Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis addresses Capital Link forum on Greek economy
New York.- Greece constitutes the ideal business partner for the American businesses which wish to invest and participate in the economic growth of the broader region of southeast Europe and the Mediterranean, Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis underlined on Friday, directing himself to entrepreneurs who observed the sessions of the “Capital Link” forum on the Greek economy.
Ambassador of US in Greece, Mr. Charles Ries, and the Ambassador of Greece in US, Mr. Alexandros Mallias, opened the forum. This yearʼs main theme was the important reforms taking place today in the whole field of economy. Examples of that kind are privatizations, new initiatives like the one for private and public sector cooperation as where as entrepreneurial and investment opportunities in Greece and Southeastern Europe in general. The event attracted more than 500 selected participants from the elite of American businessmen and executives. Economic stability through European Union participation, continuous fiscal
“By investing in Greece, one can take part in the greater opportunities that are emerging in the greater region. Greece is in many ways the ideal business partner for American companies wishing to participate in the economic progress of Southeastern Europe”, said the Finance Minister.
Alogoskoufis extended a special invitation to the Greek Americans, acknowledging the mistreatments of the past.
“I would like to take this opportunity to invite the Greek-American community to have another try in Greece, I realize that there have been disappointments in the past, but things are changing in Greece and things are changing in the region”.
George Alogoskoufis was the key note speaker during a luncheon sponsored by John Catsimatidis, at the Capital Link Forum. Capital Linkʼs President Nicholas Bornozis and John Katsimatidis introduced Mr Alogoskoufis.
The Finance Minister made extensive reference to the important progressive steps of the Greek economy, which, as he stated, “were made after careful implementation of the government’s reform programme and not by chance.”
“After more than two years of consistent application, the reform policies of our government have led to verifiable results that have considerably exceeded initial anticipations.
The Greek economy has been transformed into a more open and definitely more competitive environment. An environment friendlier to investment and entrepreneurship. As a result, there has been the significant increase of foreign investment in Greece over the last year”.
The most significant development, according to Alogoskoufis, was the entry of Credit Agricole, into Greek banking system last August through the privatization of the Commercial Bank, in addition to the entry of a big French insurance company through the purchase of Alpha Insurance Company.
“Both events are marking a turning point in the inflow of foreign investments. Equally significant, is the continuously increasing interest of several foreign companies in fields ranging from mining to energy and from the service sector to the development of real estate. All the above are concrete evidence that the Greek economy is moving forward”, he said.
He stressed that “Greece henceforth constitutes the steam-engine of growth of the broader region of more than 160 million inhabitants.”
The Greek finance minister said that “the rise of exports, the reduction of unemployment to 8.8 per cent from 11.3 per cent in March 2004, the increase of tourism, the improvement of competitiveness of the Greek economy by eight positions in the international ranking and fiscal adjustment in the framework of the regulations of the European Union (EU), are some of the achievements of the Greek economy.”
Access to a network of more than 1,000 banks in SE Europe, the cooperation prospects with as many as 3,500 Greek enterprises doing business in the area and the participation in infrastructure works also underway in the area, are some of the comparative advantages investing in Greece entails, claimed Alogoskoufis.
He added that “we are continuing the agenda of privatisations, with the Hellenic Telecommunications Oganisation (OTE) seeking a strategic partner, but also further privatisations in the banking sector and the transport sector.”
Earlier the Greek Finance Minister had made a detailed reference to the progress of the countryʼs economy, making it clear that all steps taken resulted from a well-thought-out implementation of the Governmentʼs reform programme. He also noted that Greece has assumed a leading role aiming to promote growth in the wider area.
Alogoskoufis assured that the Greek Government has no intention of slowing down, pointing out that the privatization programme will further include both the banking and transport sector.
The economic environment has radically changed, said Alogoskoufis, extending a new invitation to investors whose past efforts had fallen flat.
The factors and prospects of Greece’s modern role as a gateway for the whole of southeast Europe was presented by Information Secretary General Panos Livadas on Friday, speaking on the theme “Greece in the new era of extroversion”, at the 8th annual forum of “Capital Link”.
Livadas referred to all the elements which determine and secure the viability of Greece’s role in the broader region, noting the “unique co-existence of impressive macro-economic magnitudes, which are characterised by high rates of growth and the important reduction of the budget deficit, of inflation and unemployment.”
Livadas underlined Greece’s progress in many economic sectors, such as shipping, energy infrastructures and tourism.
Presentations were made by the following
The Chairman of Lykourezos Law Offices, Attorney Mr. Alexandros Lykourezos
• The Deputy Governor of Agricultural Bank of Greece, Mr. Panos Varangis,
• The Chairman of the Greek Postal Savings Bank, Mr. Panos Tsoupidis,
• The CEO of the Bank of Attica, Mr. Tryphon Kollintzas,
• The CEO of Hellenic Petroleum, Mr. Panos Cavoulacos,
• The Chairman of ΟΤΕ – Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Mr. Panagis Vourloumis,
• The CEO of Tsakos Energy Navigation (TEN) Limited, Mr. Nikolas P. Tsakos
• The CEO of Titan Cement Group, Mr. Dimitri Papalexopoulos,
• The Chairman & CEO of Lamda Development, Mr. Apostolos Tamvakakis,
• The Chairman of the Board of the Hellenic Public Real Estate Corporation, Dr. Petros P. Papageorgiou,
• The Group Financial Services Manager of Neochimiki Group, Mr. John Papavassiliou,
• The Investor Relations Officer, OPAP, Mr. Nikos Polymenakos
• The CEO of the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board, Mr. Panagiotis Drossos.
ALOGOSKOUFIS VISITS WALL STREET
Hellenic Exchanges SA, the operator of the Athens Stock Exchange, the Athens Derivatives Exchange and NEXA, on Friday began a road-show in the United States.
The five-day event includes meetings with institutional investors in New York, New Jersey, Boston and Chicago. During the roadshow, Hellenic Exchanges’ management will have one-on-one meetings with a total 45 institutional funds with activities in the Greek capital market.
Hellenic Exchange also participated in the 8th Annual Capital Link Forum held in New York, entitled “Greece in the Era of Reforms”.
During the forum, the New York Stock Exchange honoured Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, the Athens Stock Exchange for the 130th anniversary since its founding and ASE chairman Spyros Kapralos. Afterwards, the Greek minister and the ASE chairman rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
Kapralos also addressed the Capital Link Forum, where he focused on the development of the Greek market based on transparency, reducing costs and restructuring operations, along with the successful launch of a common trading platform with the Cyprus Stock Exchange.
Earlier, Alogoskoufis, in a meeting he had with representatives of the Hellenic-American Business Council, referred to the progress which the Greek economy has made, giving emphasis to the fiscal adjustment, in parallel with the maintenance of high growth rates. He also underlined the efforts being made so that the Greek economy become more competitive and extrovert.
Alogoskoufis also had meetings with high ranking members of large international investment banks and gave interviews to the BBC and Bloomberg television stations.
On Friday, the minister met Archbishop of America Demetrios. Later on, he was to address a conference on the Greek Economy, on the theme:”Greece 2004-2006: From Reforms to Results”.
WITH FINANCIAL MEDIA
Alogoskoufisʼ US trip was closely followed by the international financial media, several of which asked the minister to appear and talk about the Greek economy. During his visit, Alogoskoufis was interviewed Business Weekly magazine, BBC World and the Bloomberg TV network.
In these interviews, the main points raised by Alogoskoufis were the significant fiscal reforms achieved by Greece, which has managed to reduce the public deficit while maintaining one of the highest growth rates in the euro-zone.
He also stressed the government’s ongoing reforms programme and the role that this played in the development of the Greek economy.
One of the aspects particularly emphasised by the minister were tax reforms designed to boost enterprise, such as the reduction in the taxation rate for business profits from 35% to 25% and reduced tax rates for natural entities from 30-40% to 25%, effective from 2007.
Alogoskoufis also pointed to the increasingly outward-looking orientation of the Greek economy and the country’s role in southeastern Europe, as well as outlining the government’s privatisation of Emporiki Bank, which has been concluded, and the ongoing efforts to privatise the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE).