News in Brief – January 2023
- Innovation Hub — Chubb, the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, announced it will launch a new technology services center in Thessaloniki in early 2023. The center, the company’s third outside the U.S. and it’s first in Europe, will drive initiatives in areas like intelligent process automation, machine learning, cloud, and data analytics, as well as cybersecurity and modernization of infrastructure systems.
- Power Plant – Construction of a new 840 MW, natural gas fired, combined cycle power plant has begun near the city of Alexandroupolis in northern Greece. The project, which is being led by Greece’s Copelouzos Group, will be able to export electricity to neighboring Balkan countries, such as Bulgaria, North Macedonia and even Serbia. The power plant is expected to be operational by the last quarter of 2025.
- Renewable Energy – Greece has presented a new National Energy and Climate plan that sharply increases the country’s targets for renewable energy capacity. Under the new plan Greece is aiming for 28GW of installed capacity by 2030, up from 19GW set previously, and with the aim of raising the contribution from renewable sources to 80% of the country’s energy mix.
- Resort Project – Property investor Grivalia Hospitality plans to build a €280 million luxury hotel, resort and residential project on the island of Megaloniso in the Petalioi island group off the coast of Evia. The company, which has the backing of Canada’s Fairfax Financial, is invested in seven other luxury projects around Greece including the landmark Asteria Glyfada complex that is now being re-developed.
- Property prices – Greek property prices accelerated further last year, according to real estate website Spitogatos. Overall, sales prices for residential properties were up 7.2% on a nationwide average in 2022, compared with a 6% increase in 2021. Fourth quarter data also showed buoyant price increases in most areas of the country, with prices around Greater Athens rising between 8% and 14% compared with a year earlier.
- Thermal Spa – Greece’s privatization agency has awarded a 40-year operating concession for a disused hotel and spa at Kamena Vourla, a step in the country’s efforts to revive its mostly neglected natural thermal springs. The winning bidder, a joint venture of Galini Hotel Tourism and Commercial Enterprises S.A. and Staritem Investments Plc, will pay a one-off payment of €1,050,000, an annual rent of €380,000, and implement mandatory investments to upgrade the property.
- Enterprise Greece – Vicky Loizou has been appointed as Secretary General for International Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In her new role, Ms. Louizou will serve as Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of Enterprise Greece. She replaces outgoing Secretary General Ioannis Smyrlis.
- Synergassia Program − A new OECD study of foreign investment flows names Enterprise Greece’s Synergassia program as a case study in promoting regional development. The program connects foreign investors, Greek exporters and local authorities to promote development in the various regions of Greece and features diplomatic missions to various parts of the country.
- Regional Development – The Greek government has unveiled a €6.8 billion program for the development of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. The program includes 360 projects that foresees upgrading rail and road networks, as well as investments in port and energy infrastructure through 2030. Separately, the government this month also unveiled a €390 million masterplan for the reconstruction of northern Evia, which was ravaged by devastating forest fires in the summer of 2021.