x

Economy

Behind Economic Comeback, Greece Will Finish Five Bank Stakes Sales

ATHENS – Greek banks that needed 50 billion euros ($54.09 billion) in bailouts to stay afloat during a 2010-18 economic crisis have recovered along with the economy, allowing the state to finish selling stakes in five of them.

Finance Minister Kostis Hatzidakis told Reuters that, “We had very significant interest expressed by many investors and that’s why we are aiming at finishing this process by the end of this year,” as Greece has rebounded.

https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/economy-rebounds-greece-will-wrap-up-bank-sales-this-year-finance-minister-says-2024-03-20/

It has been a remarkable return for an economy that shrank 25 percent during the crisis that brought crushing austerity to workers, pensioners and the poor while the rich and shipping oligarchs prospered.

Investors are also returning after most ratings agencies lifted Greece bank into investment grade status and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, with a business background, has successfully lured major international companies, including IT and high-tech.

The state recently sold its stake in three major banks, raising more than 2 billion euros ($2.17 billion), the latest sale of a 27 percent stake in Piraeus Bank, was oversubscribed eight times as investors jockeyed for position.

Under an agreement with creditors, Greece has until the end of 2025 to complete the sales but decided to move faster. Its remaining 18.4 percent participation in National Bank, the country’s largest lender, and 72 percent in the smaller Attica bank will be sold this year.

“We found that there was no reason to delay, to drag our feet,” said Hatzidakis as the banks have seen deposits return and raking in big profits after selling off bad loans to collection agencies hounding people to repay debts even if they can’t.

Greece is still the most indebted nation of the 20 members of the Eurozone using the euro as a currency but Mitsotakis has been driving a recovery, the government expecting to raise 7.1 billion euros ($7.68 billion) from 10 privatizations over the last eight months.

That’s a record amount that Hatzidakis said will help cover its 2024 budget target of 5.7 billion euros ($6.17 billion) and after the government sold 30 percent of Athens International Airport in an Initial Public Offering of 790 million euros ($854.56 million.)

Another 4.6 billion euros ($4.98 billion is expected to be raised this year from two concessions for two roll roads and plans to sell stakes in ports and marinas on the island of Crete and in central Greece, the news site said.

“We are determined to continue more or less the same way, pressing ahead with all necessary structural reforms just to transmit the message that this country has became a business friendly country,” Hatzidakis said.

RELATED

ATHENS - The politically volatile European Parliament elections, a time during which no candidate wants to make waves, has led to Greece temporarily setting aside development of wind farm projects that had been viewed as essential to developing sustainable sources.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

If an uninformed person had attended the Mitsotakis-Erdogan press conference a few days ago in Ankara, s/he could have come to the conclusion that the meeting was planned in order to discuss whether Hamas is a terrorist or a patriotic organization.

As part of a club documentary offering an inside view of his final days at Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp was asked by the filmmakers to stand alone on The Kop one afternoon and gaze out around Anfield.

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In 2018, Chad McGehee opened Side Hustle Brews and Spirits, an Abu Dhabi-branded brewery and distillery with funky camels on its cans and playful names familiar to anyone living in the United Arab Emirates.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Israel strongly denied charges of genocide on Friday, telling the United Nations’ top court it was doing everything it could to protect the civilian population during its military operation in Gaza.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.