ECONOMY

Japonica head says his company will support a Greek bond issue

Paul Kazarian, the head of investment firm Japonica Partners, has told Kathimerini he intends to support a new Greek bond issue, but only under certain conditions.

The firm’s chairman and chief executive was in Athens last week for a series of meetings with local politicians and business figures and agreed that the time has come for Greece to make a gradual return to international money markets and for the country to rebound both on a political and a financial level. He added that the markets have sent the message that they are ready to invest anew in the Greek economy.

“Of course I would buy Greek bonds in a new issue,” Kazarian told Kathimerini, setting two clear conditions. The first is that Greece will have to issue a detailed bulletin with a complete fiscal snapshot and financial statement. Kazarian showed Kathimerini a similar bulletin for New Zealand that he had with him and underscored the significance investors attribute to being able to study an investment destination fiscal data in its entirety.

The second condition Kazarian set out is that Greek authorities utilize an accounting tool that reflects the country’s financial state in a different way: This is the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), according to which, Kazarian says, Greece’s public debt is smaller than 100 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. He adds that there is no reason to abandon the existing accounting system, applied according to European regulations, as long as there is also a sufficient reflection of the country’s finances via IPSAS.

Under these conditions, Kazarian claims that Greece could tap the money markets as early as in the first half of next year. He believes that such an attempt would prove completely successful given that Greece’s public finances are in a much better state than those of other eurozone countries, while Greek bonds will offer much higher yields.

Kazarian again refused to reveal the amount of Greek bonds Japonica holds, but he stressed that he is willing to invest in Greek companies too, whether in the private or public sector. After all Japonica specializes in the corporate market and not bonds. Kazarian said he does not rule out trading his Greek bonds with a local state company.