Investment Opportunities in Greece

Overview by

Protection of Foreign Investment

Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By Greece
To see the list of countries, click here.
Organizations Offering Their Assistance in Case of Disagreement
ICCWBO , International court of arbitration, International chamber of commerce
ICSID , International Center for settlement of Investment Disputes
Member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
Greece is a signatory to the Convention of the MIGA.

Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  Greece OECD United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 1.0 6.0 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 4.0 5.2 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 5.0 6.8 9.0 5.0
Index of Investor Protection**** 3.3 6.0 8.3 5.0

Source: Doing Business

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action. **** The Greater the Index, the Higher the Level of Investor Protection.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Acquisition of Holdings
A majority holding interest in the capital of a Greek company by a foreign investor is legal, except in some sensitive sectors.
Find Investment Service Providers in Greece on

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Office Real Estate and Land Ownership

Possible Temporary Solutions
There are several temporary solutions: domiciliation of the company at the private address of the director, domiciliation in a business center, renting professional premises, etc.
Risk of Expropriation
There have been no expropriation actions involving the real property of foreign investments in recent history.

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Investment Aid

Forms of Aid
Foreign investors are mainly encouraged to develop economy and tourism. Aids are granted to companies that introduce new products and new technologies within the Greek market, that modernise sites and production tools and protect the environment by making for example energy savings. In Greece, the amount of aids (subsidies, loans...) varies with the geographical regions: 5 can be listed (A, B, C, D and Thrace). For further information on these aids, the following organisations should be contacted: ELKE and the Ministry of National Economy.
Privileged Domains
- Energy: Greece has a liberalised energy market and is evolving into an energy hub in this decade. Today, it represents a significant and dynamic sector of the economy. Alliances with major European, American and Japanese companies and oil and gas agreements have positioned Greece as the country to do business in energy.
- Technology: Greece is rapidly transforming itself into a knowledge-based economy. Its projected ICT market growth for the next two years is 6% which is significantly higher than the EU average of 3% (EITO 2007).
- Tourism: Greece ranks in the top 15 destinations worldwide. The Greek tourism sector is a continuous growth market and represents 18% of the country's GDP. Annual arrivals by 2010 are projected at 20 million.
- Food & Beverage is the most dynamic and high growth sector in Greek manufacturing. Twenty-five percent of the most profitable Greek companies are food & beverage companies. Production growth rate is almost double that of the entire manufacturing industry.
Free Zones
Greece has three free-trade zones, located at Piraeus, Thessaloniki and Heraklion port areas. Greek and foreign-owned firms enjoy the same advantages in these areas. Goods of foreign origin may be brought into these zones without payment of customs duties or other taxes and remain free of all duties and taxes if subsequently transshipped or re-exported.

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Investment Opportunities

The Key Sectors of the National Economy
Services are the largest and fastest growing sector of the Greek economy.
Trade and financial services (29% of GDP), real property management (22.6% of GDP), tourism industry 14.3% of GDP, health (8.1% of GDP), education (7.7% of GDP) and transportation and communications (14.4% of GDP) are the largest service sectors. Greece has also a long shipping tradition.
Agriculture accounts for 7.7% of GDP and employs about 15% of the workforce. Despite significant support from the EU in the form of structural funds and subsidies, Greek agriculture is still characterized by small farms and low capital investment.
The industrial sector accounts for 10% of GDP while construction covers 12.7% of the GDP. The country’s energy sector is evolving.
Privatization Programs
The electricity market in Greece was supposed to be completely deregulated as of mid-2007. Unfortunately, the process has been slow, and the goal has yet to be realized.
The government is working toward privatization of several state-owned enterprises, including selling down its 28 percent stake in the Hellenic Telecommunications
Organization (already down following the sale of over ten percent to private interests), further privatizing the Postal Savings Bank, the Agricultural Bank and the Bank of Attika and allowing private ownership of ports and port service facilities.
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Mopadis, Public Procurement Monitoring Unit (PPMU)
Tenders Info, Tenders in Greece
Ted - Tenders Electronic daily, Business opportunities in EU 27
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide

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Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer

Monopolistic Sectors
Restrictions on foreign investment also exist as regards land purchases in border regions and on certain islands, on national security grounds

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Finding Assistance For Further Information

Investment Aid Agency
Investment in Greece
Other Useful Resources
Invest in Greece
Invest in Greece
Doing Business Guides
Greece Commercial Guide 2010 - Buy USA

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