GIG Economic Bulletin – May 30, 2022

Strong quarterly results from the systemic banks confirmed the sector’s return to profitability, and buoyed the stock market with a month-end rebound. Greece improved its position by two notches on the OECD Taxing Wages index.

Economic BulletinInsights
Greece’s banking sector has officially turned the corner, with systemic banks Eurobank, Alpha Bank, and NBG unveiling profits in the first quarter in addition to an expansion of credit. The country shed two spots in the OECD ranking for the tax wedge on wages, and Hellenic Petroleum has announced its intention to take over TotalEnergies’ 40% stake in the hydrocarbon exploration blocks offshore Crete.

Macro

Greece is set to exit the enhanced surveillance regime on August 20, with 22 reforms remaining to be completed by the end of the year in order to receive the final €748-million disbursement.

In 2021 Greece improved its position by two spots in the OECD rankings for the tax wedge on wages. It dropped from 17th to 19th out of the 38 countries on the list, as the tax burden on labour was reduced by 2.2 percentage points thanks to lower contributions and levies.

The bill for public procurement in 2021 came close to €11 billion, marking a 12-year record. Public works accounted for €4.4 billion, while services came to €3.6 billion.

Private sector deposits grew by €1.35 billion in April, compared to a decrease of €989 million in March, according to the Bank of Greece (BoG).

Energy

PPC reported losses after tax of €186 million in Q1 compared to €44 million in

the same period of 2021, largely attributed to capital gains tax of €184 million from the sale of HEDNO/DEDDIE to Macquarie. Operating profits remained strong, however, with EBITDA reaching €170 million, compared to €226 million in 2021.

HELPE looks set to take over the 40% stake of TotalEnergies in the two Cretan hydrocarbon exploration plots. The departure of TotalEnergies leaves the exploration project without an operator, while the third partner in the venture, ExxonMobil, has yet to announce its intentions.

Shipping

According to Clarksons Research, 5.7% of the Greek-owned fleet is LNG-ready, compared to 4.1% of the global fleet, while 40% of Greek-owned ships are fitted with scrubbers, compared to 28% of the global fleet.

Shipping Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis told the Naftemporiki conference that registrations in the Greek shipping register increased by 61% in 2021. Shipping skills, digitisation and regulatory reform are the three government priorities for the sector, while the industry is also focussed on the challenges of decarbonisation.

Privatisations

The transfer of DEPA Infrastructure to Italgas is due to be completed shortly according to sellers HRADF and HELPE, who have sought to quell rumours of a last-minute hitch in the transaction.

The Council of State has opened the road for the transfer of the Skaramagas shipyards from the Greek state to Milina Enterprises Company Limited for €37 million after rejecting a challenge lodged by the local authority.

The plan being considered by the government for Elefsina Shipyard would require the buyer to take on around €220 million of debt which will be repaid with investments of €200 million over a decade. The restructuring is expected to create 1,000 jobs in the commercial business and 1,000 in defence.

Copyright: Image-source / envato

Real Estate

Lamda Development says it expects revenues from pre-sales of residential properties at Hellinikon to reach €1.3 billion, beating initial estimates by 160%.

Premia Properties reported revenues of €3.2 million in Q1, a doubling compared to the same period in 2021. Consolidated profits before tax reached €1.8 million compared to €0.2 million in 2021.

Tourism

Travel receipts in Q1 were up 342% on the same period in 2021 reaching €470 million, as over 1 million travellers visited Greece, up from 271 million last year.

Digital

UK-based Ocado Group is set to acquire Greek start-up Myrmex Inc, which specialises in material handling robotics for around €10.2 million.

The €200-million national micro-satellite programme has been approved for inclusion in the RRF. Tenders for goods and services will go through the European Space Agency, with 30% of hardware and software contracts expected to go to Greek companies, along with 60% of services.

Banks

Eurobank reported €305 million of net profit in Q1 2022 compared to €72 million for the same period in 2021. The bank’s NPE ratio was reduced to 6% by the end of March from 6.8% at the end of 2021.

Alpha Bank recorded strong credit expansion in Q1, despite the challenging global conditions, leading to profits of €125.4 million, with loans rising by 4% to €29.7 billion, in line with the business plan.

NBG reported profits after tax of €360 million in Q1 including trading profits of €139 million, while the NPE ratio has been reduced to 6.5%.

Stock Market

The ASE general index made weekly gains of 3.64% to close Friday at 891.41 points. The banking index led with 8.25% on the release of positive quarterly results, while large caps were up 4.18%.

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