News in Brief
- Strategic Investments – Greece’s inter-ministerial committee on strategic investments has approved four new projects in the energy, real estate and tourism sectors worth a combined €761.4 million. Meanwhile, Enterprise Greece is currently reviewing a further 20 projects with a combined budget of €4.4 billion for designation as strategic investments. The investments include eight tourism projects, six in renewable energy, three industrial projects, two in the services sector and one major infrastructure project.
- Recovery Fund – Greece has received its first €4 billion disbursement of funds under the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Facility, representing 13% of Greece’s allotment under the program. The Greek national plan − dubbed Greece 2.0 – has received high marks from the European Commission and was among the first approved. Under the RFF, Greece plans to channel €57 billion into green energy projects, digitalization, health and education.
- Telecom Investment – United Group, a unit of UK-based private equity firm BC Partners, will acquire Wind Hellas, Greece’s third largest telecom operator, for a reported €950-€970 million and merge it with its Greek telecom and pay-TV provider Nova. The combined entity will have a total of 5 million subscribers, effectively making it the second largest telecommunications group in Greece.
- Amazon Agreement — The Greek government and Amazon Web Services have signed a Statement of Strategic Intent that will support the creation of a space hub in Greece as a key part of the country’s digital transformation goals. The agreement foresees Amazon providing support for the Greek aerospace community through various educational and research initiatives.
- Greek Tourism – Robust visitor arrivals this summer are pointing to a nascent recovery for Greece’s tourism sector despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. According to National Bank of Greece estimates, international arrivals to Greece in July were equal to two-thirds of record high 2019 levels. Preliminary August data on airport arrivals show the number of visitors this month could reach 80% of pre-pandemic levels.
- Vaccination Program – More than 5.5 million Greeks have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to official data, representing more than half the total population and roughly two-thirds of the adult population of Greece. More than 6 million have received at least one shot of the vaccine so far, with approximately 30,000 vaccinations currently being administered on a daily basis.
- Greek Banks – Greece’sfour leading banks have successfully passed the latest European Union-wide stress test with capital ratios comfortably exceeding minimum thresholds. In separate reports, credit ratings agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s noted the progress made by the banks in the past year in restructuring their loan portfolios, while Fitch indicated the ratio of bad debt held by the banks could drop to single digits by the end of next year.
- Olympic Complex – The Greek government announced a €43.5 million plan to revamp the 118 hectare Athens Olympic complex − site of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games – into a public park, sports and recreational facility. The project, which will also involve private sector participation, is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs and help revitalize the complex which had fallen into disuse.