Feast on Olympus: investors are returning to Greece
In the summer of 2017, international rating agencies Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch raised Greece’s credit ratings with a positive outlook. Analysts state: the country’s economy is recovering from the crisis. Their optimism is shared by other experts:
According to IMF forecasts, by the end of 2017 Greece’s economy will grow by 1.8%, while the EU forecasts growth of 1.6% in 2017 and 2.5% in the next two years;
according to the Greek Statistical Service Elstat, if in 2013 the unemployment rate reached a peak of 27.8%, then in August 2017 it fell to 20.6%. According to EU forecasts, the number of unemployed in Greece will continue to decline and reach 18.7% in 2019;
the EU estimates that Greece’s national debt will decline from 180.8% of GDP in 2016 to 170.1% in 2019;
in July 2017, for the first time in three years, Greece placed five-year government bonds worth 3 billion euros with a yield of 4.625% per annum. This means that Greece is learning to do without external financial assistance, replacing it with market capital.
About 80% of Greek GDP is provided by the services sector. Today, Greece is experiencing a tourist boom: the number of tourist arrivals from abroad increased from 14.9 million in 2009 to 24.8 million in 2016. According to the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC), in 2017 this number will be 26 million and by 2027 will grow to 47 million
Property in Greece
According to the WTTC, over the past 5 years, the contribution of tourism to Greek GDP, taking into account inflation, increased by 23% from 28.5 billion euros in 2012 to 35 billion euros in 2017. Experts predict that in 10 years the figure will increase by another 56% and will be about 54.7 billion euros. Analysts agree: today tourism is the main driver of the Greek economy.
Large foreign investors began to come to Greece. According to the agency Enterprise Greece, the net volume of direct investment from abroad since 2010 (when the minimum value was reached after the crisis) has grown more than 10 times: from 249 million euros to 2.8 billion euros in 2016.
In the logistics sector
The growing number of tourists stimulates the development of transport infrastructure. In addition, Greece is extremely well located in terms of trade logistics: the country is located in the south-east of Europe and connects it with Africa and Asia. Greece has 46 airports, more than 100 seaports and an extensive network of roads and railways.
In 2016, the Chinese company COSCO, one of the largest port operators in the world, acquired a 51% stake in the port of Piraeus for 280.5 million euros. Five years after signing the agreement, the company will receive another 16% of the shares worth 88 million euros. During this time, COSCO will have to invest 300 million euros in the modernization of ship-repair assets and logistics. This deal is another step towards the creation of a “new silk road” between Asia and Southern Europe, an ambitious Chinese project in which more than 40 countries are taking part.
Piraeus – the largest passenger port in Europe
Piraeus is the largest passenger port in Europe. Photo: neufal54 / Pixabay
According to Port Economics, maritime profits account for about 6.5% of Greece’s GDP. Therefore, the deal with COSCO is of great importance for Greece as a whole. The size of payments to the state as a result of privatization was revised from 2% to 3.5% of consolidated income. As shown by the financial statement of the operator Piraeus for the first half of 2017, its revenues amounted to 52 million euros – by 12.6% more than in the same period in 2016. The new port managing director, Fu Cheng Qiu, said: “Already in the first year, we see revenue begin to recover, costs are optimized, and profits are rising. The first to win in this situation are the employees of the company and Greece itself. ”
According to Reuters, if in 2016 Piraeus container turnover amounted to 3.7 million TEU (TEU is a unit of measurement for cargo equal to the volume of one 20-foot container), then by 2018 COSCO intends to increase this figure by 35% and bring it to 5 million TEU.
Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane
In September 2017, the Italian Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, the third largest railway company in Europe, completed the purchase of 100% of the shares of the Greek railway operator TrainOSE for 45 million euros.
The purchase of TrainOSE will allow, based on the decision of the European Commission, to write off the company’s debt – more than 700 million euros
The purchase of TrainOSE will allow, based on the decision of the European Commission, to write off the company’s debt – over 700 million euros. Photo: Panos_Karas / Depositphotos
In 2016, TrainOSE transported 15.6 million passengers, and the company’s revenue before interest, taxes and depreciation amounted to 1.1 billion euros, which is 40% less than in 2015. According to FS CEO Renato Mazzoncini, his company’s goal is to increase TrainOSE annual revenue from 1 billion to 4 billion euros by 2026. According to media reports, FS calls this purchase “strategic” because it plans to privatize the Greek Rosco railway repair company and invest in the railway public transport system in Athens and Thessaloniki in the future.