ECONOMY

Foreign funds determined not to miss out on Greek opportunities

The activities of foreign investment funds in the area around Syntagma Square, central Athens, are now reminiscent of the good old days for stocks, when deals were at the center of everyone’s attention, only this time the Greek side is at a disadvantage, due to the complete lack of cash flow.

Kathimerini’s sources say that a well-known US investment portfolio is currently in advanced talks with a major listed property company. Talks are said to be heading toward an agreement that would change the overall picture of the sector, as both sides are local market players.

While in the aforementioned case the fund is American, this is the first time that the center of Athens has seen Asian funds as well, as Greece appears to be something of an El Dorado in the eyes of many investors these days.

“There is an explanation,” says a Greek banker who works for a US lender. “After the returns on Greek bonds last summer, everything Greek is being monitored. Everyone is wondering whether a new, similar opportunity is emerging in Greece and they are determined not to miss it. That’s why they are circling around central Athens.” Those promoting banks’ share capital increases, as required under the terms of the sector’s recapitalization process, can confirm that.

Where else can one find investment opportunities in Greece? In the tourism sector. As the middlemen of a mega-deal brewing in recent days can testify, there is indeed a great interest in the sector. In this case it is Arabic, as an investment fund from Qatar is reportedly seeking to acquire a holding in a major tourism investment in Greece.

After all, the implementation of ambitious plans requires major liquidity, which Greece simply doesn’t have at the moment as banks have all but stopped issuing loans. As a result local entrepreneurs are trying to gain access to capital through cooperations with foreign portfolios, whether they like it or not.

As for the behavior of those funds, there have been reports of attempts to switch sides, i.e. coalition groups: Market sources say that foreign portfolios that are already present in Greece are involved in unusual approaches and interesting searches for cooperation. Their proposals are exceptionally attractive, according to what people are saying in the market, even though in these instances they are creating discontent for the current strategic partners in this country.