ECONOMY

Samaras to discuss investment in Qatar

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will visit the wealthy Gulf state of Qatar next week to discuss investment opportunities in Greece, a Greek Embassy spokesman in Doha said on Tuesday.

Samaras will meet with Qatar’s emir and prime minister, as well as with top officials from Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund to discuss investment possibilities in the struggling Mediterranean economy, including equity participation in Greek state-owned companies, the spokesman said.

“They will definitely discuss Qatari investment in Greece. This is the main goal of the trip. Equity participation in state companies that are being privatized, the state lottery and DEPA, the public natural gas company, this is what Greece will present to the Prime Minister,” he said.

The chief executives of Greece’s two largest banks, National Bank of Greece and Alpha Bank, are also accompanying the delegation, he said. Greece’s struggling economy received a second financing program from the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund in February, but a deeper-than-expected depression threw its reforms and fiscal consolidation efforts off course. Other investment areas to be discussed include real estate projects such as the Elliniko project, a 620-hectare development near central Athens, Europe’s largest real estate project. Qatar Holding, the investment arm of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, is participating in the tender process of the project, the spokesman said. Qatar Holding recently invested 1.2 billion euros in a gold mining operation in northern Greece, he said. Representatives from 15 Greek companies will be present, including Aegean Airlines, steel producer Halyvourgiki as well as natural gas major DEPA, he said. Other topics to be discussed include how Greek companies can participate in infrastructure projects in Qatar, he said. [Reuters]