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Newsletter Οκτώβριος 2010

SPEAK OUT

Greece’s Green Future



Alec Mally, a member of the BOD of Blue White Private Equity Fund, discusses how this new investment tool targets Greece’s huge green potential.




Please provide us with an overview of the Blue White Funds.

The Blue White Funds, now launching in Greece, are summed up clearly in our vision statement. The Funds will work “To lead Greece into the future by developing climate-friendly enterprises, based on Greece’s comparative advantages, while fostering social responsibility and changes in national attitudes.”  It sounds ambitious but the multi-dimensional approach we will be taking is clear. We will make investment decisions to align the Blue White Funds with companies where progress on all of these development axes is possible. Organisationally, we are registered under the State of Maine, as a Limited Liability Company. We believe that organisation under US Securities laws will enhance investor confidence and ensure transparency.

Why are you launching the Fund now?

As organisational work on Blue White began, we felt that Greece’s significant comparative advantage in climate friendly businesses/energy was being drowned out by all of the “financial disaster reporting” emerging from Athens. We set out to design a small, lean investment vehicle that could promote investment in these sectors even while other parts of the economy and regulatory bureaucracy were facing time-consuming reorganisation and downsizing.  And of course our plans are that this lean and efficient investment vehicle can be adapted as the economy emerges from recession. So we began planning to attract fresh investment from those who understand what Greece offers and to funnel it into local enterprises that show real promise, possibly with our management and technological expertise added to the mix. As a hybrid investment vehicle set up under US laws, we believe that Blue White can ensure confidence in investment in specific enterprises in Greece even when the overall financial reports are skeptical.

How do you assess interest in Green Investment?

It doesn’t hurt to have a Prime Minister who declares his support for the green economy and “green development” in practically every speech.

The Greek Government has worked hard to funnel domestic and EU resources into new power generation technologies and is steadily overhauling legislation that produced heavy regulatory burdens.

Domestic banks are opening “green banking” centers as well. Even so, we note that project-financing is at a standstill and Blue White has catalogued a large number of projects ready for immediate financial support, as well as technological and managerial upgrades.

What kinds of projects does Blue White target?

The overall strategy we are using for the Blue White Fund concept would best be characterised as “climate-friendly.”  At this point, we have aggregated more than 180 million Euros in such projects that cover a wide gamut:

Wind Parks
Solar Parks
Hydro-electric Plants
Agricultural Biomass Plants
Hybrid Desalination Plants
Hybrid Greenhouses

So you can see the range is quite wide, from energy production to food production to high-tech water utilities. The kinds of technologies/ventures we will be funding are extensively in use globally, but are especially important in the Greek context, with such a large island archipelago and such extensive resources in wind, solar and hydro-power. 

What is the interest by foreign investors?

The fund-raising stage has just begun, and we have already increased our capitalisation target from 2 million Euro to 20 million Euro before commencing initial operations. Potential exists to increase this to 100 million Euro, based on some of our recent contacts with institutional investors. There is strong interest in the overseas Greek community as well. We want to be extremely careful in the pre-launch phase, as we are balancing the need to steadily build investor confidence with our desire to keep this a hands-on style people’s fund, appropriate to the management and international expertise of the Blue White Funds’ management team.

It has been some time since I personally observed such active investor interest in Greece—going back to my pre-2004 days as a US Embassy officer—because I think some segments of the market understand what Greece has to offer right now in these sectors if the right risk-reduced investment vehicle could be found.

The Blue White Funds are here.