ECONOMY

Saudi group Olayan to enter Costa Navarino

Olayan, Saudi Arabia’s strongest business group, is entering Costa Navarino as the fourth shareholder with an equal stake to those of the other three held by the Konstantakopoulos family.

The Saudi group will participate in the Greek tourism enterprise by way of a share capital increase to strengthen the Costa Navarino resort in the southwestern Peloponnese and its further growth in the tourism sector. The aim of the move is not just to support the group’s next investment stage but also to supply liquidity.

Achilleas Konstantakopoulos will continue to lead the companies that comprise the Costa Navarino group, as has hitherto been the case.

The Olayan Group, one of the most important global investment entities, has been present in Greece for the last 30 years and acquired holdings in several Greek enterprises, illustrating its long-term strategy for positioning in this country. According to a Costa Navarino statement, the two groups share the same mind-set and the same vision for the long-term and sustainable development of Costa Navarino and the region of Messinia.

The share capital increase should further accelerate the growth of the resort. Its precise plans and timetable will be announced once their drafting is completed during the first quarter of 2015. “This cooperation highlights the success of the sustainable tourism development that Costa Navarino represents and has placed it among the top-quality destinations in Europe,” the statement added.

Olayan controls dozens of enterprises around the world. Since 2000 and the death of Suliman Olayan, the group has been chaired by his son, Khaled. The fortune of Khaled Olayan and his three sisters is estimated at $12 billion, making him one of the planet’s richest people.

In Greece Olayan has also invested in the Chipita food company and has traditionally been one of the biggest stakeholders in Greek bottler Coca-Cola HBC. Olayan cooperated for many years with Angelos Plakopitas’s Global Finance investment firm, and today holds a stake in Vivartia, Chipita’s current parent company, in bakery units in Saudi Arabia. Since 1992 it has also participated in the share capital of Athens-listed company Flexopack through portfolio investment company Competrol Establishment.

Olayan also partnered the Konstantakopoulos family in bidding for the Astir Palace Resort in Vouliagmeni, southern Athens, leading to its participation in Costa Navarino. Since 1975 it has transferred to Greece the greatest part of its international activity that until then was based in Beirut. The choice of Athens did not come about by chance, as Khaled’s mother is Greek.