Athens Investment Summit 2016 Conclusions
The first Athens Investment Summit took place at Grande Bretagne Hotel Athens on Friday, 26 February 2016. The AIS is a practitioner-oriented conference on the opportunities and risks of investing in Greece along with an investment exhibition. Its goal is to provide a factual view of economic developments, investment potential and actual investor experiences in Greece.
The one-day event was attended by some 200 participants and brought together major international and domestic financial institutions, venture capital firms, private equity funds and individual investors, with company executives, entrepreneurs, investment professionals and project sponsors.
At the Athens Investment Summit Conference, presentations were made by leading investors in Greece, including the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Open Fund, DECA Investments, National Bank of Greece Business Seeds, EDF Energies Nouvelles, Pharmathen and others.
The conference began with presentations on the Prospects for Economic Recovery followed by a session and panel discussion on different forms of Financing Investments in Greece.
Is Greece the next turnaround story?
Mr. Velissarios Dotsis, CEO Enterprise Greece
Greece can be the next turn-around story. This message was reinforced by Mr. Nikolos Agaliotis, Director General of Strategic Investments and Ms. Nikoletta Bitouni, Head of the 1st Special Spatial Development Plan of Strategic Investments (ESCHASE) under the Hellenic Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism. Together with Enterprise Greece, the Interministerial Committee for Strategic Investments aims to act as a one-stop-shop for the approval, implementation and monitoring of large scale investment projects under fast track. The Transadriatic Pipeline is an example among 10 large scale energy investment projects with a fast licensing procedure to be implemented between 2015 and 2017.
Greek Economic and Political Review
Mr. Philip Ammerman, Managing Partner at Navigator Consulting Group
Philip Ammerman pointed out that Greece has a lower effective interest rate on its public debt that the United States of America, and longer maturities. He suggested that there are at least € 100 billion of relatively simple investment opportunities available, and that an investment promotion campaign to develop these would have a major impact on economic activity in Greece.
The Greek Structural Adjustment Programme
Dr. Jens Bastian, Independent Consultant, former Task Force Member
Greece is currently in its sixth year under a structural adjustment program and entering its third phase. A positive review could result in a rapid turn-around of international sentiment. This would be helped by the inclusion of Greek government bonds and corporates under the EU's Quantitative Easing Programme (QE).
The Greek Privatisation Programme
Dr. George Pagoulatos, Professor of European Politics and Economy at the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB)
Privatisation contains a number of problem areas but is being implemented. There are numerous privatisation opportunities available, but extensive preparation is required, especially after the tender is awarded.
Second Plenary Session on Financing Investments in Greece
The second plenary session on Financing Investments in Greece was moderated by Ms. Virginia Murray, Partner at Watson Farley & Williams.
A cross-section of investors and institutions presented on sources of finance for Greece. These included the EBRD, EIB, DECA Investments, the Open Fund and Venturefriends. The latter three are domestic institutions actively looking for investment opportunities that fit their credit criteria. The EBRD and EIB are already important lenders and will be rapidly increasing and upscaling their commitments to Greece, particularly once the "Juncker Plan" is finalised.
Mr. Nicholas Jennett, Head, Investment Team for Greece, European Investment Bank (EIB)
Ms. Sabina Dziurman, EBRD Director for Greece and Cyprus
Mr. Nicos John Koulis, CEO, DECA Investments
Mr. Georgios Kasselakis, Partner and Co-Founder, the Openfund
Mr. Apostolos Apostolakis, Partner and Co-Founder, Venturefriends
Afternoon Thematic Sessions
The afternoon thematic sessions were focused on investments and funding for specific industry sectors, including Tourism, Property, Industry & Processing, Start-ups and Technology, European Union Funding in Greece as well as Investment Structuring in Cyprus. The conference was concluded by a final session on Lessons learned from Strategic Investments in Greece, presenting case studies of large-scale investment projects in the country.
Nikolaos Kostikas of Watson Farley & Williams gave a detailed presentation on the technical aspects of due diligence for hotel and tourism investments in Greece. This was a good representation of both the complexities of investing in Greece as well as the fact that highly skilled practitioners are available to support the process.
Natalia Strafti of Grivalia Properties SA presented on trends in commercial property in Greece. A key finding is that the market has probably reached its nadir, and growth in new projects and property prices may be anticipated.
Final Session on Lessons learned from Strategic Investments in Greece
Loukas Lazarakis of EDF Energies Nouvelles Hellas presented on the renewable energy investments implemented by EDF EN in Greece, including a highly interesting hybrid project planned for Crete. The Malia Hybrid Power Plant on the island of Crete will consist 4 wind farms with a total capacity between 120 and 166 MW. Moreover, it will include a pumped storage power plant of 75 MW of guaranteed production capacity and 100 MW of pumping capacity.
Alexis Anastassiou of Zoniro gave an inspiring presentation of the Kilada Hills development, comprising a golf course, hotels, residences, etc. The resort stretches over 208 hectares with 119 hectares planned for real estate development. The overall budget amounts to €418 million. This project was fast-tracked by Enterprise Greece and the Greek government, resulting in a 3 month approval process as a Strategic Investment and a total approval by the Council of State within 21 months. This is another positive indication of Greece's openness to investments that meet licensing criteria.
The AIS Exhibition hosted 15 exhibitors, including Greek start-ups that are currently looking for funding: Yallou, Nannuka, Autofire and reportbrain. Other exhibitors included organizations that form an important part of the entrepreneurial and investment ecosystem in Greece, such as the Franco-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Federation of Hellenic Associations of Young Entrepreneurs and the State’s investment agency Enterprise Greece.
Sponsors and Supporters
The AIS 2016 was sponsored by Navigator Consulting Group, Watson, Farley & Williams and EDF Energies Nouvelles Hellas S.A. Successful Business co-organised the event.
Supporting Organisations included:
Hellenic Association of AE and EPE Companies
Athens Chamber of Commerce & Industry
British-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce
European Consulting Network
Federation of Hellenic Associations of Young Entrepreneurs
French-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Hellenic-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry
International Chamber of Commerce – Greek National Committee
Piraeus Chamber of Commerce & Industry
SEV – Hellenic Federation of Enterprises
The Cube Athens
Media Sponsors were:
European Business Review