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100 million dollars investments from the Greek Diaspora

23 July 2012 / 17:07:23  GRReporter
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The Hellenic Initiative Fund is starting its operations with 100 million dollars initial capital, aiming to attract large amounts of foreign direct investments in Greece in the coming years. Four of the most influential businessmen of Greek origin in the United States marked the beginning of the initiative. The idea for starting the fund comes from Andrew Liveris, President and Executive Officer of The Dow ChemiKal Company.

Liveris is one of the 50 richest men of Greek origin in the U.S.A. and his wealth is estimated at about 70 million dollars. He was born in Australia and has a degree in chemiKal engineering from the University of Queensland. He began his career at Dow ChemiKal at the age of 22 and his career grew slowly but steadily. In 2004 he took over the management of the corporation from his predecessor, William Stavropoulos, who is also a hereditary Greek. Under his leadership, Dow ChemiKal is flourishing and is ranked 15th place in the Corporate Responsibility Officer list of the hundred best companies in the social responsibility sphere.

Liveris says about the initiative that the combination of Hellenic Initiative's support and knowledge and the international community's potential may influence positively the restoration of the Greek economy. He insists on the fruitful cooperation of the established organizations with new initiatives, which will trigger the changes. "Education, entrepreneurship and investments will provide the basis for shaping the future of the country. An effort, in which we are all taking part together. "

Another participant in the creation of the Hellenic Initiative is Dean Metropoulos. He occupies the 368th place in the Forbes list of the richest people in the U.S.A and the 1015th place in the world ranking. His wealth is estimated at 1.2 billion dollars. He is known for his investment acumen. The bulk of his fortune has been amassed from the food sector and tourism. He owns one of the most luxurious hotels in New York, Castle of Hudson.

John Kalamos from Kalamos Investments is 72 and a doyen of the investment market. He also supports the Initiative and participates in the foundation committee of the fund. The Investment Company of Kalamos manages funds worth between $ 20 billion per year, and specializes in risk management. His personal wealth is estimated at one billion dollars. The third person related to the Hellenic Initiative is George Sakelaris, who runs a leading company in the energy field and who has won series of awards for innovation. His personal wealth is estimated at $ 800 million and Sakelaris sees a really good opportunity to invest a certain part of it in the Greek economy. The fourth participant in the fund's foundation is an American of Greek origin, George Stamas, who is a leading lawyer from the attorney firm Kirkland & Ellis, with offices in Washington and New York.

Although one swallow does not make a summer, the establishment of Hellenic Initiative raises hopes that Greece is finally reversing course and is heading towards recovery. A little over a year ago, John Kalamos visited Athens and spoke at the presentation of Steve Forbes's book "Power, Ambition, Glory". Then, Kalamos said that Greece cannot expect investment returns, unless stability in the country returns. This year, the forum, in which he took part again, was held in the central hotel Grande Bretagne in Syntagma Square. The same place where Kalamos and other prominent businessmen of Greek origin spoke in 2011. The difference was that then the Greek capital was burning, and the windows of the legendary hotel were shaking under the shootings of tear gas and Molotov bombs. Greek was being torn by civil unrest and protests against the ongoing structural reforms and fisKal consolidation.

Today there won't even be a sign from the other Athens, which, in some areas in 2011, looked like a revolutionary zone. The presence of former American President Bill Clinton in Athens, within the Greek-American business forum organized by the Hellenic Initiative, is noted as a great success. He said that Greece not only has a rich history and culture, but also abounds with human resources and is full of potential economic opportunities. "I am glad that the Diaspora is taking part and is ready to take the chance to invest in Greece. I will continue to actively support these efforts", said Clinton in Athens, cited by Zougla.

The foreign investors have three main requirements for Greece - stability in the politiKal system, minimum bureaucracy, an easy and efficient tax system. These are the three pillars on which the American entrepreneurs of Greek origin believe that the country can regain positive growth. The founders of the Hellenic Initiative want to establish themselves in various sectors with strong investor interest, but it takes two to tango. The businessmen expect some very quick and decisive changes from the government, including fixation of tax rates for at least 10 years and facilitation of the procedures for the development of large investment projects. If state leaders listen to the voice of real business this time, maybe Greece will escape from the vicious circle of fisKal consolidation and deepening recession faster than expected. Otherwise, the light at the end of the tunnel may be from a train.

Tags: Economics Markets Hellenic Initiative investments Greece Diaspora
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