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Investment Opportunities in Greece – Active Projects

Investment Opportunities in Greece

The Greek Food & Agricultural Sector, the Greek Tourism Sector, the Greek Energy Sector, as well as the Greek ICT Sector and the Greek logistics sector are the most active sectors of the Greek economy, offering opportunities for investments.

VK PREMIUM can provide valuable assistance in the areas of market and sector analysis, opportunity assessment, due diligence, feasibility studies, project valuation, etc.

Short presentation of the active projects and investment opportunities in Greece.

A. Investment opportunities in Greek Food & Agricultural Sector

One of the major export sector in Greece has been agricultural production, with Greek fruit and vegetables being consumed in several international markets. The Greek agriculture sector has maintained a positive trade gap in a wide range of agricultural products such as tomatoes, kiwis, oranges etc., which are traditionally products with stable prices and rising demand. Furthermore, the current crisis has had a largely positive impact on primary agricultural production, as it has created opportunities for extroversion, efficiency and a turn towards better, more competitive output.
The role of private investors in this process can be significant, since they can provide capital but also know-how and market access to Greek producers in order to maximize their value added and their competitiveness in the European markets.

Specialty Foods
Greek specialty foods include a variety of products, ranging from high-value niche products (Chios Masticha, Kalamata olives, Kozani Saffron, Aegina pistachios) to widely available categories which are endemic to the Greek diet (e.g. greek yoghurt, olive oil, honey) to Protected Designation of Origin Status (PDO) products only found in Greece (in 2013 Greece designated a total of 101 products with PDO identity including olive oil products, feta and other local cheeses, fruits, tomato products, meat products etc.).

 Investment opportunities exist in several key areas:
• Consolidation and upgrading of their supply chain to ensure supply chain efficiency
• Development of innovative end products around these high-value crops, and
• Marketing and sales capabilities in order to penetrate developed markets
The combination of local production and know-how with such investments can generate high returns for the investor interested in pursuing strategic investments within this specialty sector.

Key Figures

Number of PDO recognized Greek products (overall)101
Number of olive oil products with PDO status18
Number of olive products with PDO status12
Number of cheese products with PDO status20
Number of fruit and vegetable products with PDO status29


Aquaculture is a rapidly growing sector of the Greek economy – and one where Greece can leverage its competitive advantages and already is a major international exporter.

Approximately 90% of the sector’s value is driven by two main fish products, seabass/seabream, in which Greece holds a dominant position in the global markets. Greek aquaculture production is known for its product quality, and has enormous further growth potential if it invests in more capacity, economies of scale and cost-improvement initiatives.

Fish farming holds a leading position in Greece’s Food industry and it is a top industry sector in the EU characterized by strong market consolidation. Investing in the consolidation and expansion of aquaculture facilities and the improvement of competitiveness, operating efficiency and market access can yield significant returns for this sector based on its growth potential and existing market positioning.

Key Figures

Greek sea bream / sea bass production in 2013 (Tones)123.000
Greek production value for sea bream / sea bass fish (€)400 million
Greek fish fry production (Number)458,000,000
% of Greek production exported to other countries85%
Annual growth rate of aquaculture production3%
Greek sea bream and sea bass production as % of global production48.6%
Sea hatchery stations currently operating in Greece39
Floating fish farming / production units currently operating in Greece330

Olive Oil
Olive oil, one of Greece’s signature products, from ancient times until today, and a steady staple of the Mediterranean diet, strongly rooted in the very history of Greece.

Greek olive oil is recognized as very high-quality, driven by the natural environment and production values of Greek oil producers. There are literally hundreds of local varieties and tastes, including a number of organic producers which are positioning in the global high-value market with specialty and luxury oils.

Greek companies have established significant brand recognition and international distribution networks, whilst investments in market consolidation, processing, R&D, product differentiation, improved packaging, and more concentrated production output can further expand an already blossoming industry and yield significant returns.

Key Figures 

Greek olive oil production as % of total production13%
Percentage (%) of Greek olive oil that is extra virgin75%
Percentage (%) of Spanish olive oil that is extra virgin30%
Percentage (%) of Italian Olive oil that is extra virgin45%
Greek per capita annual consumption of olive oil16kg
Greek Olive Oils with Protected Designation of Origin Status(PDO)18


B. Investing in the Greek Tourism Sector

Greece is one of the top global tourist destinations for sun and beach holidays, and also provides attractive propositions for year-round themed holidays. The competitive advantages of Greece, such as rich cultural heritage, natural beauty and geographical variety, have been attracting significant tourism investments in recent years, thus further strengthening Greece’s image as an ideal destination both for holidays and tourism-related investments.

Even during the recent crisis, the tourist industry in Greece has been one of the mainstays of economic growth and employment, with a continued growth in tourist arrivals and revenues driven mainly by:
• the determined efforts of the Greek tourist authorities and associations to upgrade the tourist product offering
• the development of new key markets such as Russia, Israel, Turkey and China.

The tourist industry is currently undergoing a major strategic improvement initiative, focusing on the expansion of the tourist period, the attraction of higher-value tourist segments (High-net-worth, affluent), the increase of average daily spending and the opening of new tourist markets.

 Greece is poised to make significant investments in the tourist industry, focused on transforming the traditional “sun & beach” tourist product into a number of higher-value, more focused products, centered around:
• Thematic sun & beach tourism, where specific “themes” such as wellness, romance or luxury are used to add value and to extend the typical sun & beach holidays
• Nautical tourism, both in terms of attracting a larger amount of cruise liners and in terms of extending the offering for yachting/ sailing holidays
 City Break tourism focused mainly around the two main cities of Athens and Thessaloniki
• Cultural and religious tourism, upgrading and leveraging the several historical, heritage and religious monuments and museums of Greece
• Medical tourism which presents an exciting growth opportunity if the skilled Greek medical personnel is combined with investments in existing facilities and infrastructure, and
• Meetings and Incentives (MICE) tourism positioning Greece as a major meeting and conference center for regional associations and companies
• Integrated resorts – holiday housing new developments in existing and new tourism destinations taking advantage of the new legislation for the development of integrated resorts and for the acquisition of residence permits by non EU citizens who invest in Real estate

Key Figures

Total tourism Added Value€28 bn1
Tourism as % of Greek GVA16%2
International arrivals in 2014~22 mn3
Total people employed in tourism657,0004
Number of beaches and marinas with blue flags393 beaches and 9 marinas
Number of operating marinas195
Number of docking berths6,6616
Number of UNESCO recognized World Heritage sites177


C. Investing in the Greek Energy Sector

Located at the crossroads between East and West, Greece is positioned to play a particularly significant role in the region’s energy sector. The ample availability of renewable energy potential (wind, hydro, biomass, geothermal, solar & solar thermal) combined with ongoing large-scale infrastructure projects involving Greece (TAP Gas Pipeline, oil exploration) mean that the country will be a key player in the formulation of all of Western Europe’s energy mix and will provide significant investment opportunities in the Energy and Energy Saving industries.

The Greek Energy System

The energy sector in Greece is poised to grow significantly in the next years, driven by a number of significant factors:
• the required optimization of the energy mix , which consists of the reduction of fossil-fuel generated electricity and the increased of energy from RES. This shift will be driven both by the revised EU policy of 27% renewable energy sources by 2030, and by the preference for cheaper energy sources such as natural gas
• the liberalization of the electricity and natural gas markets and the further separation of production and supply from transmission networks
• the potential for Greece to become a European gateway for natural gas and oil resources through such projects as the TAP gas pipeline, or the gas and oil drilling opportunities in the Aegean and Ionian seas
• efforts to improve energy efficiency and reduce cost driven by such technologies as smart metering, smart grid technologies, LED lighting, energy efficient buildings etc.
• major infrastructure initiatives such as the interconnection of the Greek islands

Why Greece:
Strategic Position
– Greece can become a key player in the transportation of energy from East to West through pipeline projects, electricity grid interconnectivity and alternative means of ensuring Security of Supply through Mediterranean offshore reserves (e.g. LNG terminals)

Generation Potential – Due to its climate conditions (Greece enjoys more than 250 days of sunshine—or 3,000 sunny hours—a year, and has many areas of strong winds), the country possesses significant untapped generation potential –particularly in renewables – which can enhance the energy mix for all of Europe.

Government support and legislation – the ministries of Energy and Development have spearheaded several major investment projects over the past years, including the TAP natural gas pipeline, the new liquid gas terminal in Revytousa, and major RES investments. This, in combination with Greece’s wide-ranging investment regulatory framework, provides for exceptional opportunities for investment in a number of areas.

Main investment opportunities
• Privatization of state assets
• New infrastructure in natural gas transmission (liquid gas terminals, gas pipelines, gas distribution systems)
• International public Tenders for the Hydrocarbon Exploration in different areas of Greece .
• Renewable energy projects (Wind, , Solar-thermal, Biomass, Small Hydro, Geothermal etc.)
• Energy efficiency businesses and investments
• Grid connectivity for the islands (PPP)

D. Investment opportunities in the Greek ICT Sector

The ICT sector in Greece offers several opportunities of investment in high-end, value added services with a global reach, leveraging the availability of skilled labor, the existing know-how and research capabilities, the strong IT and Telecoms infrastructure and the outstanding living and working conditions. Business opportunities such as the establishment of software development labs, or microchip and MEMS design centers, data centers and R&D labs can be established with full state support and staffed with highly qualified available employees so they generate high returns in a very short time. 

Overall, the number of ICT business opportunities is expected to increase significantly over the next years driven mostly by:
• the strong requirement to further automate and digitize the public sector, which is driven by several major public procurement projects in the ICT field
• the quick adoption of new technology by the Greek public, including for example new communication devices (smartphones, tablets), broadband telecommunications and smart TV
• the significant growth of technology clusters, incubators, accelerators and VC activity focused on new ventures in ICT, and the large number of entrepreneurs that are actively leveraging this infrastructure, with products such as TaxiBeat and Piniata already succeeding on an international scale
• the several innovation and research activities currently being pursued in Greek polytechnic institutions and public RTOs in such areas as cloud computing, location-based services (LBS), nanotechnology and intelligent systems

Why Greece:
Skilled Workforce – Greek engineers have been included in the top 20 ICT human resources pool globally by the Economist and have topped the ITUICT development index. Also, more than 70% of the Greek population speaks English.
ICT Infrastructure – Greece can cover all infrastructure needs for a major investment in ICT, including telecommunications (fixed, mobile, data), hosting and server facilities.
Research and education – Greece possesses an extensive network of Scientific and Technology Parks and Higher Education Centers. During the past years, Greece has seen the development of several new ICT clusters, incubators and accelerators.
Favorable location – Greece is the EU country with best access to Eastern ICT producers such as China, Japan and Korea. This favorable location, coupled with our logistics infrastructure and skilled labor, make Greece ideal for the establishment of assembly facilities for ICT products and devices.

Main investment opportunities
• Data centers
• Call centers / service centers staffed by English-speaking staff
• Software Product Development
• Assembly and distribution of ICT devices
• Start-up communities and development clusters

Key Figures

ICT as % of Greek GVA4,1%
Market Turnover€ 17.1 billion
NetworksADSL, VDSL, some fiber
Number of companies in ICT sector4.500
Internet penetration56%
Broadband internet penetration24%
Mobile phone penetration170%
Smartphone sales in 20121.5 million
Number of ICT startups funded in 201329
Number of new ICT clusters and incubators launched8


E. Investing in the Greek logistics sector

Positioned at the crossroad of three continents (Europe, Asia, Africa), Greece has long been a strategic node for the development of transportation in the greater region.

Maritime transport is the most important mode of global freight transport, accounting for 80 per cent of global trade by volume and over 70 per cent by value. Traffic through South-East Mediterranean ports has been growing at more than 8% annually. Trade flows between Asia and S.E. Europe are expected to increase by 7% annually for the years to come.

In this environment, Greece’s geographical position as a gateway between East and West render it highly attractive for investments in logistics and transport to take advantage of these increasing trade flows in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Why Greece:
Competitive Freight Costs – The geographical position of Greek ports allows the offering of competitive sea freight cost for transported containers, while offering access to a set of growing economies in the broader region.
Transport Infrastructure – Continuing investment in road and rail infrastructure means that Greece’s major ports are now directly interconnected with modern road and rail links, facilitating intermodal transport of cargo onwards to their final destination quickly and cost-effectively.
Advantageous Location: Greece is part of the EU’s Orient/East-Med Corridor that connects the maritime interfaces of the North, Baltic, Black Sea and Mediterranean.
World Champion Shipping Sector: Greek ship owners control the world’s largest merchant fleet.
Know-how and skilled labor – Greek manufacturing and maritime tradition ensures the availability of skilled logistics and assembly employees for the staffing of local distribution centers.
Efficient global logistics providers: Several global 3PL providers such as Kuhne & Nagel, DHL, Schenker, Geodis, Panalpina, and Express are currently operating in Greece, Recently, a logistics network funded by the Hellenic Federation of Industries (SEV) has been created, to improve collaboration between logistics providers and the rest of the Greek economy.

Main investment opportunities
• Investments in Greek ports
• Rail and road transport investments
• Logistics centers
• Assembly and quality assurance facilities

Key Figures

Trade flow through Greece growth per year8%6
Trade flow through Greece 2010€85 bn7
Current capacity of Piraeus port (TEU)3.6mn8
Planned capacity for Piraeus4.7mn9