Costas Apostolidis: Another Greece, silent and hardworking
At the beginning of each year, Blackstone’s Byron Wien publishes a list of the 10 most extreme surprises, in his opinion, of the coming year. If such a list had included a pandemic, we would all expect Greece to be one of the most unprepared and vulnerable countries in Europe.
And yet Greece was the surprise. Rejecting the luxury of inaction, it was forced to rely on its own strengths and succeed. It highlighted another Greece, which is always there, silent, serious, hardworking, but invisible, eclipsed by the cacophony of the surrounding confusion.
We believe that a similar surprise will happen with the restart of the economy by companies that have been steadily evolving, even in the midst of the crisis, working methodically and quietly, going unnoticed in the toxic disorientation of that period.
Really, how many such companies actually exist in Greece? The answer is many. In our area alone, in the regional unit of Drama, which according to Foundation for Economic & Industrial Research (IOBE) is the poorest in the country, one can easily point to five such companies within a radius of 3 kilometers! Two of them, the marble companies Pavlidis and Kyriakidis, with their innovative mining methods and masterful marble processing, export 90% of their production, achieving levels of profitability worthy of admiration. Raycap, with the most patents in Greece, with innovative technological products mainly for 5G networks, wind turbines and photovoltaics, exports 95% of its production, while Arivia produces cheese from vegetable oils according to special recipes and technical procedures, with exports exceeding 90%. Finally, Wonderplant, with the most automated factory in Greece, produces 1% of the tomatoes consumed by the country, reducing imports. The importance and value of such companies that are certainly located in every region of Greece and work in the same systematic way is invaluable and it is them that will provide the impetus the economy needs.
It is, after all, no coincidence that global giants have recognized the value and, above all, the potential of such companies. Perhaps with this in mind, KKR acquired Arivia for 495 million euros six months ago and CVC acquired 45% of Skroutz two months ago, valuing it at a total of 280 million euros.
The ingredients of success
We believe that the recently announced tax increase for research spending, from 30% to 100%, will exponentially help such companies with a global competitive advantage. Similarly, the certification of these costs by independent evaluators will drastically reduce bureaucracy.
As we saw in the case of the pandemic, the honest, complete and continuous flow of information can have sweeping results. If we adopt the same strategy with regard to information about the new economic measures that will be announced, the understanding of the people, who are now confusing basic economic notions, will improve dramatically. In this way, all citizens, right down to the last, will understand their importance, necessity and benefits, so that they will not get carried away by simplistic myths spun by politicians or con artists making bogus promises.
Summing up, as with the pandemic, with the restart of the economy, without wishful thinking, we must rely on what we have – and not on what we would like to have – and try to convince everyone that this effort is for all of us and not just the few.
THE COMPANY AT A GLANCE
Raycap is a 100% Greek-owned high-tech company. It is active worldwide, with factories in Greece, the US, Germany, Slovenia and China. It holds a leading position in the global market as it manufactures innovative products due to its intense activity in research and development.