ECONOMY

Athens Stock Exchange takes 30 listed firms to London roadshow

For the first time in the history of the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), it will organize a «Greek Day» in London on September 20 and 21, in association with Bloomberg. ASE has prepared some 500 presentations to about 80 international funds that handle up to 2 trillion euros per year. In total, 30 mid-cap companies listed on the ASE will participate in the Greek market’s roadshow. According to Spyros Kapralos, chairman of Hellenic Exchanges, which operates the ASE, it is unprecedented and very important that the presidents or CEOs themselves present their own companies. Through one-to-one meetings of 45 minutes with each of the 80 funds, they will analyze the course of their companies and inform foreign portfolios of their next moves in products and investments. Foreign investors’ interest in Greek companies is certain: According to latest data by the Central Securities Depository, foreign institutionals increased their presence across listed companies to 43.30 percent of capitalization, from 42.47 percent in July. In blue chips monitored by the FTSE ASE 20 index, they reached 47.36 percent from 46.11 percent in July. Kapralos will tell foreign investors in London that the ASE is evolving into a new, modern, dynamic and internationalized investment environment. «Through a constant process of imposing contemporary transparency practices in the market from all its bodies, we seek to restore the role of ASE in the eyes of investors and entrepreneurs. Our extrovert efforts should transform ASE into a modern, competitive and efficient group with a significant presence in our region,» says Kapralos to Kathimerini. The net foreign capital that came to ASE in 2005 exceeded 5.2 billion euros. Today more than 50 percent of the daily transaction turnover on the Athens market originates from foreign investment portfolios based outside Greece. «ASE is now a market in which Greeks and foreigners participate on equal level and has no relation to that of the past,» suggests Alexis Pilavios, president of the Capital Market Commission (CMC), to Kathimerini. «It now is a private company that reacts rapidly and adjusts to competition and the changing financial conditions,» he notes. Kapralos adds that the ASE needs investors who are aware of the stock market’s investment nature and can spot investment opportunities in it. They should be able to grasp the notions of risk and yield and understand the difference between a risk-free investment in a state bond, and one in a stock. This month, when ASE completes 130 years of operation, the first five remote members of the Athens bourse will start operating, having been admitted by the CMC. This concerns five Cypriot stockbrokerage companies and is associated with the operation of a common platform for the Athens and Nicosia stock markets. Among the priorities of Hellenic Exchanges is also the introduction of new products, such as exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and the listing of ocean-going shipping companies.