"Greek companies need to come to Israel for road show"

Article by Dotan Levi and Amir Kurtz as published in Calcalist 1.6.22


Kobi Bitton, CEO of the Israel-Greece Chamber of Commerce, said at the Calcalist Israel-Greece conference in collaboration with Aroundtown and Brown Hotels: "I call on companies from Greece to come and get to know the funds and institutions in Israel. This is an opportunity for you to open up to the market "; Prof. Harris Lamboropoulos, President of the Hellenic Bank for Development and Investment:" The bureaucracy in Greece has been reduced by 90%, there is much less paperwork today "

Two main readings arose in a "round table" conversation between Kobi Bitton, CEO of the Israel-Greece Chamber of Commerce, with Prof. Harris Lamburopoulos, President of the Hellenic Bank for Development and Investment - HDBI, an arm of the Greek government. Of Calcalist in collaboration with Aroundtown and Brown Hotels. The first call was from Bitton and was addressed to Prof. Aris himself, he asked him to convey a message to the Greek government to increase economic cooperation between the countries. "It is important that there is a statement from the Greek government that is passed on to the Israeli market about increasing cooperation. This will give investment impetus and prepare the ground for entrepreneurs who understand that there is backing from the country. "And get to know the funds and institutions in Israel. This is an option for you to open up to the market. We need to promote more movement from the Greek side to the Israeli side in order for it to promote investment from the Israeli side to the Greek side. We want bilateral investments," said Bitton.

cobi bitton
Cobi Bitton Israel-Greece conference 2022 (Photo by: Alex kolomoisky)

The second reading was by Prof. Lamboropoulos, who told how Greece had made investing in the country simpler, easier and faster than before. "Greece is open to doing business. In Greece today there is much less bureaucracy, less paperwork. It is not that the bureaucracy has disappeared but it has been reduced by 90%, which gives a boost to investment. "Lots more to give loans. You do not need a local partner to get financing from a bank in Greece. And the climate today in Greece is much better for investors," said Lamboropoulos. During the conversation, the senior Greek banker spoke about strengthening ties with the Gulf states in recent times, including with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. He mentioned the signing of a memorandum of understanding for a joint investment with Mubdallah, the UAE investment company, in the amount of more than $ 4 billion and an agreement with another fund worth about $ 1 billion. Asked by Bitton whether a similar agreement could be signed in the future with Israeli funds, Lamboropoulos replied: "Certainly yes. It should be discussed at the political level. There can be good opportunities in fintech, cyber, agriculture, podtech - sectors that both countries can benefit from." Bitton replied: "This is excellent news. We will be happy to be partners in the industry and projects at the national level, this is something we want to happen and will certainly also motivate and attract large players in the Israeli capital market who will see Greece as an investment destination."

According to Lamboropoulos, he has visited Israel at least 12 times in recent years and "I got a very good picture of the Israeli community. To me, this is an amazing example of a country that promotes innovation. We would like to see Israeli entrepreneurs invest in Greece in other areas, not just real estate and hotels." Greece is not just about tourism, sun, sea and real estate.There is a young and technological population here and I say to the Israeli entrepreneurs: you have an excellent partner here in Greece who knows the market, and through joint investments you will not waste unnecessary time and you will be able to invest more successfully and quickly. When you go into investing in the country, beyond creating an atmosphere and good relations, it is also important not to get involved in investing, so it is worth investing with professional local partners. There is a win-win situation here, we can take it together to a place that will work well with both countries. We welcome investors in Greece and the government today with open ears to hear investment proposals. " Bitton continued Lamboropoulos 'remarks, saying "Israelis' current investments in Greece are mainly in the areas of tourism and real estate - and it will not stop. But I want to bring investments to Greece from other fields as well, such as biotech, agrotech, podtech, propetech, travolt and more. Instead of Israeli companies looking to expand abroad going to countries like Poland, Croatia, Bulgaria and others, I want them to first consider investing in Greece, just a two-hour flight away. You will be in a different place than you imagine, and that will be positive. "


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