US investment fund CVC Capital is rapidly evolving into the biggest foreign investor in Greece, as it is currently in negotiations for the acquisition of an 80% stake in Ethniki, Greece’s biggest insurer, for about 450-460 million euros.
Having already agreed to buy out Vivartia from Marfin Investment Group for €600 million in cash and debt, it is preparing to expand its exposure in Greece by about €1 billion. This should be added to the existing investments it has implemented in this country over the last four years, including the acquisition of the Hygeia group in a €200 million deal, the hospitals Metropolitan, Iaso General, Mitera and Lito, as well as a series of marinas bought by Turkish group Dogus and its holding in e-commerce platform Skroutz.gr.
If Ethniki is also acquired, the fund will raise its exposure in Greece to €1.5 billion, matching the investment of Canadian businessman Prem Watsa and his company Fairfax that are currently the biggest foreign investors in Greece.
CVC’s consecutive takeovers of hospitals, after its original stake in Metropolitan, are the pilot for the fund’s trajectory after the purchase of Vivartia, sources tell Kathimerini.
CVC, which globally manages $109.1 billion, has a plan for Vivartia that focuses on developing synergies through acquisitions of other similar enterprises in Greece and abroad, say sources in the know. A restructuring effort will take place in Vivartia’s food service branch, as its finances require streamlining, the same sources add.
As CVC’s representative in Greece, Alex Fotakidis, said last week in the context of the 31st Greek Economic Summit that the fund intends to continue investing in this country: “We have been active in Greece since 2017 and our portfolio exceeds €500 million,” he stated, adding that the political and economic environment is very supportive to investments, and that cooperation with banks has been positive to date.
“Our view is that in the next five to six years, Greece will grow at a greater pace than the rest of Europe, therefore we will continue to invest in the country,” he declared. Interestingly, Fotakidis said that the fields of investment expansion for the fund he is a partner of – besides healthcare, financial services and food – include hospitality, generating interest about whether this will concern tourism or properties.