ECONOMY

Greek firms’ efforts to lure investors eclipsed by ECB tests

Greek companies’ attempts to lure investors are being held back by next month’s European Central Bank health check of its lenders, which is weighing on local stocks.

Executives from 31 listed companies held three days of meetings with investors at the annual Greek Roadshow last week in London, at Bloomberg LP’s European headquarters.

Among key themes was the 75 billion euros of nonperforming loans, which investors fear may prompt banks to tap them for cash a third time in less than two years if the ECB stress tests determine there’s a capital shortfall.

“We are in a waiting period to see what happens with the stress tests,” said Evangelos Charatsis, managing director of Beta Securities in Athens.

“Since the recapitalizations, the index has again become mostly bank-driven.”

Greek stocks, which jumped 28 percent last year, have retreated in the past six month on concern about the tests, together with renewed worries about political instability with polls showing the anti-bailout SYRIZA as Greece’s leading party.

The benchmark Athens Exchange index is 17 percent below its level on March 19.

[Bloomberg]