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Newsletter Ιούλιος 2011


Investments in Greece—Overcoming Obstacles

On June 24, 2011, the Office of the Government’s Vice President, in cooperation with Invest in Greece Agency,  hosted a one-day conference at the Divani Caravel Hotel in Athens on “Investments in Greece—Overcoming Obstacles.”

At the conference the initiatives to facilitate the investment process in Greece and the unblocking of investment schemes, by utilising the experience of the Inter- ministerial Development Committee and the Investment Unblocking working group, were presented.

Hundreds of businesspeople and investors attended. Keynote speakers were the Vice President of the Government Mr. Theodoros Pagalos, Alternate Minister of Development, Competitiveness and Shipping Mr. Harris Pamboukis and the Deputy Minister of Development, Competitiveness and Shipping Mr. Thanos Moraitis; Aristomenis (Aris) M. Syngros, Executive Chairman at Invest in Greece; Christos Alexakis, CEO at Invest in Greece, and Yannis Retsas, Head of Investor Services Unit at Invest in Greece.

Some of the key messages delivered during the event:

Vice President of the Government Mr. Theodoros Pangalos

“An increase of competitiveness and productivity, better business organisation and improvement of product dissemination methods in the markets, especially in foreign markets, and information on foreign technologies, all require investments, and investments require specific conditions that will move the investment from international, global markets, to this location, our national economy.

“What are these conditions? First of all certainty, order, stability and security. These are the minimum requirements, understandable to everyone. Second, good conditions for profitability, and this is an area where overall economic trends play the main role. It is clear that an investment will be directed more easily where there is less taxation, where it is possible to handle profits more freely, where it is possible to have the best conditions for the lowest production costs. Third, the ease with which one can make an investment, namely dealing with bureaucratic, procedural and other requirements, obstacles, and overregulation. This is the area which we activated in the Vice-Presidency, because people who struggled to make an investment were too often caught between two or three ministries.

“Investments achieved after the intervention of the investment unblocking office, which works with Invest in Greece, co-organiser of today’s event, total 15 billion Euros. These two institutions working together managed to solve many problems.”

Aristomenis (Aris) M. Syngros, Executive Chairman, Invest in Greece

Even though FDI in 2010 was at the same level as 2005 we cannot be satisfied with these results. We have a long road ahead of us to create and build a friendly and competitive investment environment and attract the sufficient amount of investment for strong and sustainable growth. To this end we remain vigilant.

Christos Alexakis, CEO, Invest in Greece

“Economic growth is a condition of national survival. The economic and political condition of the country shapes the business environment and therefore may be an incentive or disincentive for investment.

Every investor invests where the returns on investment continue to exist and are greater than the cost of implementation. The yield is the main variable that investors evaluate to decide whether they will go ahead or not. Any factor affecting the variable is of particular importance and policies must be such that the return on investment will be influenced positively. Furthermore, modern investors quantify and evaluate, another variable—risk. The investment risk is measured and contrasted with the expected return and investors, depending on their profile, either accept or reject projects. What investors in no case want is non-quantifiable risk. What they do not want is uncertainty. The elimination of uncertainty, the setting of risk at acceptable levels and the creation of conditions for high performance is essentially the creation of an investments friendly environment.

“At Invest in Greece we have recorded an increase in investor interest for the country and, in some areas, the country presents significant competitive advantages, such as energy and tourism.

“Our exports are registering an upward trend. This trend should not seem so strange. In fact it is an affirmation of basic economic principles. High risk is consistent with high expected returns, provided the risk is calculable. The sense of risk leads to more efficient practices and better management of resources.

“It is imperative to change the negative image of our country abroad. In this effort, and towards a uniform image of Greece, a working group was established by the Ministry of Development, Competitiveness and Shipping with participants Invest in Greece, GNTO (Greece National Tourism Organisation), HEPO (Hellenic Foreign Trade Board), and representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to create a uniform national brand.

Yannis Retsas, Head of Investor Services Unit, Invest in Greece and a member of the Vice Presidency’s Investment Unblocking Working Group

The support of investors who have already been established, or have a documented intention to locate in Greece, is today’s priority, because it has immediate results. It is going to be a Herculean task to radically change the institutional framework as was noted by the ministers. But this takes time, just as it takes time to change the culture that governs public administration and society. These days, however, time is precious, there is a strong need for targeted interventions to immediately validate and accelerate mature investments.

“We at Invest in Greece constantly see how the support of mature investment projects plays a catalytic role in attracting new investments from abroad.

“Even if a few large investment projects are unjustifiably not implemented, this will deter dozens of other new, foreign investments. On the other hand, if we can overcome obstacles and continue to realise some significant investments, we will send a double message to the international investment community—that our country remains attractive for investments and that something has finally changed in the operation of the state.

A Dynamic Private Sector
A New Formula 1 Racetrack project, significant buyouts, newly established businesses in Greece, and a nationwide initiative on entrepreneurship mark dynamic activity in the private sector.

New Formula 1 Racetrack

Formula 1 Racetrack Investment Approved
A new investment to build and operate an international standard Formula 1 racetrack in the Achaia provence, near Patras, has been approved.

Soon, Greece will be home to a new Formula 1 racetrack, with the hopes of creating a world-class site that will host Formula 1 races, motorcycling world championship super bike races, and kart championships. The site will be able to accommodate other category races as well as other events.

The total value of the investment is expected to be to 94.6 million Euros and the subsidy from the Greek State amounts to 30.571%, or 28.92 million Euros.

The project, 20 kilometers southeast of the port city of Patras, which has direct sea connections to Italy, will cover area of 928.5 acres. Completion is estimated in 36 months.

The company responsible for the investment is Racing Track Patras SA. Shareholders, totaling of 411 natural or legal persons, including the Region of Western Greece, the Municipality of Patras, the Achaia Chamber, the Municipality of Farron, the Local Union of Municipalities and Communities of Achaia, the Achaean Cooperative Bank.

The project is expected to create 497 new jobs and add significant benefits to tourism development in the region.

New Photovoltaic Park
Positive Energy, one of the largest EPC Contractors in South-East Europe, completed for the company Solar Gate, the construction of a 2ΜWp photovoltaic park in the Prefecture of Lakonia in Greece. The operation of the plant will have substantial environmental benefits including the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 2,600 tonnes per year. This is the same amount of carbon dioxide that would be removed from the atmosphere each year by a forest of 130,000 trees via photosynthesis. Positive Energy was the main EPC contractor being responsible for the project design, the supply of equipment and the construction of the project.

On behalf of Positive Energy, Mr. Konstantinos Mavros, CEO of the Company, stated: "We are very pleased to announce today the completion of this important project. The Greek PV market is rapidly growing with more than 150 GWp installed in 2010 and 80 MWp installed within the first quarter of 2011 which can lead to annual market of 300-350 MWp. Greece has set ambitious PV targets for 2020 and we are more than happy that our large project portfolio is a valuable contribution to the market’s continuous development."

On behalf of Solar Gate, Mr. Stelios Georgioudakis, CEO of the Company, stated: "We are very happy to announce today the completion of our project not only for its investment profits but also for its significant social and environmental benefits. We saw -and still see- great potentials for the Greek PV sector in the coming years and given this opportunity I would like to encourage investors to proceed with their investments within the country."

Torux Now in Greece
Torux, a prime IT consultancy providing Financial Risk Mamagement and Project & Asset Valuation services, has established a presence in the Greek market.

Torux specialises in the implementation and customisation of Risk (used by Investment Banks) and Value (used by Hedge Funds). Their main focus is in the management, business analysis and development of Toolkit/API projects. Torux also specialises in Project & Asset Valuation and Financial Risk Management services in the industries of Shipping, Mining, Oil & Gas, Agriculture and Real Estate, where they apply advanced computational techniques from their financial derivatives pricing expertise.
Torux has offices in London, Pune (India) and, now, Athens, with a total strength of 12 permanent employees and 11 affiliated contractors. Their clients include ING, Barclays Capital, Royal Bank of Canada, AXA, New Star Asset Management, Northview Services, Arqaam Capital and others. Additional information at: www.torux.net.

Watson Pharmaceuticals Acquires Greece’s Specifar
Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE: WPI) and Greece’s Specifar Pharmaceuticals S.A. jointly announced that Watson has acquired the privately-held multinational generic pharmaceutical developer, manufacturer and marketer for  400 million Euros ($562 million) in cash and certain contingent consideration.  The transaction gives Watson a strong branded-generic commercial presence in the 6 billion Euro Greek pharmaceutical market. Specifar's pipeline includes a generic tablet version of Nexium® (esomeprazole), which could launch in certain European markets as early as the fourth quarter of 2011.

Specifar, with revenues of approximately 85 million Euros for 2010, operates two core businesses. The Company is a third-party product developer, with approximately 400 marketing authorisations licensed to third parties for sale in 36 countries, predominantly in Europe. Specifar has eight products currently filed in the EU and additional products in development. The Company's development business, which operates internationally, accounts for more than 70% of total revenues.

The Specifar group is in the top five in the Greek branded-generic market, with a portfolio of more than 30 products, including internally developed and in-licensed products sold through a sales force of 170 employees. Specifar also markets products in Greece under the Alet Pharmaceuticals brand through a separate 55 representative sales force.

Specifar currently manufactures generic pharmaceutical products in Athens with capacity for approximately 1 billion doses annually. A new state-of-the-art facility is currently under construction that will provide capacity to manufacture an additional 3 to 5 billion doses, further enhancing Watson's global supply chain.

"We are very pleased that Specifar has become part of our global organisation. We look forward to working with the management team to continue Specifar's growth and to expanding the opportunities for success within Watson," said Paul Bisaro, Watson's President and CEO.

"The strategic significance of this combination is substantial. Watson will now have a powerful product development capability recognised throughout the industry for its strong track record of successfully launching products in key European markets, supported by an accomplished R&D and regulatory capability. The development business will continue to develop and market products to third parties under the Specifar name and now will also develop products for Watson's commercial groups worldwide. In addition, we intend to expand Specifar's development capabilities and create a center of excellence for product development in international markets. We also believe that Specifar's European management expertise and existing business relationships will support Watson's current and future commercial expansion in European countries.

“Greece's generic product utilisation is currently one of the lowest in Europe, providing us with a significant opportunity to capitalise on growth in this market.

"Finally, the Esomeprazole tablet opportunity represents a significant upside potential for Watson. As there are certain variables surrounding this product, we have structured the esomeprazole opportunity as an earn-out allowing Specifar's former owners to participate in any potential commercial upside from this product," Bisaro concluded.

Specifar is a multinational generic pharmaceuticals company with its headquarters in Greece and representative offices in Europe. Specialising in development, production, distribution and sales & marketing, Specifar commits to delivering high-quality and affordable medicines to patients and its customers. Specifar employs approximately 460 people worldwide and has obtained more than 600 Marketing Authorisations in Europe, South Africa, Canada, the Middle East and Asia.

McArthurGlen Group: Committed to Greece
McArthurGlen Group reiterated its commitment to a 100-mlllion-euro investment in Greece and said it was examining new investment opportunities in the country. Gary Bond, the group’s chief executive, speaking during a news conference on the occasion of the opening of a new discount mall in Spata, eastern Attica, said McArthurGlen was confident of the success of its investment, saying the business model of growth and operation of the new shopping center would not be affected by the economic crisis.

McArthurGlen operates designer outlet stores in the UK and throughout Europe.

Startup Greece Launched
Startup Greece is an information, networking and collaboration space, aimed at creating a new generation of entrepreneurs in Greece.

It is supported by the Ministry of Development, Competitiveness and Shipping and the Greek Government in collaboration with communities of young entrepreneurs.

According to the official website: “Startup Greece invites citizens, organisations, associations, research institutes, social and economic entities, to share their valuable knowledge and experience and add value to the initiative with their people and ideas.

“Through Startup Greece, you can communicate your ideas, draw information, search for best practices, draw inspiration from success, learn from failure, meet people from Greece and abroad, network with corporations and associations, find an event, attend a seminar, set up a creative workshop in your field of work. All you have to do is register here.

“If you are a public or private body, you may express your interest in joining the Startup Greece Initiative here. Select "Join the Initiave" and we will be contacting you to guide you through the process.”

For more information: http://www.startupgreece.gov.gr/