ECONOMY

Greek stock roadshow in London attracts strong interest – and good advice

Greek Day, the showcase of Greek companies in London last week, proved particularly successful. The first Greek stock roadshow included 31 companies, each having an average of 10 meetings with the cream of the world’s investment firms. The over 100 foreign capital administrators recognized the potentials of the Greek bourse, despite its small size as compared with other eurozone markets. «A great deal is heard, in reverse proportion to the size of the companies, and that shows the prospects are good,» Greek businessmen heard from foreign fund managers. Listed companies’ executives expressed their satisfaction with the interest generated by their presence in London on Wednesday and Thursday and asked for more such initiatives and the inclusion of a greater number of companies. Foreign investment firms suggest that Greek enterprises do have vision and strategy, but should not get carried away, falling into the trap of exaggerated statements and of beautified financial figures in their reports. «Describe in clear and comprehensive terms the course of your company,» foreign institutionals told Greek executives. They added that when a decision is made to publish a report on the company, it should never happen at the same time as a corporate event, but instead allow for some time for conditions to mature. Foreign institutionals are not happy when they do not find transparency in enterprises and when corporate governance rules are not followed. «Provide ample information, draft a business plan and avoid announcing moves that may not materialize,» they advised and argued that Greek companies ought to invest in the Balkans as «this is your natural place for expansion.» Greek businesspeople present in London voiced their discontent about delays in investment projects in Greece and the image of Greek entrepreneurship. «We are behind in investments that should have been proceeding at a faster pace,» commented a Greek executive, while another suggested that «there is not enough senior managerial staff for key domains such as wind-power energy and telecommunications.» Info-Quest’s President Theodoros Fessas, buoyed by the deal with a French firm to enter the wind-power market, stated that his firm is in search of more sectors for investment, such as medical instruments and equipment. The president of the Athens Stock Exchange, Spyros Kapralos, who, apart from representing Hellenic Exchanges had responsibility for the entire event in London, said that the success of Greek Day lies in the presence of chairmen or CEOs of companies themselves at the event. He further stated that the stock market will continue to support any effort or initiative which strengthens Greek companies and the ASE.