ECONOMY

Global Finance seals SE Europe fund

Investment firm Global Finance’s eighth venture capital fund, Southeastern European Fund (SEEF), was oversubscribed, raising just over 350 million euros (the maximum sought) from existing and new Greek and foreign investors. These include all large Greek banks as well as shipping interests. SEEF was started in 2006 and is viewed by Global Finance as having a strategic position in Southeastern Europe, which is now a relatively integrated economic area of over 42 million inhabitants and gross domestic product in excess of 300 billion euros, having doubled in the last eight years. SEEF’s investment strategy targets dynamic companies with expansion plans in the broader region. The investments are implemented mainly through the acquisition of majority stakes, which include Greece’s Andromeda Fish Farms, Biofarma and business research firm ICAP. The region is characterized by strong entrepreneurial activity, as well as a common cultural and historical heritage, which implies a continuously increasing volume of trade, labor mobility and business deals in the form of mergers and acquisitions across borders. «The economies of Southeastern Europe register growth rates of between 4 and 8 percent, when the eurozone average is 2 percent. The entry of Romania and Bulgaria into the eurozone this year has accelerated changes and contributed to the lowering of risk, stabilizing banking systems and promoting the formation of a legal and regulatory framework of European specifications, as well as of the simplification of tax systems,» Global Finance said in a statement. The national markets of Southeastern Europe are still small, which is favorable for local players as they can grow and strengthen their positions, says Global Finance.