BUSINESS

Investors keeping a keen eye on banks

ELEFTHERIA KOURTALI

TAGS: Banking, Markets

Investment interest in Greek banks remains strong following the steep decline of stock prices, but this has not yet translated into buying interest, as international portfolios are waiting to see what the 2021 outlook will be. This was the main conclusion from roadshows carried out in the past few weeks via online appointments between bank officials and fund managers.

The September roadshows marked the beginning of a long series of conferences that follow until the end of the year, bank sector sources tell Kathimerini. This is one of the positive effects of the pandemic, they say, as online presentations and virtual appointments that minimize distances and costly trips facilitate contacts between the investor community and enterprises.

After last week’s event by Bank of America, two more with significant Greek interest are scheduled this week: the Southern European ‘Speed Dating’ Event, again by BofA, and the Debt Capital Markets Investor Day-Paris by UBS with investors from France.

Kathimerini understands that at the BofA roadshow investors asked similar questions to those in previous events, by Goldman Sachs, Citi and Hellenic Exchanges, mainly regarding the course of the Greek economy in 2021 and the outlook for loans put on hold due to the pandemic, meaning whether they will lead to a new wave of nonperforming loans.

Market estimates suggest that investors are waiting for the end of the year, when the outlook for 2021 will be clearer, before making any decisions on Greece. Likewise, uncertainty over loans adding up to 20 billion euros whose repayment has been suspended has dominated investor concerns, though Greek bank officials say that no more than 10%-20% of those loans will likely turn into nonperforming exposures, adding up to €4 billion.

A positive surprise for investors at the BofA roadshow was the fact the Greek banks are proceeding with the securitizations of bad loans, as there had been an impression that the pandemic would have frozen procedures.

Another positive element is that the investors have now factored into their calculations the nosedive in tourism, with bank stocks plummeting up to 60% this year, which is expected to attract investors considerably once the outlook for 2021 becomes clearer.

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