News in Brief
Greece 2.0 – The European Commission formally endorsed Greece’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan – dubbed Greece 2.0 – opening the door to €57.5 billion worth of financing. Separately, the Commission also recognized the significant progress Greece has made in pursuing economic reforms, despite the coronavirus pandemic, as part of its latest financial review. Following the review, the Eurogroup cleared the release of €748 million in debt relief for the country.
Greek Bond − Greece’s debt management agency raised €2.5 billion with the reopening of the benchmark 10-year bond expiring in 2013 to take advantage of the favorable interest rate environment. The sale met with strong demand of more than €30 billion in offers and was priced at a yield of 0.9%. Greece continues to borrow at record low interest rates with the country’s five-year bond yield falling below zero for the first time.
Hellenikon Project –Greece’s Council of State gave the greenlight for work to proceed on the massive €8 billion redevelopment of the old Athens airport at Hellenikon, rejecting a third and final legal challenge to the project. The first tenders for construction are expected to be issued within the coming weeks, according to Lamda Development, the company that will hold the property rights to the 620 hectare site.
Athens Riviera − Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced plans for the regeneration of the Athens Riviera, the 70-km coast extending from the municipality of Faliron, near Athens, to Cape Sounion. The plan calls for the construction of a 22-km seaside pedestrian zone and bicycle path, as well as other public works, and complements the ongoing redevelopment of the Faliron delta and at Hellenikon.
Green Island – German automaker Volkswagen has begun supplying the first electric vehicles to Astypalaia, the first step in the Greek island’s transformation into a showcase for smart, green transport in the Mediterranean. The vehicles will be used by the police, coastguard and at the local airport, and will be followed by the replacement of all 1,500 conventionally fueled vehicles on the island.
Mondelez Investment – U.S. food giant Mondelez International has agreed to acquire Greek snack food company Chipita for approximately $2 billion, the latest in a series of deals reshaping Greece’s F&B sector. The Chicago-based company, which owns iconic brands like Oreo cookies, Trident gum and Toblerone chocolate, aims to utilize Chipita’s extensive Central and Eastern European distribution network to expand its presence in the region.
Papastratos Investment – Greece’s leading tobacco company Papastratos, an affiliate of Philip Morris International, announced it will invest €125 million to upgrade its production facilities at its factory in Aspropyrgos, west of Athens. The company previously invested €300 million in the unit in 2017 to expand production.
Medical Marijuana – The Greek Parliament has voted to legalize the cultivation and sale of medical marijuana in Greece. The new law lays out an integrated framework for the development of the cannabis industry, which is seen as a prospective growth sector that will create new jobs in agriculture and processing.