By Dimitra Manifava
Funds from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar are seeking ways to get involved in funding Greek small and medium-sized enterprises, as foreign interest in investing in Greece is growing on a number of fronts.
According to a senior Development Ministry official, representatives of the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) recently visited the heads of Greece’s four systemic banks to discuss ways of investing in corporate loans adding up to 700 million euros.
At the same time Qatar remains interested in investing 1 billion euros in the Hellenic Investment Fund, as evidenced by the fact that its government has sent Athens a series of letters containing questions on technical matters. The law for the foundation of the investment fund was voted on in the last few days of 2013 and the process for its organization and operation is already under way.
The investments of Chinese groups in Piraeus are at a much more advanced stage. Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE is set to launch the pilot operation of its logistics center early next month, ahead of its official inauguration on February 20.
Today or tomorrow state privatization fund TAIPED’s governing board is expected to issue its approval of the text of the contract concerning the sale of the former airport plot at Elliniko in southern Athens. The draft contract will then be forwarded to the three interested parties as an invitation for their binding bids. The final contract between the winning private consortium and TAIPED will also be signed by the Greek state, and it is expected to bring about investments totaling between 5 and 8 billion euros, while direct or indirect job creation at the site in southern Athens is expected to amount to 8,000-10,000.
On Wednesday a government official familiar with the matter did not rule out the possibility of a casino being opened on the Elliniko site, although it is not yet known whether a new license would be issued or the license of the Parnitha casino would be transferred to it. If it emerges that there are plans for a casino at Elliniko, an additional price will be negotiated and a separate investor could be found.