September 25, 2022

Growthfund: the train is back on the rails

Article by Gregory D. Dimitriadis, Growthfund CEO, in To Vima tis Kyriakis, Oikonomikos Taxydromos


This has been a particularly fruitful year for Growthfund and its portfolio companies, with effective actions regarding economic and regional development, and most notably the commencement of the procedures for the registration of public assets.

The tender process for the concession and development of Kalamata Airport is already underway, the first stage ending in November. The new, modern airport that this historic Peloponnese city deserves will contribute decisively to the further development of the prefecture and the wider region, which is also a tourism destination. The number of passengers to be received by this airport are estimated to rise to 500,000 per year by the end of this decade, a fact which is necessitating the airport upgrade. Kalamata, thanks to its large port, is a gateway to Southern Greece and is now considered among the country’s most dynamically developing cities.

One of Growthfund’s key initiatives is related to our efforts to clear a longstanding backlog: A complete register – with full legal clarity – of the public real estate assets. This project is self-evidently of great national importance, as it takes public asset development to a whole new level. And this will also enable us to put an end to encroachment and land grabbing.

Ignorance of the actual size of public real estate property– and the consequent misuse of real estate assets – has deprived the economy of a significant growth driver, which, especially following the recession, would have had a multiplying effect on the path to economic recovery. We are in the process of remedying this situation.

This month, the deadline expires for Growthfund’s tender – in collaboration with ETAD – and a contract will be awarded for a pilot programme for the mapping and valuation of 500assets. This is the first step of an undoubtedly major and challenging endeavor; nevertheless, an essential one as dictated by the principle of respect to the assets belonging to the Greek people.

Within 2022 another 500 assets will be incorporated into this project. This initiative will determine the valuation strategy for the complete property of HPPC, i.e., over 70,000 properties. The process will be launched next year (2023) across the Growthfund portfolio and will involve the mapping, segmentation, digitization and maturation of all the entire public property. This project will require close collaboration between the private sector and several local government authorities. Growthfund considers their positive response as a premise, as it regards an issue of national stake.

At the same time, we are taking action in several fields. This year, for the first time since its establishment, Growthfund is stepping into its role as an investor. To this end – as its investment policy and its operation are bound and governed by the standard National Wealth Funds principles – it is seeking an investment advisor through a relevant tender. We estimate that an investment advisor will be appointed by the end of the month. Over the next months, Growthfund will invest €10 million in the Greek economy and entrepreneurship, and a total of €50 million by 2024. And this is just the beginning.

Growthfund’s investment activity will contribute to the real economy, generating additional revenue for the fund itself and, by extension, for its shareholder, which is the Greek state; of course, this will also serve as a vote of confidence in the Greek financial market.

Finally, the very nature and mission of Growthfund dictate that improved return on assets and sound management are a constant thread running through its policy. In two words: cost rationalization. This is precisely why the company is designing a new procurement model, especially for its portfolio companies to ensure their efficient operation through overall cost savings. The group procurement model pertains to the following companies and organizations: ELTA, CMT, CMFO, TIF-HELEXPO, ETAD, STASY, OSY, GAIAOSE, and HELLENIC SALTWORKS.

All the above emphatically reaffirm Growthfund’s intention – as repeatedly stated by the current management – to play a significant role in the development of the Greek economy, generating more revenue for the state, improving the services that public enterprises provide for citizens, protecting natural resources, and safeguarding the right of future generations to a secure and friendly environment; all the above parameters are clearly reflected in the three-year Strategic Plan which is already in progress of implementation.

What’s more, all Growthfund’s initiatives and activities are oriented towards serving the same values and principles that underpin its Strategic Plan. Perhaps most indicative of this was our joining – in spring 2021 – the One Planet Sovereign Wealth Funds (OPSWF), which is a shining example of large private investment funds joining forces with sovereign wealth funds in the battle against the climate crisis.

Guided by the principle of transparency, so that Greek citizens realize that Growthfund is not what it has been maliciously described as from time to time in the past. In fact, it is an organization that serves the public interest with complete dedication, safeguarding and promoting the citizens’ right to a better quality of life – to prosperity.