The foreign investment funds that are starting to take another look at Greece are awaiting the successful completion of the first review of the country’s third bailout program and the further consolidation of political stability before making any moves, as became evident during this week’s 17th Capital Link Invest in Greece Forum held in New York.
The event, whose participants included thousands of foreign investors, entrepreneurs and banks, heard the managers of companies that are also active in Greece – that will effectively decide whether or not foreign investments will resume in the country – make several recommendations to Athens.
John Paulson, one of the biggest investors in Greek banks and the economy in general, said: “We are examining additional investments depending on the further progress to be recorded. We are encouraged by the adoption and application of reforms by this government, and a continued stability on the political front will instill confidence in the Greek recovery.”
Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, one of the main stakeholders in Eurobank, didn’t mince his words, calling on the government to legislate and quickly implement the entire bailout agreement, to strengthen investment expenditure instead of consumption, to liberalize the labor market, to take measures to boost exports and tourism, to preserve the competitiveness of shipping and to complete all the reforms the country requires.
William Vrattos, partner and portfolio manager at York Capital, which controls a stake in GEK Terna, Pangaia and others, stated that “we have invested funds directly into the country and we hope that in the months to come we will see some results.” He added that “although we have made a major investment in the real estate market via National Bank, we have not seen any attractive opportunities in the broader property market.”
Hewlett Packard supply chain director Ronald Kleijwegt commented that “if in previous decades the global trade was conducted through the ports of North Europe and America, the next few decades belong to the trade between China and Europe, and in this context Piraeus is the protagonist.”