ECONOMY

Big listed groups continue investment activity

Some of the country?s largest listed companies in metals, minerals, refining, energy and wholesale commerce are going ahead with sizeable investments for 2012, in an effort to attract new foreign clients after a lengthy run of cost-cutting measures.

Hellenic Petroleum Group is expected to begin operating a new, advanced diesel production unit in Elefsina, west of Athens, in September. This is currently the biggest investment in Greece at 1.2 billion euros, but also in Europe?s refinery sector.

Hellenic Petroleum has already received expressions of interest from major international traders wanting to reserve quantities of the diesel the new plant will be producing.

Also in the petroleum market, Motor Oil has invested 180 million euros in a new crude oil refinery, while over the past decade the company?s overall investments are estimated at over 1 billion euros, not including moves in the retail sector, such as the acquisition of Shell Hellas.

Steel producer Sidenor is expecting significant gains this year from its new subsidiary in Albania launched a few months ago, while a subsidiary of Corinth Pipeworks has already been pre-chosen to join the consortium responsible for the Trans-Adriatic natural gas pipeline (TAP, running through northern Greece, Albania and Italy), with a contract worth 500 million euros.

The investment is expected to be finalized by the end of the year, on the condition that the TAP consortium is granted the concession for the competitive Nabucco West (Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Austria) pipeline in the tender launched by the Shah Deniz consortium, headed by British Petroleum.

Corinth Pipeworks is already on the list of approved suppliers for all big pipeline projects being planned in Europe and the United States, while it has also managed to establish its presence among the international leaders in ERW medium-caliber and spiral large-caliber pipes.

Hellenic Cables, meanwhile, a subsidiary of the Viohalco group, has focused its attention in the electric cabling needs of the Cycladic islands in the Aegean by participating in a tender by the Public Power Corporation, which is currently running a technical evaluation for upgrading the power grid in the island cluster.

The project to supply and install 380 kilometers of underwater current cables to the islands has a budget of 400 million euros.

Cement factory Titan has offset the results of the nosedive in the Greek construction sector by boosting sales to new overseas customers in the markets of Turkey and Egypt, while it has recently started exporting to Libya as well. Titan?s greatest advantage, however, is its presence in the United States, where it has a plant on the east coast.

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, meanwhile, is running an investment program worth 1.35 billion euros over the 2011-2013 period in capital spending.