GIG Economic Bulletin – May 9, 2022

Greece’s largest power company PPC was upgraded a notch by S&P, as the government announced a €5-billion support package to cushion high energy prices into 2023.

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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced new support measures amounting to €5 billion aimed at dampening hikes in energy prices, while leading power company PPC was upgraded by S&P to BB-. Meanwhile, privatisation fund HRADF named International Port Investments Kavala as the preferred bidder for the concession on Kavala Port.

Macro

The Finance Ministry’s Medium Term Fiscal Strategy for 2022-2025 sees Greece returning to primary surpluses from 2023, while the debt load is expected to fall to 150% of GDP by 2025. The new estimates include higher inflation at 5.6%, while growth expectations have been trimmed to 3.1%.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced a new approach to cushioning high energy costs which will kick in in July with a cap on wholesale electricity prices. The total envelope to support households and firms against energy hikes through the middle of 2023 has been drawn at €5 billion, with €3.6 billion coming from the Energy Transition Fund and the rest from the ordinary budget.

Economic sentiment dropped to a 12-month low of 105 points in April, from 112.1 points in March according to IOBE, with consumer confidence also taking a major hit. There has been a deterioration in services, construction and industry, and to a lesser extent in retail. 

The EASE/ICAP CRIF-CEO sentiment index fell from 181 points in Q4 2021 to 140 points in Q1 2022, with deterioration seen in all its components, while 6 in 10 Greek CEOs say they expect inflation and high energy prices to limit growth.

Energy

S&P has upgraded PPC from B+ to BB-. The decision comes on the back of the upgrade on Greek debt which puts the Greek state, which owns 34% of the company, in a better position to continue supporting it.

PPC Renewables is set to acquire Volterra’s renewable generation capacity as part of the divestment of parent company Avax from its energy interests. The portfolio includes 73 MW of wind power in operation, 36 MW under construction, and 150 MW in development.

Motor Oil is set to acquire 28.9% of ELLAKTOR, consisting of 75% of the company’s RES portfolio with an enterprise value of €1 billion, for €1.75 a share.

Industry

Work is expected to recommence at the Eldorado Gold site at Skouries in H2 2022. The company needs to secure €845 million to reactivate the site and is understood to be in negotiations for several options including financing from Greek banks and RRF funding.

Shipping

EcoLog, a new company founded by Peter Livanos, will specialise in carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) using a fleet of 60 specially commissioned ships with the capacity to transport 50 million tonnes of CO2 annually.

Privatisations

HRADF has named International Port Investments Kavala as the preferred bidder for the concession on Kavala Port. The consortium of BlackSummit Financial Group, EFA Group and GEK TERNA is paying €33.9 million for the concession, and committing to €36 million of investments as part of the agreement.

There were eight formal expressions of interest in the Attica Highway concession, with binding offers expected in early 2023. The price is expected to surpass €2 billion. Potential bidders include major domestic and international players with long experience in construction and management of road assets.

Tourism

In April, 1.68 million passengers passed through Athens International Airport, at 84.5% of the levels reached during the same month in 2019. Compared to last year when restrictions were still in place, this represents a jump of 428%.

Real Estate

Premia REIC is planning €100 million of property investments with the aim of growing its portfolio to a value of €0.5 billion in the next two years and €1 billion in the longer term.

Digital

The Ionian undersea fibre optic cable is due to be completed by Islalink in December 2022. The 320-km cable will connect Preveza with Crotone in Calabria and will have a capacity of 15 Tbps.

PPC Renewables aims to operate 40% of Greece’s renewable energy capacity by 2026. Copyright: Vladimka production / Shutterstock.com

Banks

New legislation submitted to public consultation foresees the strategic divestment of the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF) from Greek banks by the end of 2025. The HFSF will also lose its veto power for systemic stability issues, while the criteria for board members are also relaxed.

Attica Bank posted a loss of €105 million in 2021, due to an operating loss of €25.1 million and a €55.4 million loss from securitisations.

The Hellenic Development Bank of Investments (HDBI, ex-TANEO) will be channelling €200 million of investments to Greek start-ups through its RRF-backed InnovateNow programme in partnership with venture capital and private equity funds.

Stock Market

The ASE general index fell by -6.04% in a week after five consecutive loss-making sessions, to close at 866.75 points on Friday, as nervousness gripped global markets and central banks raised interest rates in response to inflation. Banking stocks registered weekly losses of -9.5%.

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