International investor interest in Greece, its banks and several local listed companies has increased to an impressive degree, as Wood & Co’s four-day conference showed this week. This was also evident in the five-week rally on the local stock market, which has seen its benchmark jump 35%.
The Winter Wonderland EME Conference, which this year took place online, showed that a large section of investors who held one-on-one meetings with representatives of Greek listed companies are funds that have abstained from the local bourse for years after abandoning it in 2015. This “new money” for the Athens Exchange many well be the best omen for its future as this is a market long trapped in shallow waters.
The Wood & Co event that started on Tuesday and concluded on Friday exclusively concerned emerging markets, which is another point that made Greece stand out. Analysts consider emerging markets the best bet for 2021 thanks to the expected recovery of the global economy through the advent of the coronavirus vaccines; given that Greece has the privilege of being a eurozone member and enjoys the support of the European Central Bank and the Next Generation EU fund, investor interest in it has grown considerably.
More than 340 investors participated in the roadshow, including some major funds – such as Amundi, Allianz Global Investors and NN Investments – and long investors. A host of Greek blue chip companies took part, from the four systemic banks to energy and utility giants.
Among the investors to return after years of absence were East Capital Asset Management, which is among Europe’s biggest long funds, and RWC Partners, which has a strong international presence.
“For 2021, investors see a shift from companies that benefited from teleworking to growth-friendly companies. Bank stocks thrive when economies grow, so the sector is set to enjoy significant inflows, which is further strengthened by the fact that Greece also constitutes an emerging market,” a senior official at a Greek bank who participated in the roadshow told Kathimerini. Some 30% of meeting Greek banks had were with investors who had left the country years ago.