News in Brief – October 2022
- Greek Economy – Greece’s economy is projected to grow at a 5.3% this year and 2.1% next year, according to the draft 2023 budget by the Finance Ministry. The draft budget also projects that Greece will return to a primary budget surplus next year after a pandemic-induced deficit this year. The projections follow a series of better-than-expected growth data from the first and second quarter of the year and underpinned by a robust tourism season, record foreign direct investment and record exports.
- Greece 2.0 − Greece became one of the first European Union countries to formally submit a request for the second disbursement of its national Recovery & Resilience Plan funds after having completed its milestones and targets. The second tranche to be disbursed is for a total of €3.56 billion.
- Natural Gas – Greece and Bulgaria have begun commercial operations of the 182-km Interconnector Greece Bulgaria natural gas pipeline, a move that will help Bulgaria dramatically reduce its dependence on Russian natural gas. The IGB has a capacity of 3 billion cubic meters per year but there are plans to raise this to 5 bcm/year. Initially, the pipeline will transport 1 bcm of Azeri gas to Bulgaria.
- Port Privatization – Greece’s privatization agency, the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED), has named an Italian-Greek consortium as the preferred bidder for the 40-year concession to manage the northwestern port of Igoumenitsa. The consortium of Italy’s Grimaldi Euromed and Greece’s Minoan Lines offered €84 million for a 67% stake in the port, one of two major ports linking Greece with Italy.
- Tourism Investment – Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC has agreed to buy a majority stake in the Greece-based Sani/Ikos Group, one of the leading luxury resort operators in the Mediterranean. The deal values the company at €2.3 billion, representing one of the biggest acquisitions in Europe’s hospitality sector since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Hellenikon Project – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis inaugurated work on the €8 billion redevelopment of the old Athens airport at Hellenikon, marking the official start of the project. The massive project is expected to transform the Athens Riviera, boost GDP by 2.4 percentage points, create 70,000 jobs and bring €14 billion into state coffers.
- Tourism Update – At this month’s Resort & Residential Hospitality Forum in Portugal, Enterprise Greece CEO Marinos Giannopoulos noted the strong performance of Greek tourism and its positive investment prospects, while agency executives met with 35 leading hospitality investors from Spain, France, Italy and the UK.
- F&B Exporters − After a four-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the largest international food exhibition SIAL PARIS 2022 resumed this year with the participation of more than 300 Greek exporters of foods and beverages. The Greek participation, which was led by Enterprise Greece Chairman Ioannis Smyrlis, was the 5th largest national participation, reflecting the growing reach and popularity of Greek food products worldwide. The trade fair drew 7,000 exhibitors from 126 countries with this year focusing on the latest consumer trends: natural foods, environmentally and ethically responsible producers, and the pleasure we take from food.
- Athens Metro – The Greek capital region inaugurated the opening of three new subway stations that will provide a new, faster urban rail connection between the port area of Piraeus with the city center and the Athens International Airport. The latest expansion is expected to serve more than 100,000 passengers daily and is part of an ongoing project to extend the Athens Metro.