The prospective reduction of non-performing loans and the continuing decline of deposit rates in Greece mean that profits will rise significantly,” the 63-year-old banker, said at his office in downtown Athens last week.

Piraeus, the country’s second-biggest bank by assets, last month raised 1.75 billion euros ($2.4 billion) in new capital from foreign investors in the latest sign Greek lenders are bouncing back from the sovereign-debt crisis. It also sold 500 million euros of three-year bonds on March 18 in the first public debt sale from a Greek lender since 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Those who invest in Greece are not just looking for short-term gains,” Sallas said. “They include institutional investors, like pension funds and big, long-only funds.”

The Greek economy will probably receive a further boost next year when banks complete their de-leveraging and begin to increase lending to companies and consumers, said Sallas, who trained as an economist in Germany.

Greece, whose debt load is close to 180 percent of gross domestic product, or about 326 billion euros, has narrowed its budget deficit as a condition of the rescue program, backed by euro-area states and the International Monetary Fund. The government and EU predict that Greece will emerge in 2014 from six years of recession and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble last week said euro-area governments are discussing ways to boost growth in the bloc’s most indebted nation.

“We see a real improvement, especially when it comes to fiscal discipline, but we need to do more to bolster the competitiveness of Greek companies,” Sallas said. “Domestic consolidation is necessary to create economies of scale and companies which can compete in the international markets.”

Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said earlier this month his country is preparing for a small issuance of three- or five-year bonds, in the first semester of this year.

“Everything indicates that this inaugural bond issue of the Greek state will have a positive reception from international investors, underscoring their confidence in economic recovery,” said Sallas, a former government official and chairman of the stock exchange.

On March 26, Piraeus said it placed 1.03 billion new ordinary shares at 1.70 euros each, after a stress test conducted by the country’s central bank identified a capital shortfall of 425 million euros.

Sallas, whose bank has taken over six other lenders in the last 18 months, said Piraeus has set aside 14 billion euros to cover 27 billion euros of troubled credits, amounting to about a third of its loan book. He says his bank probably won’t need additional capital after the European Central Bank asset quality review and stress-test later this year.

“The Bank of Greece applied a very conservative approach, and, I believe, has taken precautions to align its methodology with that used by the European Central Bank,” he said. “In any event, in Piraeus we have sufficient buffers to accommodate any eventuality.”

[Bloomberg]

ekathimerini.com , Monday April 7, 2014 (10:22)  
Q3 growth was bigger than thought
Who will pay for the state’s ADMIE stake?
Christmas budgets slashed due to higher taxes, healthcare costs
Finance Ministry inundated with applications for debt settlement
Venizelos extends invite to Turkey at start of visit
Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos arrived in Ankara Friday night for two days of talks. Ahead of his visit he sought to make it clear that Greece is prepared to discuss maritime issues wi...
Vatopedi trial for 14 suspects
The Supreme Court decided Friday that 14 people should stand trial for the notorious property swap between the Vatopedi Monastery and the state six years ago. Those who will face charges of ...
Inside News
BASKETBALL
One more emphatic win sees Panathinaikos make top 16
Panathinaikos has mathematically qualified to the top 16 of the Euroleague after another emphatic home win, this time against Bayern Munich, with an 87-72 score on Friday. Given the changes ...
SOCCER
PAOK is one win from Europa League´s last 32
A late brace by Stefanos Athanasiadis gifted PAOK a precious win at Dynamo Minsk on Thursday, meaning that the Thessaloniki team is one win away from graduating from the group stage of the E...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Change of US president won´t mean change of foreign policy
Americans have again voted for change in Washington as opposition Republicans take control of both houses of the US Congress. As attention now turns to the 2016 presidential race, it's time ...
COMMENTARY
The presidential election paradox
A few days ago, speaking with a visiting colleague who neither works in Europe nor covers events here, I suddenly felt how much we Greeks take for granted some things that should have worrie...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. One more emphatic win sees Panathinaikos make top 16
2. Venizelos extends invite to Turkey at start of visit
3. Vatopedi trial for 14 suspects
4. New proposals on way to troika
5. Cabbie who carried shooter claims he was threatened
6. Gov´t urged to allow Syrian refugees to move on
more news
Today
This Week
1. Change of US president won't mean change of foreign policy
2. Child molester suspect photo released by police
3. Greek economy expands 0.7 pct q/q in Q3
4. Lebanese FM: Cyprus may be jihadi transit point
5. Athens water supply 9-month profit falls 45 pct on lower charges
6. Armed man arrested on Thessaloniki campus
Today
This Week
1. Give Greece a chance
2. Extremism from a bygone era
3. Scientists expand excavation of ancient Amphipolis
4. Greece paralyzed by major strike, flights cancelled
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.