NEW YORK – The Capital Link 20th Invest in Greece Forum brought together a distinguished group of panelists from various industries in the business world and government officials to discuss opportunities and topics related to investing in Greece. Capital Link President Nicolas Bornozis gave the welcoming remarks and Ambassador of Greece to the United States Haris Lalacos gave the opening remarks before a full day of fascinating topics and discussions.
Among the fascinating topics and panel discussing were the following:
The Macro Picture began the day with the panel discussion on the Current State and Outlook of the Greek and the European Economy. After several years of recession, Greece is gradually returning to a growth trajectory. The panel touched upon the global and European economy culminating with specific focus on Greece, stating the progress achieved so far, and the challenges that remain ahead. Moderator Yannis Manuelides, Partner, London- Allen & Overy LLP, led the discussion with panelists: Silvia Ardagna, Managing Director, Global Economics & Global Investment Research- Goldman Sachs International; Dr. Tasos Anastasatos, Group Chief Economist- Eurobank and Chairman of the Scientific Council- Hellenic Bank Association; Declan Costello, Principal Adviser, Mission Chief for Greece- European Commission; Elena Duggar, Chair of Moody’s Macroeconomic Board, Associate Managing Director, Credit Strategy & Research- Moody’s Investor Service; and Bob Traa, Independent Economist, former IMF Representative in Greece.
In the section on Accessing the Global Debt Capital Markets, the panel discussion, Investing in Greek Bonds –Government & Corporate Bonds, discussed the issuance in the global capital markets of fixed income instruments by the Greek Government, the Greek Banks, and Greek Corporates. It also discussed global investor interest in Greek Risk and Greek Fixed Income Instruments.
Moderator for the discussion was Mr. Apostolos Gkoutzinis, Partner – Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, with the panelists: Giulio Baratta, Head of IG Finance, Debt Capital Markets EMEA – BNP Paribas; Philip Brown, Managing Director, Global Head- Public Sector Fixed Income Origination – Citi; Konstantinos Vassiliou, Deputy CEO, Head of Group Corporate & Investment Banking – Eurobank Ergasias; Vassilis Kotsiras, Head of Funding Solution & Structure Finance – National Bank of Greece; Morven Jones, Head of Debt Capital Markets EMEA – Nomura International; and Dimitrios Tsakonas, Chief Executive – Public Debt Management Agency.
Success Stories of Greek Multinationals with Moderator Tom Kyriakopoulos, Partner – Machas & Partners, featured panelists Dimitrios Kyriacopoulos, Executive Vice President – ElvalHalcor S.A.; Antonios Kerastaris, Group CEO – Intralot; and Ms. Vivian Bouzali, Director of Communications & Strategic Marketing- Mytilineos Holdings.
Growth & Investment Opportunities in Greece featured speaker Yannis Harizopoulos, Partner – McKinsey & Company Greece.
Investing in Greece: The Institutional Investor Perspective featured the Institutional Investor Panel which provided the point of view of major foreign and Greek institutional investors active in Greece. It highlighted the challenges, opportunities, and risks; the progress achieved so far and what needs to be done to solidify Greece as an attractive business and investment destination. Moderator Stathis Potamitis, Partner- Potamitis Vekris, led the discussion with panelists: Thor Talseth, Managing Director- Amerra Capital; David Schamis, Founding Partner & Chairman of Investment Committee- Atlas Merchant Capital; Nikos Stathopoulos, Managing Partner- BC Partners; Mr. Anthony Diamantakis, Global Co-Head of Global Asset Managers- Citi; Sabina Dziurman, Director – Greece & Cyprus – European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; and Spyros Spyropoulos, Senior Advisor – Oaktree Capital
Why Greece – Why SMEs featured speaker Apostolos Tamvakakis, Managing Partner – EOS Capital Partners, and Private Equity Opportunities in Greece featured Takis Solomos, Partner & Co Founder- Elikonos Capital Partners.
The Greek Banking Sector- Strategy and Outlook panel discussed current trends and developments in the Greek banking and financial sector; cost issues, liquidity, upcoming stress tests and growth strategies with Moderator Panos Papazoglou, Regional Accounts Leader, Central Eastern SouthEastern Europe and Central Asia, Country Managing Partner, Greece – EY, and Panelists: Artemis C. Theodoridis, Deputy CEO – Non-Performing Loans and Treasury Management – Alpha Bank; Francesco Drudi, Principal Adviser – European Central Bank; Nikolaos Karamouzis, Chairman – Eurobank Ergasias SA & Chairman – Hellenic Bank Association; Julien Petit, Managing Director, Head of Financial Institutions Group M&A Europe Middle East & Africa – Goldman Sachs; Mr. Paul Mylonas, CEO- National Bank of Greece; and Mr. Christos Megalou, CEO – Piraeus Bank S.A.
The panel discussion NPLs – The Big Opportunity for Restructuring, Growth & Investment discussed the successful handling of NPLs which will inject new liquidity in to the economy and will improve the competitiveness and sustainability of Greek companies. There is progress with a new regulatory framework, the approval of NPL manager licenses and the establishment of an NPL Forum for corporate loans among the four systemic banks, which are now much better positioned to deal with NPLs. Significant challenges remain but the potential for a positive outcome is there. Moderator Constantine Karides, Partner- Reed Smith, led the discussion with panelists: Theodoros Athanassopoulos, Executive General Manager Non Performing Loans Wholesale Banking- Alpha Bank; George Linatsas, Group Managing Director & Founding Partner- AXIA Ventures Group Ltd; Bob Liao, Managing Director – EMEA Head of Structured Finance – Citi; Dr. Martin Czurda, CEO – Hellenic Financial Stability Fund; George Georgakopoulos, Executive General Manager, Legacy Unit – Piraeus Bank S.A.; and Spyros Tsiloglou, Managing Director, Head of Greece and Cyprus – Credit Suisse.
Sector Reviews and Investment Opportunities featured the panel discussion on Tourism & Hospitality pointing out that Greece is experiencing record high number of visitors. Privatization of key tourist and transport state assets (marinas, regional airports), the development of premium tourist resorts and of specialized tourist products are transforming the tourism industry and create attractive investment opportunities.
Keynote Remarks Elena Kountoura, Minister of Tourism of the Hellenic Republic, gave the keynote remarks while Moderator Constantinos Lambadarios, Managing Partner- Lambadarios Law Firm led the discussion with panelists: George Galanakis, President- LAMPSA Hellenic Hotels S.A.; George Tziallas, Secretary General for Tourism Policy & Development- Ministry of Tourism; Nikos Hadjos, Director of International Development Europe (Greece & Cyprus)- Marriott International Inc.; Constantinos Dedes, Legal Advisor- Mirum Hellas; and Plato Ghinos, President- Shaner Hotel Group.
The Real Estate & Infrastructure panel discussion examined the fact that investors are returning to the Greek Real Estate market as Europe’s hardest hit economy is showing signs of recovery. The panel discussed which areas show the most growth potential, the key factors affecting real estate investment in Greece, and which flagship hotel, urban regeneration, retail and commercial projects are already in the pipeline which will change the way we look at this vital market. Moderator Mr. Dionysios Voulgaris, Partner- A.S. Papadimitriou & Partners Law Firm. led the discussion with panelists: Dimitris Andriopoulos, CEO- Dimand S.A.; George Chryssikos, CEO- Grivalia Properties; Aristotelis Karytinos, CEO- NBG Pangaea REIC; and Christopher Baldwin, Managing Director, Head of Real Estate, Gaming, Lodging & Leisure- Nomura.
The panel discussion Greece as an Energy Gateway looked at how major infrastructure projects for the delivery of gas to the European markets and increased interest in hydrocarbons exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean will change the energy landscape in the region with wider geopolitical implications. Also, the liberalization of the electricity market and increased activity in the field of renewables create new investment opportunities with Moderator Mrs. Virginia Murray, Partner- Watson Farley & Williams, and panelists: Arnaud Jossien, Managing Director Corporate Finance- BNP Paribas; Mathios Rigas, CEO- Energean Oil & Gas; George Alexopoulos, General Manager Group Strategic Planning & New Activities- Executive Member of the BoD- Hellenic Petroleum SA; Alexandra Konida, CFO- Public Power Corporation S.A. (PPC); and Amos Hochstein, Senior Vice President- Tellurian Inc.