Greece steps up effort to attract foreign investors

Greece steps up effort to attract foreign investors


By Lefteris Yallouros – Athens

Russian tycoon Dmitry Rybolovlev (photo) held talks Thursday with Greek deputy Minister of Development & Competition, Notis Mitarakis to discuss investment in the country’s tourism sector.

The two men met for the first time after the deputy Minister invited the Russian billionaire for talks and a second meeting with his office representatives is set to follow.

“Greece is an interesting country for investment” Rybolovlev’s spokesman said.

Reports suggest Rybolovlev also met with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, however no formal announcement confirming the meeting was issued.

Rybolovlev is the owner of Aristotle Onassis’s legendary island of Skorpios, sold for a reported USD 100 million by the late Greek tycoon’s daughter Athina Roussel.

The Russian billionaire also bought the small island of Tsokari from Onassis’ daughter.

The Greek government is actively searching for investors and has recently held meetings with prominent businessmen and investment funds in order to attract foreign investment to the country.

On Thursday, Notis Mitarakis also met with a delegation of the government of the UAE in order to discuss possible investment projects as well as the Managing Director of the Carlyle Group, Christopher Finn. The Greek deputy minister presented Greece’s privatization program with Mr. Finn.

Furthermore, the annual Roadshow presentation of Greek enterprises to foreign institutional investors took place in London earlier this month after being organized for the 8th consecutive year by the Athens Stock Exchange. Over 1,000 meetings between more than 100 funds and the 27 Greek listed firms were held.

Also, Athens is promoting the creation of a joint Greek-American committee aimed at lifting the bureaucratic obstacles to promote investment.

However, the government has yet to replace Stelios Stavridis who was recently sacked as chairman of the country’s privatization agency “TAIPED”, making efforts to attract foreign investment more difficult.