FDI—An Impressive Achievement
One of the most impressive achievements of the significant reforms Greece has enacted during the last three years has been the dynamic increase in foreign direct investment. Gross FDI inflows in 2006 totaled 6.995 billion EURO, while net inflows reached 4.275 billion EURO, up from 487 million EURO in 2005, a noteworthy 10-fold increase.
It is important to underline that a large share—about 60%—of the FDI total was directed toward new business establishment, mergers, and acquisitions, and the remainder toward loans and the purchase of real estate. In addition, 700 million EURO of this total represents reinvested earnings, a sure sign of confidence among investors and a strong message of their intent to remain in Greece for the long term. Of the total, the amount of loans, at 1.899 billion EURO, is a positive sign of investor confidence, indicating a strong willingness to commit funds for projected revenues and growth.
During this period, outflows totaled 2.719 billion EURO, leaving an impressive 4.27 billion net flow. Again, it is important to stress that a significant share of this amount was for working capital in Greek subsidiary companies in Southeast Europe, in which case Greece is fulfilling its important objective of a ‘bridge function’ role.
New Venture Plans
Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling announced the signing of a pre-agreement with The Coca-Cola Company with the aim to developing a three-party joint venture with illycaffe SpA of Italy. The joint venture will be involved with the production, sale, and distribution of ready-for-consumption coffee in countries with activities by Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling. Talks over the framework of the joint venture are expected to be completed by early 2008.
Greek-Americans: “Invest in Greece”
The head of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged the new generation of Greek-American businesspeople to base their operations in Greece, taking advantage of the access offered by Greece to all markets in Southeastern Europe. Constantinos Mihalos, addressing a symposium in Washington D.C. on "Meeting the Needs of Young Greek Americans: Opportunities and Perspectives" said the Greek government has promoted a package of measures that has established Greece as a land of opportunity for investment. Mr. Mihalos said that businesses owned by Greek Americans could base their operations in Greece, taking advantage of a network of more than 4,000 Greek enterprises operating in the wider Southeast European region. He also called for closer cooperation in the export of Greek products and services to the United States and said the Greek state was supporting such cooperation.
The symposium was held in Washington D.C., November 16-18, under the auspices of the Greek Ambassador to the US, Alexandros Mallias. It was organised by the Hellenic American National Council and the American Hellenic Institute at the premises of Georgetown University.