New technology fund making progress as private investors sought

Deutsche Bank and the National Bank of Greece’s London-based subsidiary NBGI will act as financial advisors to the Economy Ministry in its plans to attract private investors in the New Economy Venture Capital Fund (TANEO). According to sources, the contract is expected to be signed within days. TANEO is projected to be operated along the lines of Britain’s High Technology Fund, which finances venture capital firms, in turn, funding newly set up innovative enterprises. The government’s participation in the 300-million euro fund will depend on the extent of private investors’ interest. A key factor for attracting private funds is the rate of return which is guaranteed to investors. According to the envisaged procedure, interested parties will submit offers for the amount they wish to proffer and the rate of return they wish to realize. Ultimately, the latter will be determined depending on demand. Despite frequent criticism regarding the inauguration of the new fund in the present unfavorable economic circumstances, TANEO officials insist that incentives will be extremely strong, and that the government is willing to underwrite the greatest part of the investment risk and launch the fund even if it means contributing a larger share. According to sources, talks are at an advanced stage with a large foreign concern for its possible participation in TANEO. The initial presentations to institutional investors are projected for next month. Alpha Bank economist Dimitrios Maroulis said that strong consumer spending is linked to the continuing consumer credit boom.