With topical theme "Building a New Greece" the Forum takes place 2 days following the decision of Eurogroup which ensures the staying of the country in the euro, ending a long period of widespread uncertainty about the future of our country. The purpose and theme of the Forum aimed to give a stigma of credibility when it comes to the efforts made in order to restructure the economy, and also give an optimistic message for the future of the country.
The Forum provided participants with a comprehensive overview of government reforms, policies and objectives with the aim to boost the creation of institutional trust for Greece in political, economic and business environment level. Looking forward, it highlighted the current and new initiatives taken by the government and the private sector, aimed at attracting foreign direct investment in Greece.
As in the previous years, this year also the Forum gave foreign investors a networking capability through more than 150 one-to-one meetings with listed and unlisted companies as well as with members of the Greek government delegation. In addition, there was extended publicity in the international media.
Some of the funds and organizations that participated were: Franklin Templeton, Fortress Investment Group, Blackrock Financial Management, Blackstone Group, College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF), New Jersey Division Of Investment, Brock Capital, Baupost Partners, Contrarian Capital, Luxor Capital Group, Moore Capital, Citi U.S. Pension Investments, Morgan Stanley, Well Fargo Advisors, Rothchild, Paulsn & Co., Allen & Co, Barclays Capital, Calamos Investments, C.Dean Metropoulos & Co., Deutsche Bank, Citi, Goldman Sachs, ABN AMRO, Knight Capital, Mizuho Securities, Caxton Associates, Dupont Capital Management, Evercore Group, Fiduciary Trust Company, GE Capital, ING Investment management, Keefe Bruyette & Woods, Lazard Asset Management, Macarthur Capital, Merrill Lynch, Moelis & Co., Oppenheimer, Prudential, Raymond James, Rockefeller & Co., Smith Barney, Stifel Nikolaus Wiesel, UBS Financial Services, World bank και πολοί άλλοι.
The 14th Annual Capital Link Investor Forum on Greece was under the auspices of the Ministry of Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure & Networks of the Hellenic Republic and in cooperation with the New York Stock Exchange.
Mr. Nicolas Bornozis, President of Capital Link, mentioned: «The purpose of the conference was to spread the message that the worst is behind and that Greece starts a new progressive course, also to help reversing the negative image of our country. The Forum has contributed positively in these goals by giving the opportunity for direct communication with institutional investors and businessmen in a particularly crucial moment for Greece. The fact that among the speakers were not only government officials and Greek businessmen but also senior officials from international banks and SMEs enhanced the quality and credibility of the message. The interest in Greece is proven not only by the massive turnout of 950 delegates, but also of the 150 one on one meetings held privately. Finally, it was the first time that internationally acclaimed and recognized Greek American businessmen participated actively talking about the positive points of Greece and "how Greece can and should be put back on the agenda of investors”.Σκοπός του Συνεδρίου ήταν να περάσει το μήνυμα ότι τα χειρότερα είναι πίσω και οτι η Ελλάδα αρχίζει μία νέα ανοδική πορεία και να συμβάλλει στην αναστροφή της αρνητικής εικόνας για τη χώρα μας. Το Συνέδριο συνέβαλε θετικότατα σ΄ αυτούς τους στόχους δίνοντας την ευκαιρία απ’ευθείας επικοινωνίας με θεσμικούς επενδυτές και επιχειρηματίες σε μία ιδαίτερα κρίσημη στιγμή για την Ελλάδα. Το γεγονός ότι ομιλητές ήταν όχι μόνο κυβερνητικοί παράγοντες και Ελληνες επιχειρηματίες αλλά και υψηλόβαθμα στελέχη διεθνών τραπεζών και ΜΜΕ αναβάθμισε την ποιότητα και αξιοπιστία του μηνύματος. Το ενδιαφέρον για την Ελλάδα αποδεικνύεται όχι μόνο από την αθρόα προσέλευση 950 συνέδρων, αλλά και από τις 150 κατ’ιδίαν συναντήσεις που διοργανώθηκαν. Τέλος, ήταν η πρώτη φορά πού διεθνώς καταξιωμένοι και αναγνωρισμένοι Ελληνοαμερικανοί επιχειρηματίες συμμετείχαν ενεργά μιλώντας για τα θετικά της Ελλάδος και το «πώς η Ελλάδα μπορεί και πρέπει να ξαναμπεί στην ατζέντα των επενδυτών.»
Mr. Antonis Samaras, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic participated via webcast. At his message he stated that just a few days ago an era of wide spread pessimism, doubt and uncertainty for Greece finally has come to an end. The Greek people have undergone very painful sacrifices and have sustained a very difficult austerity program for the past few years. These sacrifices however were not in vain. The outcome of Euro group decisions, secures above all, our stay and Europe’s commitment in our stay in the Euro zone. This agreement provides for the immediate dispatch of an amount larger than the previously envisaged tranche of 31 billion euros. This money will be directed to our real economy. It will also enable the recapitalization of Greek Banks to protect savings and investments as well as to provide liquidity which is the blood of our economy to the Greek entrepreneurs. Mr. Samaras has also referred to the concerted government efforts to restructure and reform the economy and attract investment. Mr. Samaras concluded his speech by saying that Greece is not alone in this effort and that we can count on our partners and friends not only within the European Union but also in the United States.
Mr. Horst Reichenbach, Head of European Commission Task Force for Greece at the European Commission participated via webcast. In his speech “Helping Greece in its Adjustment Process” he mentioned that: «The recent Eurogroup decision of continued support for Greece provides a solid basis for a better economic future. The present Greek Government has intensified the cooperation with the European Commission Task Force which supports Greece with technical assistance for structural reforms. A lot has already been achieved in the budget field, with declining labour cost and a better business environment where Greece became this year one of the Top 10 reformers worldwide.
After years of recession plenty of investment opportunities are opening up, especially in tourism, energy and agro-business and in potential high growth areas such as aquaculture, generic pharmaceuticals, medical tourism, regional cargo hubs and waste management. Privatisation is under way and covers important assets in real estate, the corporate sector and infrastructure. Those who invest now will have a first mover advantage.»
The Minister of Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure and Networks Mr. Costis Hatzidakis mentioned during his speech that Greece has put aside past mistakes, achieving in just three years, and at great cost , what only few countries in modern economic history have, i.e. : dramatic reduction of the deficit, reinforcement of competitiveness and simplification of bureaucracy. These efforts have been recognized by the international community and our European partners in particular.
The recent agreement on the management of the Greek debt has firmly anchored Greece within the Eurozone. It liberates resources, ensures the sustainability of the debt, and creates a stable and secure environment for the Greek economy.
The tripartite coalition of political forces that believe in a European future for Greece ensures political stability. The climate is already changing, with foreign companies such as Unilever, Hewlett Packard and Cosco investing in Greece. This progress is recognized by international organizations such as the World Bank's “Doing Business Report” and the "The 2012 Euro Plus Monitor” report.
All this shows that our country can do it.
The deputy Minister of Energy, Environment & Climate Change of Greece, Mr. Assimakis Papageorgiou mentioned the following: “The Greek energy market is in a process of rapid and radical developments. By following an integrated Energy Strategy, Greece may develop in both geopolitical and economic terms. Mineral resources may also contribute to Greece’s economic recovery.
To make this happen, we are introducing vital reforms necessary to enhance and promote competitiveness, innovation and transnational partnerships, so as to restore Greece’s credibility at international level and attract foreign investments.
Greece may then take advantage of its energy and mineral potential as a key for Reconstruction and return to Growth”.
Mr. George Mergos, Secretary General of the Ministry of Finance Μέργος stated : « After five years of recession, the Greek economy is approaching fast the point of recovery. Strong reform efforts have started producing results. Fiscal consolidation is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition, for lifting the country out of recession. The country follows a wide-ranging reform program that leads to the establishment of a new economic paradigm in the economy, market friendly, price-flexible, knowledge & technology-based and outward looking. Future economic growth prospects are significant. With a business friendly environment for investors in terms of taxation, administration and licensing, we believe that the Greek economy will be again an attractive place for investment and business”.
Mr. Andreas Taprantzis, Executive Director of HRADF (the authorized organization to privatize Greek Assets), presented the Greek privatization program during the afternoon session of the Capital Link Forum. He said that Greece is moving ahead with the program. HRADF works closely with the government to uplift long lasting obstacles and they have taken decisive steps to facilitate privatizations in the country. The pace of the program is picking up, as the upcoming privatizations of the energy sector, the gaming monopoly and some unique real estate assets including the old airport of Athens indicate. HRADF expects to raise about €25 bn up to 2020 and applies open and transparent processes to address the international investors community. He said that as economic reforms progress and trust is regained in Greece, he expects privatizations to instill significant growth in the economy, improving the macroeconomic outlook of the country and its debt sustainability.
On behalf of the lead sponsors of the Forum there were presentations from Mr. Zubaid Ahmad, Vice Chairman and Global Head of Public Sector and Sovereign Wealth Funds of Citi, Mr. Giovanni Gregoratti, Managing Director of the EMEA Real Estate and Lodging Banking Team for Citi and Mr. Harrys Kosmatos, Corporate Development Officer of Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd (NYSE: TNP). Mr. Grant Carson, Citi Country Officer Greece of Citi has also participated at the Forum.
Mr. Zubaid Ahmad, Vice Chairman and Global Head of Public Sector and Sovereign Wealth Funds of Citi, introduced the Minister of Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure and Networks of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Costis Hatzidakis, stressing that:
“Citigroup is confident that Greece’s current administration and Minister Hatzidakis personally have the determination and drive to successfully navigate Greece through a difficult economic environment, by means of development, investment in infrastructure and increase of the country’s competitiveness. Citi Greece, represented in the Forum by Citi Country Officer, Grant Carson, is an active partner to the Greek state, local Financial Institutions and Corporates and has the honor of advising the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund on the privatization program, while being at the same time an active solicitor of foreign investment for Greece and the largest recipient of institutional investor flows for trades on the Athens Exchange.”
Z. Ahmad also referred to 2012 being a milestone for Citi, marking the Bank’s 200 year anniversary, underlining some of the innovations that Citi has funded through the years, such as the first supertanker worldwide by Onassis in 1948.
Mr. Giovanni Gregoratti, Managing Director of the EMEA Real Estate and Lodging Banking Team for Citi highlighted the increased interest for real estate investments in Greece: “In spite of the current challenging market environment and uncertain outlook, real estate investors are gradually starting to look again at the Greek market in search for attractive investment opportunities. Particularly important for the development of the investment market are the efforts being made by the Government to improve transparency by introducing a land registry and improving the legal regulatory and tax framework."
Mr. Harrys Kosmatos, Corporate Development Officer of Tsakos Energy Navigation, Ltd. (NYSE: TNP) highlighted the importance of oil tankers in providing a lifeline to world trade and economic development and their resilience in meeting the challenges of the ever changing trade paterns and energy needs across the continents. He stressed, that TEN, one of the world’s largest energy transporters with a presence in all maritime energy sectors including Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), is assisting in that direction and well prepared to address, to the extent possible, all challenges the evolving world economies are generating. He referred to the need of banks and the capital markets to remain supportive of shipping, on a selective basis though, as the capital intensity of the industry is a feature that will only grow stronger as stricter regulations will only intensify and by doing so they will assist in further cementing the qualitative foundations of the global oil tanker sector. His closing remarks focused on the current weak tanker environment but dismissed that as a "mere blip" if viewed in the context of a generation and showed confidence that shipping and Greek shipping in particular is in for the long haul as it has done for over 4,000 years.
On behalf of grand sponsors, representatives from Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs participated and presented at the Forum.
Mr. Harry Eliades, Partner & Managing Director at Goldman Sachs mentioned the following: "It is a great pleasure for us to participate and support the 14th Annual Investor Forum that is taking place in New York and focuses on the future of Greece. We believe that such initiatives are very useful and significantly assist towards the materialization of the targets set by the Greek government. The common aim of all participants at the Forum is to support the reforms the Greek government is implementing and it's efforts to attract investments, in the quest of opportunities that will assist towards achieving the necessary economic recovery of Greece that will bring the country to the path of economic development. In order for Greece to be able to successfully weather through the crisis it is experiencing and return to a sustainable path of growth, it needs assistance and know-how from it's European partners and the Troika, as well as from the international entourage. Our role as an investment bank is to promote the investment opportunities available and to seek for strategic investors that will assist the country with capital and best international practices”.