Many distinguished professionals, including MP for Mount Lawley, Mr Michael Sunderland, attended the presentation of INVEST IN GREECE, that took place at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry premises in Perth on Thursday.
Mr Costas Aggelopoulos, of Invest in Greece, explained the main competitive advantages that Greece has for investing, ie. it’s strategical position as a gateway to SE Europe and access to over $1 trillion of GDP and a combined population of 140 million. 4,000 greek companies have already invested in this area, and greek banks have set up over 3,000 branches there.
Greece’s investments in total are a 22.5% of GDP against a 21.8% average for the rest of the Eurozone. Additionally, labour productivity in Greece has gone up 2.7% whereas in the rest of Europe by only 1.3%. The existing Public-Private Partnerships in Greece, are 52 with an investment of $5.7 billion plus $1.5 billion to arrive with an extra 17 programs planned.
Mr Costas Aggelopoulos went on to further lay out the growth opportunities of a number of economic sectors. The food & beverage sector, he informed the audience, is currently 25% of total sales, and employs 24% of the workforce in greek manufacturing. Furthermore, opportunities exist in the environmental/ waste management fields, as there are currently two new waste management facilities in operation in Thessaloniki & West Macedonia, and also a new sewer facility in Rafina.
Tourism is another sector in which more foreign investment is needed. With the cleanest beaches in Europe, a climate suitable for year-round visitors, a worldwide envied cuisine, and an infrastructure that includes 15 international airports and 15 international ports, the 2010 forecast for tourist influx touches the 20 million mark.
Eighteen percent of Greece’s GDP comes from tourism which sector also employs 21% of the total workforce. There is unmet demand, as investment opportunities, such as: more marinas, existing underdeveloped spas, eco-tourism, health tourism, unmet golf resorts demand. In addition, only 4% of all hotels in Greece are branded versus an average of 20% of branded hotels in the Eurozone.
Real estate is the main pillar of economic growth in Greece, explained mr Amilidis, with 8.7 % of the workforce currently employed in construction. The reasoning behind real estate investment is that the prices- to include building costs- have recently gone down and real estate has better turnover.
According to Price Waterhouse Coopers, as regards the prospects for growth, Greece has been placed in the 12th place on a global scale. Furthermore, she has the 3rd highest place in office prime property yields within Europe, and the 5th place in industrial property yields. Accordingly, Ermou st. in Athens, is in the 12th position when it comes to worldwide street value.
Another exciting area for investment has been the Renewable Energies Sources sector. Here, we are told there have been 78 projects running during the 2004-2008 period, which account for $2 billion of investment and the creation of 215 jobs. As such, Greece had the 10th position worldwide in the first quarter of 2008 in RES.
In an area, where despite the competition, mobile call rates have remained fairly high, the mobile penetration of the market amounts to 171% of the population. Only the UAE surpass Greece in this field.
Greece came first in 2008, in ICT development skills according to ITU and ICT engineers in Greece are first in affordability according to the UBS Prices and Earning report for 2008. Software development, Microchip & MEMS development, R&D are some of the fields with the most prospects within the ICT sector.
Many have taken advantage of the above mentioned such as Deutsche Bank who only last year bought out a 20% stake in OTE (National telecom) for $5.3 billion. Nokia and Microsoft have also jumped to the opportunity by setting up an R&D and innovation centre respectively, in Greece.
The healthcare and pharmaceutical areas have seen 10-20% growth rates per year and many companies have deemed the environment suitable for clinical research. Of 28 pharmaceutical companies currently in operation in Greece, only 2 are local (Viamex and Genesis). Furthermore, Greece is ranked 6th in the world in doctor / population ratio, ie. 4.4 doctors exist per 1,000 inhabitants.
Companies wishing to expand into Greece can qualify for either European or national cash grants, subsidies or tax benefits (as Mr Amilidis clarified later on these are either/or opportunities). However, in order to qualify on the so-called Fast Track , the planned investment must exceed $200 million in total value, or $75 million plus 200 new jobs.
The next seminar is to take place on December 7th in Sydney (Industry & Investment NSW, The Hamilton Room, NSW Trade and Investment Centre, Level 47 MLC Centre, Cnr King and Castlereagh streets), while the last one is scheduled on December 9th in Melbourne (Melbourne Observation Deck Rialto, Theatre – ground floor).
Invest in Greece Agency
Invest in Greece is the official Investment Promotion Agency of Greece that promotes and facilitates private investment. Invest in Greece provides investors with assistance, analysis, advice, and aftercare support. Invest in Greece is committed to helping businesspeople discover the many opportunities in Greece, the gateway to Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. (http://www.investingreece.gov.gr).
Invest in Greece Agency: Emmy Markoglou, International Media Relations: +30-210-33-55-718, email@example.com