Greek NPLs whet appetite of investors


Greece is now firmly at the focus of international entities investing in nonperforming loans, despite the uncertainties within those funds on the future returns of such investments and their reservations about the country’s administrative environment.

According to a survey conducted by London-based multinational law firm Ashurst and published on Tuesday, almost half of the investors (46 percent) said it is possible they will invest in NPLs in Greece in the next couple of years. The country ranks second in investor preferences, behind Italy, in which 51 percent of survey respondents said they intend to invest.

Greece is also second in the share of investors who have already invested in Greece in the last two years – 39 percent against Italy’s 43 percent.

Commenting on the strong interest in this country’s NPLs, Ashurst partner Olga Galazoula said: “Given that the Greek market remains at its formative stages, it’s notable that some 39 percent of investors report that they already invested in Greece. Appetite there remains high with almost half of investors stating that they are likely or more to invest there in the next two years. With 2018 seeing the first two major secured NPL transactions in Greece successfully conclude, the Greek legal and regulatory environment appears to be entering the new world of NPLs with a renewed sense of commitment."

Formative successful transactions and recent insolvency and security enforcement law reforms are set to maintain a healthy level of interest in the Greek market, but as Galazoula concluded, this country remains a new and developing market.

"Greece's economy remains susceptible to wider market shocks. The first half of 2019 will prove pivotal in assessing Greece's prospects as a sustainable NPL market, with the country in pre-election mode. It also remains to be seen if the recently renewed calls for the establishment of an asset management company to deal with the systemic NPL issue bear fruit this time round," noted Galazoula.