Greece’s foreign direct investment takes a plunge

Greece had the second-worst record in the outflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the European Union last year, according to Eurostat data. The outflow reached 212 million euros, against a net inflow of 1.1 billion euros in 2004. At the same time, Greeks invested 767 million euros abroad in 2005, against 489 million euros. The net FDI outflow last year was due to the fact that Dutch-based Aramco sold its stake in Motor Oil Holdings (MOH). At the same time, however, MOH sold other shares, worth 318 million euros, to non-residents. As a result there was no upset in the country’s overall financial balance of payments. Greek direct investment abroad, on the other hand, mainly reflects expansion moves by domestic firms, especially banks, in neighboring Balkan countries. The most important of these moves were Alpha Bank’s acquisition of Serbia’s Jubanka (152 million euros), mobile operator Cosmote’s share capital increase in its Romanian subsidiary (120 million euros) and Alpha Bank’s participation in the share capital increase of Alpha Bank Romania (66 million).