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American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014 Vol. XIII | No. 70

Thought Leaders

Energy Makes the World Go Round

BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

DEFENDING THE RIGHTS OF MINORITY SHAREHOLDERS AMCHAM

REGIONAL MARKETPLACE

NEXT STOP: SOUTH EAST EUROPE ▼

BUSINESS MATTERS

CITI—50 YEARS IN GREECE ▼

PLUS TRENDS & TRADE MAKERS BIZ BUZZ VIEWPOINT

AMERICAN-HELLENIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.amcham.gr

"GREECE is A+" Meet JAPONICA PARTNERS Paul B. Kazarian

Founder, Chairman and CEO, Japonica Partners

JAPONICA PARTNERS “Now is the time to recognize that the current economically irrational accounting is the single biggest and most easily removed obstacle to extraordinary growth in Greece.”


bponline.amcham.gr

ê

COMMERC E OF

CAN-HE ERI LL AM

H IC C AMBER EN

1 9 3 2 ê

American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014 Vol. XIII | No. 70

Thought Leaders

Energy Makes the World Go Round

BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

DEFENDING THE RIGHTS OF MINORITY SHAREHOLDERS AMCHAM

REGIONAL MARKETPLACE

NEXT STOP: SOUTH EAST EUROPE ▼

BUSINESS MATTERS

CITI—50 YEARS IN GREECE ▼

PLUS TRENDS & TRADE MAKERS BIZ BUZZ VIEWPOINT

AMERICAN-HELLENIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.amcham.gr

"GREECE is A+" Meet JAPONICA PARTNERS Paul B. Kazarian

Founder, Chairman and CEO, Japonica Partners

JAPONICA PARTNERS “Now is the time to recognize that the current economically irrational accounting is the single biggest and most easily removed obstacle to extraordinary growth in Greece.”


“GREECE is A+�

Media Sponsor:

Now!

Now!

Disclosure: Japonica Partners owns Greece government bonds.

JAPONICA PARTNERS

--- Lead Organizer ---

February 17, 2014 London & via closed Webcast By Invitaon Only

Global Thought Leader Symposium

Media Sponsor:

A New Era in Sovereign Accounng: Beer Numbers, Beer Performance

A keynote topic at

= D/GDP<100% = Growth Now!

GAAP

Extraordinary

An A+ credit metric

World-Class

New Era Sovereign Accounng Formula

www.japonica.com

JAPONICA PARTNERS

--- Lead Organizer ---

February 17, 2014 London & via closed Webcast By Invitaon Only

Global Thought Leader Symposium

Beer Numbers, Beer Performance

A New Era in Sovereign Accounng

â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of the highest impact acon items in 2014â&#x20AC;?


â&#x20AC;&#x153;GREECE is A+â&#x20AC;?

Media Sponsor:

Now!

Now!

Disclosure: Japonica Partners owns Greece government bonds.

JAPONICA PARTNERS

--- Lead Organizer ---

February 17, 2014 London & via closed Webcast By Invitaon Only

Global Thought Leader Symposium

Media Sponsor:

A New Era in Sovereign Accounng: Beer Numbers, Beer Performance

A keynote topic at

= D/GDP<100% = Growth Now!

GAAP

Extraordinary

An A+ credit metric

World-Class

New Era Sovereign Accounng Formula

www.japonica.com

JAPONICA PARTNERS

--- Lead Organizer ---

February 17, 2014 London & via closed Webcast By Invitaon Only

Global Thought Leader Symposium

Beer Numbers, Beer Performance

A New Era in Sovereign Accounng

â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of the highest impact acon items in 2014â&#x20AC;?


VOLUME XIII | NUMBER 70

CHAMBER.PRESS ISSN 1109-4990 CODE: 6526

CHAMBER.PRESS

CONTENTS

AMERICAN-HELLENIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BPONLINE.AMCHAM.GR

AMERICAN-HELLENIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

4 THE BOARD 5 REGIONAL MARKETPLACE Next Stop: South East Europe BY CHRISTOS CHRISTOU

6 CHAMBER NEWS 1 0 BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

24

Non-Controlling Interests: Defending the Rights of Minority Shareholders BY NIKOS HOUNTAS

1 2 ALBA BUSINESS REVIEW

Paul B. Kazarian, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Japonica Partners, on why Greece is A+

The Power of Words

BY DR. BABIS MAINEMELIS

1 4 NAMES & FACES IN THE NEWS 1 6 THE WORLD OF WORK

Randstad Workmonitor: Employee Expectations for 2014

18 20

30

BIZ BUZZ ECONOMICS—OUT OF THE BOX

How the Rise of Asia Can Benefit the Logistics Industry (and Greece) BY STRATOS PAPADIMITRIOU

Yiannis Maniatis, Minister of Environment, Energy, and Climate Change, leads a Thought Leaders overview of energy issues

22

SMART CITY, SMART LIVING

How Smart Cities Use Technology for Better Urban Planning BY SPYROS POULIDAS

2 3 TRAVEL USA

Discover America—Minnesota

2 4 THE INTERVIEW

Paul B. Kazarian, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Japonica Partners

10

2 8 THOUGHT LEADERS

Energy Makes the World Go Round

3 6 THE COMMONS

Nikos Hountas, Audit & Assurance Partner at Abacus Audit & Business Solutions, on defending the rights of minority shareholders

In Search of a New Paradigm for Social Responsibility BY PAOLO D’ANSELMI, ATHANASIOS CHYMIS, AND NIKOLAOS GEORGIKOPOULOS

3 8 TRANSATLANTIC TRADE ROUTES Laying the Foundation for Future Growth: TTIP and the Greek Presidency BY SUSAN DANGER

BUSI N ES S PART N ERS I S THE B IMON THLY MAGA ZIN E O F T HE A M ER I CA N - H EL L EN IC CHA MB ER OF COMMERCE DIRECTOR Elias Spirtounias e.spirtounias@amcham.gr

PUBLISHER & EDITOR Raymond Matera raymond@materamiller.com PLEASE RECYCLE

ADVERTISING Alexandra Loli alexandra@materamiller.com

OWNER American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce Politia Business Center 109-111 Messoghion Avenue 115 26 Athens Tel: +30 210 699.3559 Fax: +30 210 698.5686-7 E-mail: info@amcham.gr

BRANCH OFFICE 47 Vassileos Irakleiou Street DESIGN 546 23 Thessaloniki snack• Tel: +30 2310 286.453, 239.337 Fax: +30 2310 225.162 PRINTING & BINDING Northern Greece Publishing S.A. E-mail: n.tsavdaroglou@amcham.gr

4 0 BUSINESS & THE LAW

The Greek Legal Crisis & Reform of The Greek Legal System BY GEORGE S. KOUNOUPIS, J.D.

4 2 BUSINESS MATTERS Citi—50 Years in Greece BY GRANT CARSON

4 4 BUSINESS2BUSINESS A B2B Toolbox

4 6 TRENDS & TREND MAKERS 4 8 VIEWPOINT S—For Startup Generation BY DIMITRI PAPAIOANNOU

JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | 1


DIRECTORâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S DESK

2014 has begun with positive projections regarding the economy and fiscal results. Confidence indicators by foreign markets have improved and there is growing interest for both investment in Greece and the development of entrepreneurship, both essential to set the country on a real, sustainable growth trajectory and at the same time confront unemployment. Unemployment must be considered as a time bomb that can deeply affect the foundations of social cohesion. Creating employment must be the center of all programs and policies, not only in Greece but throughout Europe. But fiscal adjustment is not enough to attract significant investment and intensify the development of entrepreneurship. Many other efforts are needed. The further stabilization, normalization and development of our finance system will be one of the most important factors for the development of entrepreneurship and attracting investment. The rapid improvement of the procedural framework, especially regarding financial and investment disputes, is a further prerequisite for forging a friendly investment and business environment. The connection between education and the corporate world is also a key ingredient to attract superior and high-return investments that, in extension, help develop healthy and sustainable entrepreneurship. The reorientation and the change of the framework of subsidized development programs is another crucial element for effective growth. We should stop measuring EU subsidy program success by absorption rates and instead take into account their effect on the commercial development of new products and services, on the development of infrastructure, and of course on employment. The radical reform of the framework of all programs regarding unemployment, including the reform of obsolete legislation that governs apprenticeships and internships, is a crucial element for developing a highly skilled labor force. There must also be a review of parameters of the taxation policy that have a heavy impact on businesses and society at large, policies that obstruct the circulation of money and negatively affect the market and the real economy. These proposals are not unfeasible. They require bold and courageous policies. The Chamber will continue to support, through actions and programs, those policies and programs that should be inevitable in a well-governed democracy with a free economy. The assumption of the EU Presidency by Greece, and EU elections, provide a new opportunity to follow through on our priorities. Above all we need, by the political leadership, a proper briefing on current issues and an honest dialogue with the citizens of Greece which, sadly, is something that has disappeared from our public life. ELIAS SPIRTOUNIAS Executive Director

The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce A DYNAMIC, PROACTIVE CHAMBER The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce was established in 1932 and is one of the largest, most active, and dynamic American Chambers in Europe. Virtually all American companies that do business in Greece and Greek companies that engage in trade with the United States are members of the Chamber. The Chamber's membership is comprised of more than 1,000 proactive companies that seek to expand business horizons, create new business partnerships, and take advantage of trade and investment opportunities in today's global economy. The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce is an active mem-

2 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014

ber of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C. and the European Council of American Chambers of Commerce (ECACC).

MISSION STATEMENT

The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce strives for continuous improvement of American-Hellenic commercial and financial relations, through increased membership and through the organization of top-quality events, exhibitions, fora, seminars, and congresses on both sides of the Atlantic.


American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

COMMITTEES

Anastasopoulos Simos President | N. PETSIAVAS S.A.

AUDITORS COMMITTEE Members: Felonis Athanassios, Kerameas George,

Bakatselos Nikolaos Vice President | PYRAMIS METALLOURGIA A.E.

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE Chair: Papacostopoulos Constantine

Karayannis Angelos Vice President | KARAYANNIS K. GROUP OF COMPANIES Panayotopoulos Litsa Secretary General | BOSTON HAMILTON LTD. Papadopoulos Thanos Treasurer | CHEVELLAS S.A.

Sabatakakis Kyriacos | Coordinator: Andriana Chadjianagnostou

| Members: Apsouris John, Charalambous Yiangos, Dimou Ioannis, Hadjisotiriou Paula, Iliadaki Sassa, Petalas Apostolos, Shiamishis Andreas, Theodoulidou Maria | Coordinator: Daphne Constantinidou

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY COMMITTEE Members: Alexiou Maria,

Canellopoulos Paul Counselor | AIG GREECE

Constantelis George, Iliopoulou Sissy, Katsouli Katerina, Lolas Vassilis, Macheras Alexia, Menidiati Manina, Vrachatis Ioannis, Zevgoli Nafsika | Coordinator: Angela Boyatzis

Kyriacou Marios Counselor | KPMG CERTIFIED AUDITORS

ENERGY COMMITTEE Chair: Karayannis Angelos | Members: Alexopoulos

Mamidaki Eleftheria Counselor | MAMIDOIL-JETOIL S.A. Saracakis John Counselor | SARACAKIS BROTHERS S.A. Spirtounias Elias Executive Director

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Alexopoulos George | HELLENIC PETROLEUM S.A. Antonakou Peggy | MICROSOFT HELLAS S.A. Antoniades Vassilis | THE BOSTON CONSULTING GROUP

George, Desypris John, Ekaterinari Rania, Peristeris George, Rigas Mathios, Stassis George | Coordinator: Angeliki Dikeoulia

GREEK ECONOMY CONFERENCE COMMITTEE Chair: Αnastasopoulos

Simos | Members: Antoniades Vassilis, Bacacos George, Mamidakis Eleftheria | Coordinator: Angeliki Dikeoulia

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY & COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE Chair:

Poulidas Spyros | Members: Antonakou Peggy, Kolokotsas Dionisis, Monokrousos Antonis, Moraitis Andreas, Papadimitriou Pythagoras, Peppas Nikolaos, Tsiboukis Antonis | Coordinator: Georgia Mamali

INNOVATION, EDUCATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP COMMITTEE Chair: Panayotopoulos Litsa | Members: Darda Dimitra, Lelakis George, Makios Vassilios, Papadakis Georgios, Pateraki Evangelia, Persidis Andreas, Pilitsis Loukas, Printzos Michael, Raptopoulos Manos, Rizopoulos Yannis, Tsiboukis Antonis, Tsigos Dimitris, Tsoukalis Alexandros | Coordinator: Katerina Tzagaroulaki INSTITUTE ON ECONOMIC POLICY AND PUBLIC GOVERNANCE President: Yanos Gramatidis | Steering Committee: Kotsalos George, Koussia Venetia, Mina Zooullis, Nordkamp Erik, Van Pappelendam Robert | Executive Officer: Angeliki Dikeoulia INSURANCE, SOCIAL SECURITY & LABOUR MATTERS COMMITTEE Chair:

Costopoulos Alexandros | FORESIGHT STRATEGY & COMMUNICATIONS

Kremalis Konstantinos | Members: Andriopoulos Stavros, Apostolopoulos George, Canellopoulos Paul, Christidou Agni, Ioannou Christos, Κandarakis Michael, Karantzola Helen, Kikilias Elias, Kollas John, Konstantinidis Theodore, Kouskouna Froly, Koussia Venetia (Dr.), Lisseos Panayotis, Lyssimachou Triantafyllos, Michos Stathis, Oikonomopoulou Antouaneta, Pelidis Manos, Petroglou Athina, Poulias Alkiviadis, Prountzos Michael, Sarantopoulos Dimitris, Spyrakos Fotios, Spyropoulos Rovertos, Tompras Theodossis, Tzotzos Apostolos, Vafeiadis Ioannis, Velmachos Dimitrios, Vlassopoulos George | Coordinator: Voula Tseritzoglou

Coustas John | DANAOS SHIPPING CO. LTD

IPR COMMITTEE Chair: Galanopoulou Katerina | Members: Ailianou

Apostolides Pascal | ABBVIE PHARMACEUTICALS S.A. Bacacos George | P. BACACOS, CHEMICAL & PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS CO. S.A.

Kafatos Vassilis | DELOITTE BUSINESS SOLUTIONS S.A. Kartsanis Georgia | CEO CLUBS GREECE Kokorotsikos Paris | EUROCONSULTANTS S.A Kosmatos Makis | JOHNSON & JOHNSON HELLAS S.A. Kostas Stavros | Economist Kouidis Marilena | KOUIDES A.P.L. S.A. Koussia Venetia | MANPOWERGROUP S.A. Koutsoureli Eftychia | QUEST HOLDINGS S.A. Kyriakides John | KYRIAKIDES GEORGOPOULOS LAW FIRM Lazaridis Socrates | ATHENS EXCHANGE Lekkakos Stavros | PIRAEUS BANK S.A. Manos Alexandros | PIRAEUS BANK S.A. Mytilineou-Daskalaki Sophie | MYTILINEOS HOLDINGS S.A. Nordkamp Erik | PFIZER HELLAS A.E. Papadimitriou Pythagoras | HEWLETT-PACKARD HELLAS E.P.E. Papalexopoulos Dimitri | TITAN CEMENT COMPANY S.A. Papazoglou Panagiotis | ERNST & YOUNG (HELLAS) S.A. Passaris Despina | PROCTER & GAMBLE HELLAS M.E.P.E. Stylianopoulos Andreas | NAVIGATOR TRAVEL & TOURIST SERVICES LTD. Thomas Athanasios | DOW HELLAS A.E. Tsamaz Michael | HELLENIC TELECOMMUNICATIONS ORGANIZATION

Andromahi, Economou Alexandra, Kargarotos Iakovos, Kyriakides John, Makris Antonis, Michos George, Paparrigopoulos Xenophon, Zachou Dora | Coordinator: Daphne Constantinidou

LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE Chair: Miropoulos Artemis | Members: Kalligeros

John, Katsivelis Pavlos, Kerastaris Antonis, Kofinas Kyriakos, Mamidakis Eleftheria, Mavropoulos Michael, Olympios Spyros, Panteliadis Aristotelis, Rabbat Vassilis, Raptopoulos Emmanuel, Roussos Michalis, Saracakis Alexandros, Vlachos George | Coordinator: Ritana Xidou

MEDICAL DEVICES & DIAGNOSTICS COMMITTEE Chair: Liakopoulos

Theodore | Members: Anagnostopoulos Stefanos, Anastassiou Yannis, Baracos Christos, Boulougouris George, Christopoulou Martha, Deligiannis Konstantinos, Derkos Kalogridis, Kartalis Christos, Krinos Gregory, Lindholm Mangnus, Maroutsis George, Nikas Dimitris, Strouzos Anastasios | Coordinator: Voula Tseritzoglou

NORTHERN GREECE COMMITTEE Chair: Bakatselos Nikolas | Members: Alexopoulos Charis A., Gigilinis Alexandros, Kafatos Vassilis, Katsaros Georgios, Kokorotsikos Paris, Kouides Antonis, Kouimtzis Athanasios, Koukountzos Konstantinos | Coordinator: Nikos Tsavdaroglou PHARMACEUTICAL COMMITTEE Chair: Pascal Apostolides | Vice Chairman:

Filiotis Dionysios | Members: Capone Carlo, Charalampidis Savas, Commissaris Jeroen, Dakas Christos, Frouzis Konstantinos, Gerassopoulos Marcos, Greco Roberto, Karokis Antonis, Kefalas Nikos, Lakatos Matyas, Lorge Emmanuel, Nordkamp Hendrikus Hermannus (Erik) | Coordinator: Voula Tseritzoglou

PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE Members: Canellopoulos Paul, Kyriacou Marios, Papadopoulos Thanos, Saracakis John | Coordinator: Xidou Ritana

TAXATION COMMITTEE Chair: Stavros Costas | Members: Achilas Ioannis,

Altiparmakis Christos, Ampeliotis Evangelos, Anastasiadis Harris, Desipris Antonis, Doucas Spyros, Filippopoulos Dimitris, Gigantes Stavros, Govaris Vassilis, Kanellatou Athena, Kerameus George, Kyriakides Stelios, Laskaratos Panagiotis, Leventis Thomas, Lianopoulos Themis, Mitsios Stephanos, Nasiopoulou Maria, Panagiotidis George, Papadatos Eugene, Papandreou Cristina, Pothos Panagiotis, Samothrakis George, Savvaidou Katerina, Savvas Evangelos, Sfakakis Konstantinos, Spyriouni Litsa, Stavrides Vassilis, Stavropoulos Ioannis, Tapinos Grigoris, Trakadi Maria, Tsakonas Yannis, Yiannacou Sofoklis | Coordinator: Katerina Tzagaroulaki

TOURISM COMMITTEE Chair: Stylianopoulos Andreas | Members: Ananiadis Tim,

S.A. (OTE)

Argiri Byron, Fokas Makis, Marriott Carol, Mavropoulos Michael, Panayotopoulos Panos, Van de Winkel Bart, Vrachatis Ioannis | Coordinator: Angeliki Dikeoulia

Tsiboukis Antonis | CISCO HELLAS S.A.

WOMEN IN BUSINESS (WIB) COMMITTEE Chair: Kartsanis Georgia |

Xenokostas Panagiotis | ONEX S.A. Zanias George | NATIONAL BANK OF GREECE S.A.

4 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014

Members: Adamopoulou Efi, Anagnostopoulou Popi, Athanassoulas Elena, Dimou Maria, Katsou Nelly, Kazakopoulou Betty, Labrou Marica, Milona Martha, Panagopoulou Varvara, Tarou Iphigenia, Tzimea Deppie, Velliotou Peggy | Coordinator: Angela Boyatzis


REGIONAL MARKETPLACE

BY CHRISTOS CHRISTOU PARTNER, DRAKOPOULOS LAW FIRM

Next Stop: South East Europe

T

herefore, it comes as no surprise that South East Europe is the least developed part of Europe at large. But this is about to change. International tensions, political uncertainty, and corruption have prevented this part of Europe from keeping up with the rest of the continent. Following the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the creation of seven sovereign states in its stead (including the still disputed area of Kosovo), tension gradually subsided, and the region showed a keen interest in rapidly proceeding to an approximation with the rest of the continent. In 2007, Romania and Bulgaria joined Greece, the most developed country in the region, as full members of the European Union. The remaining countries have all gained the status of candidate or “potential candidate” member, securing valuable funding and technical aid from EU resources; Croatia became a full member in 2013. The international financial turmoil in existence over the last five years has slowed down the integration process initiated by the EU for this region. However, even during these difficult years, South East Europe keeps transforming itself into a single regional business area where obstacles for economic growth are lifted, one after the other. English is now a common language in the area, spoken fluently by a much more educated and skilled workforce, which is also familiar with new technologies. Together with a remarkable improvement of the ed-

ucation level of younger generations, most countries have displayed an impressive adjustment to the new international business environment by reducing their tax rates in all basic categories of taxation (corporate tax, income tax, and VAT), and by ensuring unprecedented records in “Ease of Doing

EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITIES CAN BE FOUND IN ALMOST ALL INDUSTRIES INCLUDING ENERGY, REAL ESTATE, LOGISTICS AND TRANSPORTATION, TECHNOLOGY, MINING AND AGRICULTURE.

Business” and other international rankings related to protection of the rule of law, human rights, and democratic processes. Approximation of laws due to accession or candidacy to the EU and other international organizations has significantly facilitated foreign investment and international trade. Although we must always keep in mind that South East Europe is a region of diverse jurisdictions, with economies varying from “pre-emerging” to “emerging” to “mature,” experience has shown that the key to

It is the last area in Europe to have witnessed a war, and the only corner of the continent where most countries are still not members of the European Union.

success in this region is to view it as a single market of around 60 million people with important cities and metropolitan areas, from Limassol on the south east, to Iasi and Chișinău on the north east, to Sarajevo on the north and Podgorica on the west. This diversification is a strength of South East Europe, as it provides excellent prospects both for conservative investment and rapid growth depending on the jurisdiction. With major infrastructure projects currently in place or under way throughout South East Europe, most often supported by government and EU funding, excellent opportunities can be found in almost all industries including energy, real estate, logistics and transportation, technology, mining and agriculture. Most countries are now engaging in ambitious privatization projects to improve their fiscal status and attract major foreign direct investment. Seeing this unique opportunity, Drakopoulos Law Firm is strategically positioned in the region, with main offices in the capital cities of three countries (Athens, Bucharest, and Tirana) and a presence in 8 more jurisdictions, to cover the ever-increasing needs of international clients who require a single interface for top quality legal advice as they penetrate or enhance their presence in the entire region, rather than in separate national markets.

C. Christou is an EU (Greek) qualified attorney with 16 years PQE and valuable experience in real estate and infrastructure, retail and logistics, FMCG, TMT, banking and capital markets, hotel and leisure, marketing and advertising in the wider South East Europe region. Email: cchristou@drakopoulos-law.com

JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | 5


CHAMBER NEWS

24th Annual Greek Economy Conference The Chamber held its 24th Annual Greek Economy Conference “The New Greek Economic & Production Model: Reform—Investment—Growth” on December 2 and 3, 2013 at the Athenaeum Intercontinental Hotel. The annual conference, one of the major events in Greece, hosted the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Ministers, members of government and the diplomatic, think tank, academic and business communities. This year’s event was marked by a strong presence of foreign delegates and press, who demonstrated a keen interest in developments in Greece. Members of the press, including BBC, Bloomberg, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal, met with the Chamber leadership in a series of meetings designed to brief the international media on the current developments in Greece as well as the positions of the Chamber on the Greek economy. In addition, a delegation of executives from the Brussels of office of Amcham EU, led by Amcham EU Director Susan Danger, attended the conference, participated as speakers, and met with key government officials to discuss the priorities of Greece’s EU Presidency term, from January 1-June 30. 2014 Conference speakers examined the position of Greece as it begins to emerge from years of recession and focused on new models for economic growth, reform, and investment. Chamber President Simos Anastosopoulos launched the conference that was attended by a record number of delegates. Nearly 1000 guests were present at the dinner at which Prime Minister Antonis Samaras presented the keynote address.

ANTONIS SAMARAS

EVANGELOS VENIZELOS

ALEXIS TSIPRAS

KYRIAKOS MITSOTAKIS

YANNIS MANIATIS

DAVID PEARCE

DIMITRIS KOURKOULAS

CHRISTOS STAIKOURAS

PAUL B. KAZARIAN

PEGGY ANTONAKOU

NIKOLAOS PEPPAS

SOCRATES LAZARIDIS

MATHIOS RIGAS

RANIA EKATERINARI

GABRIELE GIUDICE

GEORGES SIOTIS

6 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014


MARKO MRSNIK

COSTAS MITROPOULOS

MAXIME BUREAU

GEORGE KOUMOUTSAKOS

HENDRIK BOURGEOIS

ROBERT PECK

SIMOS ANASTASOPOULOS

YANOS GRAMATIDIS

ATHANASSIOS SKORDAS

GRANT CARSON

GEORGE KOUTSOS

PANOS PAPAZOGLOU

CONSTANTINE MICHALOS

ATHANASIOS ZYGOURIS

SPYROS PAPASPYROU

DAVID REED

YANNIS PERLEPES

VASSILIS STACHTOS

GEORGE ALEXOPOULOS

ED BUTLER

PANOS XENOKOSTAS

JAMES CHAPPELL

JOHN TERCEK

CHRISTOS CABOLIS

CHRISTOS ALEXAKIS

JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | 7


CHAMBER NEWS

Thanksgiving Dinner SIMOS ANASTOSOPOULOS

DAVID PEARCE

The Chamber and the International Propeller Club of the United States, International Port of Piraeus, held their joint Thanksgiving Dinner, on Wednesday, November 27, 2013, at the Hotel Grande Bretagne. United States Ambassador David Pearce was guest of honor, who

addressed the guests, and the Presidents of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and the Propeller Club spoke on the meaning of Thanksgiving and the need for compassion in todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s challenging environment. More than 400 distinguished guests attended this special gathering.

New Chamber Members The Chamber has recently added a strong roster of new members. CORPORATE MEMBERS

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERS

Evge Hellenic Food Company

Marfin Investment Group

Fast Group A.E.

Medstar Shipping & Transport S.A.

Febo Hellas S.A.

Metro S.A.

Fenetra Ltd.

Orbit Couriers S.A.

Food Standard S.A.

Papapolitis & Papapolitis

Foodrinco S.A.

Phoenix Ects Limited

Forever Living Products MEPE

Playmobil Hellas S.A.

Koimtzoglou, Ioannis

GFK Hellas Ltd.

Polykem S.A.

Kostas, George

Hahalis & Kounoupis P.C.

Praxis S.A.

Koukakis, Athanasios

Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator S.A.

Project Ltd.

Kritsidima, Metaxia

Proton Pharma S.A.

Intertrade Dental S.A.

Liarakos, Spiros

Qualco S.A.

ION S.A. Cocoa & Chocolate Manufacturers

Roche Hellas

Ionios School S.A.

S.C. Johnson Hellas Ltd.

Johnson & Johnson Consumer S.A.

SJM Hellas Ltd.

Karipidis Bros Co.

Tsibanoulis & Partners Law Firm

KBR Corporate Finance

Tzavelopoulos G. & Co.

Portokalidis, Georgios

Kyvernitis Travel

Vertical Solutions S.A.

Roussis Petsiavas, Christine

Magiras Diagnostics S.A.

Winmedica Pharmaceutical Ltd.

Tapinos, Gregory

8 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014

Anagnostara, Christina Anastassopoulos, Simos Botsos, Markos Gyftea, Evgenia Kakouri, Athina

Manos, Alexandros Niforos, Athanasios Papadimitriou, Stefanos Petsiava, Margarita


Policy Institute Christmas Gathering

AHEI: DOING BUSINESS IN THE USA

The Chamber’s Institute on Economic Policy and Public Governance held a special Christmas gathering at the Policy Institute offices on December 17. The President of the Chamber, Simos Anastosopoulos and the President of the Institute, Yanos Gramatidis, welcomed members, friends and supporters of the Institute. In addition, the Institute’s Research Scholars met the Board of Advisors, College of Scholars, Social Partners, and Steering Committee members of the newly formed Institute on Economic Policy and Public Governance. INTERNS AND MEMBERS OF THE INSTITUTE

The Chamber, in collaboration with the Chamber of Larissa and the local chapter of the Association of Young Entrepreneurs, held its 9th “How to do business in the USA” Seminar on November 26, 2013 at the Larissa Chamber’s Auditorium. The seminar is part of AHEI, an initiative of AmCham that reinforces bilateral trade between Greece and USA. On the occasion of the seminar, the Presidents of the two Chambers held a meeting at which they discussed how to foster relations of the two chambers and hold joint events and activities to highlight the potential of regional Greece in trade, exports and the attraction of investment. DOING BUSINESS SEMINAR PANEL—LARISSA

JOHN SARACAKIS, YANOS GRAMATIDIS

ROBERT VAN PAPPELENDAM WITH INSTITUTE INTERNS

Chamber Calendar January 23 Mercedes Benz Offices, 1st Roundtable Forum “Job Opportunities of the Future and Development of Entrepreneurial Spirit” January 27 Athens, Athenaeum Intercontinental Hotel, New Year’s Reception February 10 Thessaloniki, The Met, New Year’s Reception

SIMOS ANASTOSOPOULOS, SOPHIE KOUNENAKI-EFRAIMOGLOU, YANOS GRAMATIDIS

GEORGE KOTSALOS WITH INSTITUTE INTERNS

February 10 Thessaloniki, Tax Seminars for US Expats February 12 Athens, Tax Seminars for US Expats February 27 TUI Hellas Offices, 2nd Roundtable forum “Job Opportunities of the Future and Development of Entrepreneurial Spirit” March Athens, 10th Athens Tax Forum

JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | 9


BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

NON-CONTROLLING INTERESTS

Nikos Hountas, Audit & Assurance Partner, ABACUS Audit & Business Solutions, discusses the fine points of minority shareholder rights and legal recourse to abuse and misconduct.

Why should an investor put his money into a minority investment if a non-controlling interest does not allow him to be involved to the course of the company? Lack of control is a significant risk to minority shareholders. Good faith says there is relatively strong alignment of interests between minority and majority shareholders (by gaining market share, growing revenues, controlling costs, maximizing operating profits). But practice shows major conflicts of interests may arise when ‘slicing the pie.’ However, a legal framework protects a minority shareholder’s investment. A special resolution passed by a minority shareholder is an effective way to have a profound impact on corporate decision-making and get information. Any shareholder may request information concerning the affairs of the company. In addition, minority shareholders (depending on the size of their participation in the company), may apply to the court or for a special resolution, on the basis of conducting a special audit, as an investigation, and as a disclosure mechanism to complement minority shareholders’ information rights. In cases of severe “problems” identified or reasonably concluded within the company operations, even the replacement of the company management may be requested by the court.

chosen by the court). His/her mission is usually limited: It is often prescribed by the appointing authority, refers to specific acts of management, specific periods and does not extend to the general state of the company’s affairs. Normally, special audits address matters not audited on a regular basis, but that are important nevertheless. This approach will increase the importance of efficiency and effectiveness of the auditor, who should bring in proper insights and experience.

Defending the Rights of Minority Shareholders

The inquiry proceeding seems to be an important, if not the most important, source of minority shareholder protection. Indeed it is. If it establishes that violations of the law or the articles may have occurred, or argues that the affairs of the company are not being conducted in a prudent and hon-

est manner, a special audit, although not always a remedy itself, but the prelude to real solutions, such as a shareholder derivative suit, the oppression remedy (a statutory right available to oppressed shareholders), the exit (of a shareholder), or even the judicial dissolution of the company, is possible. The impact of the right to ask for an audit, because of its preventive effect, is greater than its actual use. Meaning that, the ability of requiring a special audit can instill confidence to shareholders. What can be the range of an auditor’s authority? The person(s) appointed to carry out the audit is, as a rule, independent (sometimes

What are the most common audit findings? A special audit can provide evidence to the shareholders for bringing a derivative suit to the directors, management and/or other shareholders of the corporation, for a failure by management. This type of suit often arises when there is fraud, mismanagement, self dealing (self-enhancement) and/or dishonesty which are being ignored by officers and the board of directors. Some findings can be: • Salaries or wages paid to fictitious employees or unusual amounts paid to directors • Money laundering • Fabricated property or overpaid property • Irregularities in purchasing, bidding, contracting • Transfer pricing issues and nominal expenses (organized by a controlling shareholder) • Directors or officers who allegedly used the corporation’s assets for personal gain

ABACUS ABS was founded in 2005 by ex-partners of PWC and delivers measurable value to clients through its professionals who offer proven audit, tax, consulting, enterprise risk and financial advisory services.  nhountas@auditabacus.gr; www.abacusnetwork.gr

10 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014


ALBA BUSINESS REVIEW

BY DR. BABIS MAINEMELIS ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR, ALBA GRADUATE BUSINESS SCHOOL AT THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF GREECE

The Power of Words

It

is often said that leaders “do” rather than “speak”--they produce change rather than stability. Taking this view to the extreme, however, ends up portraying leaders as mere implementers. Leaders envision, inspire, and mobilize others toward a desirable future, and they create a supportive context that enables change. Leaders, however, are rarely executors of organizational or social transformation. Without overlooking the practical necessity of implementation, great leadership taps the subtle art of inspiration. Leading in times of crisis is challenging precisely because of what leaders cannot do. Today, most organizational leaders cannot alleviate the financial strain of their employees, nor can they single-handedly reverse their workforce’s profound insecurity about the political instability and social turmoil of our world. But leaders can still inspire hope, resilience, and belief. Inspirational communication is the hallmark of inspirational leadership. It does not require budgets, investments, or elaborate plans, but rather, the willingness to master four principles: authenticity, caring, courage, and artful conversation. Authenticity radiates self-awareness and self-esteem. It is the opposite of ignorance and insecurity. Authenticity is not a stylized exposition of our polished “public self,” but a confident affirmation of our genuine self in-motion. It is an evolving process whereby we explore our identities, talents, and limitations through transparent social

interactions. Leader authenticity triggers inspirational communication, and inspirational communication allows, in turn, leaders to express and rework their most authentic characteristics. Inspirational communication requires intimate knowledge of the audience a leader wishes to inspire, as well as the creation of common cognitive and emotional ground for the subsequent leader-follower interactions. Leaders who genuinely care about their followers strive to understand and appreciate their moods, needs, and aspirations, a fact which actuates the crafting of powerful channels of inspirational communication. Courage is often in and of itself inspirational. Consider a meeting where everyone present knows the underlying issue that casts shadows over their relationships, but no one is wiling to address it. The team member who takes the courageous step to express the truth has a good a chance of inspiring and mobilizing others. This is more likely to happen when the courageous team member is the team leader. Inspirational leadership is not about making announcements, hiding behind small talk, or underplaying relational conflicts, but about having the courage to initiate and engage in real and often difficult conversations. Inspirational communication cannot be boring, conventional, or scripted. Artful conversations inspire us because they are open-ended, fluid, and imaginative. Some leaders trigger artful conversations by calling on their most eloquent traits—charis-

12 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014

There is growing frustration in the world with leaders who exhaust themselves (and others) in the reproduction of immaculately arranged but ultimately void strings of ‘blah’.

ma, verbal fluency, or the ability to creatively use symbols. Other leaders achieve the same effect by using works of art as transitional objects that trigger and carry the conversation in previously uncharted territories of deep reflection and meaning. When adversity and uncertainty rule, people grow hungry for great words that can touch and move them. Inspirational communication is an invaluable leadership quality that propels the development of thriving and resilient human communities across cultures and time.

Loaves and Fishes This is not the age of information. This is not the age of information. Forget the news, and the radio,
 and the blurred screen. This is the time of loaves 
 and fishes. People are hungry and one good word is bread for a thousand. DAVID WHYTE,
THE HOUSE OF BELONGING, 1996, MANY RIVERS PRESS.


NAMES & FACES

...in the news ▼ TODD PIERCE—COUNSELOR FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS Thomas (Todd) Pierce assumed duties as Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy, Athens in September 2013. Todd first served in Greece in 1994 and again from 1999 to 2004 when he served as press attaché for Ambassador Nicholas Burns. Other assignments took him to Ghana, Albania, Burma, Washington DC and, most recently, Turkey. Todd has identified his priorities as helping Greeks create more jobs for young people and helping strengthen Greek civil society organizations. He is a supporter of Prospect Burma, the London-based scholarship fund for Burmese students, and a member of Stanford PRIDE, the association of LGBT alumni. Todd studied at Stanford University, Oxford, and Yale. ▼ TAXATION TOPICS On December 18, the Chairman of the Chamber Taxation Committee, Stavros Kostas, spoke at a conference of the Institute of Economic Administration of the Hellenic Management Association (EEDE). He presented the new income tax code and the related tax procedure code (in effect as of January 1, 2014), highlighting their effect on the whole economy. Mr. Kostas discussed the concept of the E-Invoicing, which promises considerable added value for enterprises, their customers and the environment. Grigoris Tapinos also member of the Amcham Taxation Committee, also spoke, and referred to the necessity of improving the tax law preparatory steps to have effective and functional taxation policies. ▼ CAPITAL LINK FORUM Capital Link held its 15th Annual Capital Link Greek Investor Forum, “An Era of Opportunity,” at the Metropolitan Club in New York City on December 17th, 2013. Yannis Stournaras, Minister Finance, was keynote speaker. Held in cooperation with the New York Stock Exchange, the Forum provided participants with a comprehensive review of government reforms, policies, and objectives.

SPEAKER’S CORNER 14 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014

PRIME MINISTER MEETS SECRETARY PRITZKER Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met in Athens with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in November 21. The premier said the two discussed the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), between the United States and the European Union, which SECRETARY PRITZKER will become an object of negotiation between the two continents during the 2014 Greek presidency of the EU. Secretary Pritzker suggested that Greece should not focus on cutbacks alone, but on steps promoting growth, jobs, trade and entrepreneurship, which would benefit all Greeks. “Greece has taken important steps but a lot remains to be done,” she noted. “Greeks have covered a large part of a tough road to give up their efforts now,” she said.

AMCHAM DELEGATION IN ATHENS Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas on December 3 discussed specific proposals for boosting growth during the Greece’s European Union Presidency with a 15-member delegation of the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU, who DIMITRIS KOURKOULAS visited him in Athens.The representatives of the American business community active in the EU also discussed the Greek EU presidency’s agenda and progress in ongoing negotiations for the Translatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement. Also examined were the prospects of an EU banking union, energy issues, border control and standardization issues. The Amcham delegation also attended the Chamber’s Economy conference. The Amcham delegation also attended the Chamber’s Economy conference where they spoke on a variety of topics related to U.S.-EU trade and investment and held meetings with the leadership of Amcham Greece.

VALUE ADDED MAX

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. —Albert Einstein

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. —Robert Frost


MARIA HATZISAVVA BUSINESS COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST

Business English Why is it important for the business community to speak and write English well? There is a set of rules by which business people play and Business English is one. Knowing some English is not sufficient; business communication includes both language skills and a certain business mentality. Communication is a necessary tool and English is the number one business language in the world. How can these skills improve business between Greece and the U.S.? Greek businesses are seeking partnerships and clients abroad. Greek professionals have a lot to offer but need to work on their communication and language skills. It is a win-win game. For Greek professionals to become visible to international markets, they need to have this set of skills, by learning it or hiring someone to assist with their communication as a liaison or consultant. Why are writing skills especially important? A conversation over a business dinner may be successful. However, communication with a potential business partner must be successful at the next level as well, which is writing. A business deal is not a deal unless everything is in writing. That means many emails before a deal finalizes. We have a lot to learn from how Americans do business, with clarity and attention to detail. One needs writing skills to turn ideas into written proposals. One also needs to have a specific business mentality and behavior to successfully compete internationally.

▼ THE STATE OF THE STATE ADMINISTRATION Athens Law School student Daphne Yovanov, aged 19, received the top prize, as well as 3,000 Euros, for an essay, in English, submitted to a competition conducted by the Karatzas and Partners law firm on “The assessment of state structures, institutions and actors in a modern democracy.” From her essay: “Our democracy is the people. Not mistaken as a romantic notion, a chimera of a well-functioning, perfect and just regime, but rather as the reality of a country which has a good percent of its working population employed in its public sector. In a way, these non-elected trustees of portions of governmental authority and power strongly impact the overall performance and stability of our political system. The question arises: what can we expect when democracy is called upon to evaluate itself?” ▼ NATIONAL CHAMPIONS The Bank of Greece is calling for the active contribution of the credit sector to help bring sweeping change on the local business map aimed at the emergence of “national champions”, i.e. dominant companies in their sector that will cross the country’s borders and be able to compete in international markets. The credit system could play a key role by facilitating and encouraging the merging of forces for the creation of stronger and more competitive and export-oriented units. ▼ NEW COUNCIL ON EMPLOYMENT Government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos referred to the government’s decision to establish a Governmental Employment Council “To intensify our efforts against unemployment, we decided to form an Employment Council. In the council will participate all organizations that contribute in the creation of jobs. ▼ ALEXANDROS PETERSEN KILLED BY TALIBAN Dr. Alexandros Petersen, who recently joined the political science faculty at the American University in Afghanistan, was one of two Americans killed in the attack by the Taliban on the Taverna du Liban restaurant in Kabul on January 17. Dr. Petersen, a Eurasia specialist and who had Greek roots, wrote a series of six columns, Washington Outlook, for Business Partners in 2012. He was also an Advisor at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family.

THE COMPANY YOU KEEP

RISK AND REWARD

THE ULTIMATE i APP

—Philippos

—Jim Rohn

—Steve Jobs

Being sad with the right people is better than being happy with the wrong ones.

If you are not willing to risk the usual you will have to settle for the ordinary.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.

JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | 15


THE WORLD OF WORK

Randstad Hellas is a leading HR services company in Greece and each quarter, since 2010, conducts the Workmonitor survey to capture labour market trends locally. The Randstad Workmonitor survey for fourth Quarter 2013, explored employee expectations for 2014.

RANDSTAD WORKMONITOR

Employee Expectations for 2014 WORK AND HOLIDAYS

18% EXPECT A PAY RISE; 13% EXPECT A BONUS

Of those surveyed locally, 25% stated that they feel less secure about their jobs due to immigration of foreign employees. Only 14% stated that their working environment has changed in a positive way due immigration of foreign employees. Meanwhile, six out of

ten (61%) stated that working together with foreign employees adds value to their jobs.

MOBILITY INDEX DECREASES

The Randstad labour market “mobility index” assesses employee’s readiness to change jobs within the next six months. This is based on people’s current job satisfaction, their fear of being fired, their need to find new personal challenges and confidence in finding a job elsewhere. The mobility index for Greece decreased from 102 in Q3 2013 to 101 in Q4 2013. This result indicates that fewer employees expect to be employed elsewhere in the coming 6 months than they did last quarter. The global mobility index also decreased 2 points to 107 in Q4 2013. Like in the previous quarter in Greece, 13% are actively looking for a new job.

IMMIGRATION AND WORK

I EXPECT THE ECONOMIC SITUATION TO DETERIORATE IN 2014

75% 68%

16 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014

52%

50%

47%

48%

P. RE EC H CZ

AN CE FR

AY

A KI VA SL O

AN D

UK

AR Y

32%

HU NG

EY TU

RK

LY ITA

N

EE C

E

37%

GR

Only three out of ten (28%) of the respondents in Greece, believe they are given the opportunity to develop by their employer. Nevertheless, 77% stated that they personally put effort in the development of their skills and competencies in 2013. 57% also stated that they extended their knowledge through further training and education.

59%

55%

NO RW

55%

EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT

SP AI

In line with how employees feel about the economic situation in Greece, only 18% expect a pay rise this year and only 13% expect to receive a bonus. On the other hand, globally 58% expect to receive a raise and almost half (48%) expect to receive a bonus. It is interesting to note that in Turkey the percentage of the employees that expect to get a rise during the same period, is 78%.

The respondents were asked how easily they are able to let go of work when they are on holidays. 59% in Greece stated that the moment their holidays begin, they are able to let go of their work, however at the same time 59% also stated that they keep informed of what is going on at work regularly whilst on holidays as well. 32% stated that during their holidays they can’t resist reading their work emails continuously. The age group in Greece, that stays informed the most about work whilst on holidays, are those aged between 45 and 54. 62% stated that they keep informed of what is going on at work and 44% cannot resist reading their emails.

PO L

I

n Greece, only 17% of the survey respondents expect that the economic situation will improve in 2014. The survey found that the respondents in Greece are the least optimistic about the economic situation of all the 32 countries surveyed. Globally, 49% expect that the economic situation in their country to improve. In Greece however, 75% of those surveyed expect that the economic situation will deteriorate in 2014. This result is in line with other Southern European countries that do not see explicit signs of recovery (65%). Overall, in Greece, the older we get, the least confident of recovery we are. 84% of those in the 55 – 64 age group, are not optimistic of the economic outlook in 2014.


Of those surveyed in Greece in Q4, 13.4% stated that they changed jobs in the last six months, a decrease of 2.1% since Q3 2013. 30% indicated that they changed jobs in the last six months for better employment conditions, and a further 30% indicated they had a personal desire for change. 26% indicated their reason for job change was organisational circumstances (such as merger or reorganisation) and 17.7% was due to dissatisfaction with employer.

I EXPECT THE ECONOMIC SITUATION TO DETERIORATE IN 2014

78% 67% 54%

49% 40%

48% 42%

40%

36%

18%

RK EY

AK IA

TU

SL

SW

OV

ED EN

M UI LG BE

NM

50%

38%

36%

39%

S ND

ND TH

E

NE TH

ER

LA

LA ZE R

SW

SW

ED

EN

N SP AI

KI A VA

ND SL O

PO LA

LY ITA

AR

Y

Y

19%

HU NG

RM

AN

CE GE

AN

K FR

NM

AR

P. DE

RE H

UI M

CZ EC

BE

LG

CE

23%

22%

IT

24%

EE

40%

27%

20%

GR

36%

31%

30%

In Europe countries like Denmark (80%), Norway (78%) and The Netherlands (76%) have the highest job satisfaction levels. The latest Workmonitor survey indicates that employees in Greece (51%) and Hungary (48%) are the least satisfied in Europe, as the case in Q3 2013. The job satisfaction rate in Greece has decreased 1% since Q3 2013 (52%).

The Randstad Workmonitor was launched in 2003, and now covers 32 countries around the world including Greece. The Randstad Workmonitor is published four times a year, making both local and global trends in mobility regularly visible over time. The quantitative study is conducted via an online questionnaire among a population aged 18-65, working a minimum of 24 hours a week in a paid job (not self-employed). The sample size in Greece was 405 interviews, using Survey Sampling International. Research for the third wave in 2013 was conducted between 25 October and 12 November 2013.

DE

FEAR OF JOB LOSS (BY COUNTRY)

JOB SATISFACTION

THE RANDSTAD WORKMONITOR

ITA LY

CE FR

AN

UK

SP AI N

EE CE GR

Of those surveyed locally 36% expect that they would be able to find a comparable job within the next six months which is a decrease since Q3 2013 (-1.0). 42% also expect to be in a different job in the next six months, which is an increase of 3% since last quarter (39%). 50% of the respondents in Greece have a fear of job loss. Greece had the highest fear of job loss of all European countries and the 2nd highest globally after India at 51%.

AR K

CONFIDENCE IN FINDING A NEW JOB IN GREECE

Shaping the World of Work Randstad specializes in solutions in the field of flexible work and human resources services. Our services range from temporary staffing and permanent recruitment to HR Solutions (outplacement, career counseling and assessment centres, and inhouse services). The Randstad Group is one of the leading HR services providers in the world with top three positions in Argentina, Belgium & Luxembourg, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Greece, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States as well as major positions in Australia, Japan and the UK. For more information see www.randstad.gr. Good To Know You

JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | 17


BIZ BUZZ

2014­—10 Tech Trends 1  CITIES WILL GET SMARTER Cities will get increasingly smart as sensors and cloud-enabled apps connect transportation, metering, healthcare, lighting, and environment data.

2 MOBILE MONEY WILL CONTINUE TO GROW, AS WILL “MAGRI” Mobile money is enabling banking and financing systems in the developing world via mobile wallets, which should continue to grow.

3 WEARABLE DEVICES WILL PROLIFERATE Google has Glass and Samsung has a smartwatch, but Apple’s iWatch and many other smart wearable technologies are coming out soon.

4 IPADS AND TABLETS WILL GROW IN EDUCATION Tablet computing is increasingly attractive and affordable in education, and is likely soon to go mainstream, replacing desktop PCs or even laptops.

5 MOBILE FITNESS DEVICES WILL GROW EVEN BIGGER It is expected that mobile fitness devices such Jawbone Up and Fitbit Flex will start to focus on the whole range of health entering the tougher and more challenging healthcare industry.

6 LTE SUBSCRIBERS WILL DOUBLE AND 4G LTE WILL START TO ROLL OUT LTE is expected to be the next big hit with global users doubling in 2014.

7 DEVICE CONTEXT AWARENESS WILL ACCELERATE More wearables, more devices, and more intelligence. Our devices are going to get smarter about where we are, what we’re doing, and what they can do to help us.

8 OUYA AND OTHER “MICROCONSOLES” WILL DISRUPT HOME GAMING At just one-fifth the price of the latest Xbox, Ouya and other cheap interlopers pose a threat at the low end of the computer-based gaming market.

A START UP AT THE EDGE OF INNOVATION: PLANT-BASED EGGS Eggs are a cheap, abundant, and delicious source of protein. Still, they are “inefficient,” according to Josh Tetrick, founder Hampton Creek Foods, a San Francisco-based food technology startup that is trying to replace eggs with a plant-based substitute that’s cheaper, but just as tasty and just as good. The company points out that 1.8 trillion eggs are laid globally each year, and that chicken feed, much of which is soy and corn, requires vast amounts of land, water, and fossil fuels to grow, accounting for 70% of the cost of an egg. So far the company has secured financing from some of the tech industry’s largest venture backers and employs a team of biochemists, food scientists and software engineers that are modeling their efforts on processes first used in drug companies and the tech industry. They’ve looked at 1,500 plants on a molecular level. They then break down the proteins in those plants to replicate what eggs can do. Their first product, Just Mayo, is already a big hit.

9 PERSONAL CLOUDS WILL EXPLODE The public cloud is the NSA’s playground, some might think. So they’re turning to private cloud solutions and network-attached storage devices, right at home.

10 3D PRINTER SALES WILL JUMP 3D printers were hot in 2013, but they’ll increase significantly over the next 12 months as HP, Samsung, and Microsoft join the party.  Source: Juniper

Business Survival LOCATION, RE-LOCATION AND NEW CUSTOMER BASE

Survivors of the negative impacts imposed by the financial crisis in Greece are those companies that adapt, move fast, and think creatively. Among various options set to cope with difficult times, relocating to a more affordable location has become a popular method to decrease the costs of running a business. Everyday examples include the move of Apostolos Kasaidis, who repairs and sells vehicles. Facing the challenging market, Kasaidis took his business from Thessaloniki to a cheaper area 50 km away. Another example is Anna-Maria Mazaraki, owner of nine jewelry stores, who is taking advantage of weak commercial rents and moving some of her stores to more upmarket sites. That ensures higher footfall and gives customers the impression she must be doing well, she says.

18 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014


CSR IN PRACTICE Despite the economic downturn, Karelias and Sons SA in 2013 increased their sales by 8 percent. Based on the increase, the CEO announced a package of benefits and allowances that will be provided to the company’s employees. • Allowance for the Christmas turkey will be 200 Euros. • Bonus for employees who haven’t missed a day from work, (not clarified if summer leaves or day-offs are included), will be 800 Euros. • Employees who have children studying at a State University or a TEI will receive a bonus of 1,400 Euros. •A  dditional bonuses of 525 Euros will be available for employees whose children entered higher education (state) in 2012. • An Apple computer will be available for every employee’s child who entered higher education (state) in 2013. • Employees with salaries over 2,001 Euros will receive a bonus of 750 Euros. •E  mployees with salaries between 1,701 and 2,000 Euros will receive a bonus of 800 Euros. • Employees with salaries between 1,401 and 1,700 Euros will receive a bonus of 1570 Euros. •E  mployees with salaries between 1,201 and 1,400 Euros will receive a bonus of 1,600 Euros. • Employees with salaries between 1,001 and 1,200 Euros will receive a bonus of 2,550 Euros. •E  mployees with salaries under 1,000 will receive a bonus of 2,600 Euros. • Employees with salaries between 1,201 and 1,700 Euros who have 3 children will receive 750 Euros in addition to other bonuses. • Employees with salaries up to 1,200 Euros who have more than 2 children will receive a bonus of 450 Euros for every child. Those bonuses are tax and insurance free as fees will be covered by the company.  Source: newsit.gr

Greek Exports—Traditional and Digital: Room to Grow As a share of GDP, Greek exports remain at just over half the Eurozone average, with only 26% of the businesses exporting. Exporters’ priorities currently are to seek new markets and make more use of the Internet. Digilex, TaxiBeat, and Globo are some prime examples of innovative Internet-based companies that are expanding their reach to places like Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Mexico City, and China. Through its outward expansion, Globo has been the best performer on London’s FTSE AIM Index.

E-commerce in Greece E-commerce has significant prospects for development in Greece, despite its small penetration in the domestic business community, said Athens Economic University Professor George Doukidis (photo) at a recent Innovation Forum in Athens. According to Doukidis, the Internet economy in Greece totaled 1 percent of the country’s GDP, while the average rate in Europe surpassed 4 percent. He said that steps were being taken toward spreading e-commerce tools in the country, announcing the start of an e-commerce week, a practice used in other European countries. Stephanos Komninos, Secretary General for Commerce in the Development Ministry, said that the delay of e-commerce development in Greece is a European Union-related issue, attributed to the individual agendas of various country members. Komninos stated that regarding the spread of e-commerce, Greece possesses comparative advantages which include the presence of highly-skilled staff in the IT sector. Finally, he added that key to e-commerce growth are more-advanced services such as higher speeds, better security, and low-cost product delivery. The Greek EU Presidency will play a significant role toward a common e-commerce agenda. JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | 19


ECONOMICS OUT OF THE BOX

BY STRATOS PAPADIMITRIOU PROFESSOR OF TRANSPORT AND LOGISTICS, DEPARTMENT OF MARITIME STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF PIRAEUS

Economics—Out of the Box is a Business Partners series by members of the Chamber’s Institute on Economic Policy and Public Governance.

How the Rise of Asia Can Benefit the Logistics Industry (and Greece)

D

evelopments in the international arena related to global trade and logistics are increasingly important and create significant opportunities for Greece. Throughout most of the last century, the United States was Europe’s main trading partner. Due to the fact that Europe’s industrial base was in Western Europe, the main trade route was between the ports of Northern Europe the U.S. East Coast. As this trade expanded, the ports of northern Europe developed significantly, along with rail networks and the networks of inland waterways, creating the right conditions for these locations to become key logistics centers. And as Mediterranean ports were public in nature, in infrastructure design, supervision, as well as in the operation of terminals, productivity and reliability were inferior to the ports of northern Europe. The result of these circumstances was that sea cargo passed through the Suez and was unloaded in the ports of the North, even if their ultimate destination was south of the Alps, creating more environmental and transport problems on the already congested roads of Europe. And, of course, the ports of the South lost every opportunity to be a significant part of the European logistics network.

THE ROLE OF ASIA AND THE MIDDLE EAST

Today, this situation has clearly changed. Most ports in the Mediterranean, including the port of Piraeus, operate in more efficient ways, offering far better services. At the same time, flows through the Suez have increased, as the role of Asian and Middle Eastern countries as Europe’s trading partners, is steadily growing. This, according to all scenarios, will contin-

20 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014

ue for the next two decades, as the gradual economic dominance of China and India grows. It is estimated that China alone, by 2030, will have 20 percent of the global GDP. Simultaneously, there has been a gradual shift in the industrial center of Europe to the East, an enlargement of the EU, and economic development in Russia.These trends bring about new opportunities related to the capability to serve Europe from the ports of the Mediterranean and Black Seas. But to be effective, this strategic change requires significant improvements, not only in the operation of ports and all the services that interface with them, but above all, advances must be made in public services related to the processing and handling of documents and formalities. In a recent World Bank report on logistics performance (Logistics Performance Index 2012), Greece ranked in 69th oveall, while in a sub-index rating efficiency of customs and other border control authorities, our country occupied the 94th position. From this it is evident that radical structural changes are needed to capitalize on the significant opportunities presented. It is up to us whether we realize these opportunities, or, at the risk of once again losing a significant chance for meaningful change, ignore them and let others capitalize on shifting trends.


EXPRESS

YOUR SELF

We’d love to hear what you think of Business Partners articles, columns, and interviews. Please send a “Letter to the Editor” to info@amcham.gr or post your comments on the Business Partners portal: http://bponline.amcham.gr/ Make a comment, suggest ideas, submit proposals, start a conversation.

Everybody needs a Business Partner.

American - Hellenic Chamber of Commerce Head Office Politia Business Center, 109-111 Messoghion Avenue, 115 26 Athens Tel: 210 699.3559 | Fax: 210 698.5686, 210 698.5687 E-Mail: info@amcham.gr | www.amcham.gr

Branch Office 47 Vasileos Irakleiou Street, 546 23 Thessaloniki Tel: 2310 286.453, 239.337 | Fax: 2310 225.162 E-mail: n.tsavdaroglou@amcham.gr


SMART CITY, SMART LIVING

BY SPYROS POULIDAS GENERAL MANAGER, IBM GREECE & CYPRUS

Cities around the world are growing fast, as an increasing percentage of the world’s population lives in cities.

How Smart Cities Use Technology for Better Urban Planning

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rowing populations represent a huge challenge for governments and city planners. On the other hand, the opportunities for growing cities today are practically limitless. As the population of cities increases, cities must pay for new infrastructure while maintaining existing roads, water and wastewater facilities, schools and other public facilities and services. Effectively managing city assets is probably the single largest opportunity for cities to improve efficiency, save public funds and reduce waste and cost-overruns. Currently, Mayors and other governmental leaders are looking into ways to respond better to emergencies, conserve water, provide healthcare services, coordinate transportation and fight crime by embracing technology. As an example, water and energy loss can be a significant expense. Addressing issues in this area require greater visibility into what is happening across the network. Intelligent solutions today combine pressure and leak management, asset management and predictive analytics to help cities manage and identify the most likely pipes to fail causing a pipe burst, reducing both water and energy loss. Preventing crime and creating safer cities is another major priority for cities around the world. By leveraging on analytics technology—analyzing past events, recognizing

trends and patterns, and rooting out commonalities and correlations —law enforcement agencies all over the world can sort through information faster than before so as to get ahead of crime. And it helps to derive real insight in a near real-time way to prevent crime – this is the power of predictive analytics. In the area of reversing traffic’s toll, technology evolves to improve the daily commute. Cities can now better manage traffic by using variable toll pricing for certain hours of day to facilitate traffic flow across the city. In addition, by leveraging on analytic software, cities can predict traffic in order to take action to minimize the congestion. As an example, in France, Germany and the Netherlands, transportation planners have used IBM Cloud based- analytic software to predict how fast the traffic will be flowing up to 45 minutes later.

TODAY, A CITY’S SUCCESS IS MEASURED BY HOW WELL IT MAINTAINS A HIGH QUALITY OF LIFE FOR ITS PEOPLE, AND HOW SMART IT IS IN BUILDING PROSPERITY ON A SUSTAINABLE FOUNDATION.

22 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014

City leaders are reshaping cities with evidence-based decisions. They can view their city’s vital signs on a computer dashboard to find out instantly what’s working well and what isn’t. By synchronizing and analyzing work in real-time, they can have aggregated and correlated information that helps them anticipate rather than just react to problems. In Brazil, Rio de Janeiro offers one of the boldest examples of a city tapping into virtual data to improve physical operations. The city has today integrated information from over 30 city departments into one Operations Center for real-time visualization, management and analysis of incidents across the city. The system initially was used to forecast flash floods to improve emergency response but it now helps the city manage traffic, public safety and other critical city systems. Technologies like Cloud Computing offer a tremendous opportunity to improve the efficiency of city and municipal governments. By allowing cities and agencies to reduce their spending on IT infrastructure, to scale easily, and consolidate information and services from across local government into a single, integrated system, Cloud Computing can provide cities an advantage. In the past, growth was the main measure of economic success. Today, a city’s success is measured by how well it maintains a high quality of life for its people, and how smart it is in building prosperity on a sustainable foundation.


TRAVEL USA

On the occasion of Greece’s entry into the Visa Waiver Program, the U.S. Commercial Service of the American Embassy in Athens is showcasing all 50 states and five territories in Business Partners.

Discover America—Minnesota ★

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innesota is a land of contrasts. Here you can follow the secluded canoe trails of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, or have a houseboat adventure in Voyageurs National Park. There are Northwood’s golf and spa resorts, nearly 12,000 lakes including the world’s largest - Lake Superior, the headwaters of the Mississippi River and the state also claims world class cities with internationally acclaimed arts, unique entertainment acts and venues, and professional sports teams. The Minneapolis and Saint Paul metropolitan area has a thriving theatre scene with more seats per capita than anywhere outside New York. The Historic State and Orpheum Theatres in Minneapolis and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in Saint Paul host Broadway productions as well as other musical acts. The highly regarded Guthrie Theater’s repertory company stages Shakespeare and contemporary American playwrights. Internationally acclaimed rock, pop and country stars hold forth at the Target Center and Xcel Energy Center. World-class museums abound, such as the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Walker Art Center and Sculpture Garden, Weisman Art Museum, Museum of Russian Art and Science Museum of Minnesota. Grand Portage and Pipestone National Monuments preserve the rich Ojibwa and Dakota American Indian and fur trapping heritage. Minnesota is home to the International Wolf Center, North American Bear Center and National Eagle Center.

THE NORTH STAR STATE LAND AREA 79,548 square miles; 1/3 of the land area is forest POPULATION 5.2 million STATE CAPITAL Saint Paul LARGEST CITY Minneapolis LOCAL TIME CST – 8 hrs. behind Greece CLIMATE Four distinct seasons NATIONAL PARKS Voyageurs National Park, Mississippi River National Recreation Area and Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway. There are 74 State Parks.

MINNEAPOLIS

 For more information: Explore Minnesota Tourism Tel: 00 1 651 296 5029 E-mail: explore@state.mn.us Website: http://www.exploreminnesota.com

JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | 23


THE INTERVIEW

JAPONICA PARTNERS

PAUL B. KAZARIAN

Why "GREECE is A+" The below 25 questions are organized in five groups: Group A: About Japonica THIS BUSINESS Partners. Group B: A New Era Sovereign Accounting. Group C: A New World in Sovereign Bond Investing. Group D: Greece is A+. Group E: Extraordinary PARTNERS INTERVIEW Growth in Greece. WITH PAUL B. KAZARIAN, FOUNDER, CHAIRMAN, AND CEO OF JAPONICA A. About Japonica Partners PARTNERS, FOLLOWS Tell us a little about Japonica Partners and your investment philosophy? HIS KEYNOTE ADDRESS Japonica Partners is an entrepreneurial investment firm that makes concentratAT THE 24TH ANNUAL ed investments in underperforming global special situations. The firmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s investment philosophy is based on intrinsic value in the Graham and Dodd school GREEK ECONOMY of investing. Japonica, founded in 1988, is not a fund and does not provide investment advice. CONFERENCE WHICH TOOK PLACE IN ATHENS How important is your team and research to your investment decisions in Greece? IN DECEMBER 2013. Our team of over 70 professionals has worked over 22 months analyzing Greece which gives us an unparalleled and unreplicable competitive advantage. Japonica has three goals for Greece: (1.) to repeat its extraordinary fiscal performance with extraordinary growth; (2.) to regain access to the global credit markets in early 2014; and (3.) to be the first country in the EU to publish world-class GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) financial statements. Our team will discuss more of our research at a New Era in Sovereign Accounting Thought Leader Symposium in London on February 17th. When did you start buying Greek government bonds and how would you characterize your four billion euro Dutch auction for six series of Greek Government bonds (GGBs)? We began buying GGBs in spring 2012 with a low price of 11.4% of par. We commenced the Dutch auction for select GGBs as an innovative procurement

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solution in a market where buying cost effectively requires creativity. By way of disclosure, Japonica is one of the larger, if not the largest, holders of the GGBs. Would Japonica consider exchanging some of its government bonds for assets? Japonica would consider exchanging a portion of its GGBs for assets as we have a successful track record of doing so in the past with Allegheny International, which was a Fortune 300 global brand powerhouse. Japonica’s three core competencies focus on businesses. We refer to them by the initials “D-C-C”: Discovering value gaps, Changing cultures and misperceptions, and Creating value through hands-on management. How has your Armenian heritage influenced you and your investment philanthropy? A significant portion of our philanthropy is dedicated to empowering great aspirations in the whole human family. A number of our senior executives are descendants of Armenian Genocide survivors. Japonica is a socially responsible investor supporting the communities in which it invests. We are strong believers in education, education, education. Commencing in 2014, we will support those who share our passion for seeing governments, especially sovereigns, use world-class GAAP to improve decision-making and increase accountability.

B. A New Era Sovereign Accounting What is New Era Sovereign Accounting? New Era Sovereign Accounting is passionately embracing world-class GAAP accounting to improve decision-making and increase accountability. It means better numbers that reflect economic reality and means better performance. It is better standards, better financials, and better audits. Governments should embrace world-class GAAP as they must be held to a higher level of accountability than businesses or NGOs. What is world-class GAAP in terms of sovereign accounting and what are the primary characteristics? World-class GAAP has progressed over time to produce financial statements that reflect economic reality and are highly comparable and transparent. The world-class GAAP standards are guided by a diverse group of experts, largely independent of governments and not subject to the whims of special interest groups. For governments, the most highly regarded--and indeed the only existing world-class--standards are the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). Can you explain the difference between legal obligation accounting and world-class GAAP? The current accounting standards utilized by Greece are based on legal obligations, not world-class GAAP. For example, many standards are legal obligation reporting requirements based on the 1992 Maastricht treaty. Legal obligations do not have the integrity of an accounting framework that reflects economic reality. Much of this anachronistic system was designed before accrual accounting was applied to governments. This approach is a completely irrational legal

hodgepodge that no one would aspire to adopt. What topics will be discussed at the New Era Sovereign Accounting Symposium to be held in London on February 17th? In addition to the two keynotes, one addressing the New Era in Sovereign Accounting globally and the other keynote addressing the New Era Sovereign Accounting Formula for Greece, there are eight topics: (1.) Improving decision-making, (2.) Increasing accountability, (3.) Reflecting economic reality, (4.) Bestin-class financial statements, (5.) Adopting world-class accounting, (6.) Benefits to institutional investors, (7.) Rating agency responsibilities, and (8.) Investment bank responsibilities. How does New Era Sovereign Accounting (worldclass GAAP) create better numbers and better performance? World-class GAAP financials that reflect economic reality improve decision-making and increase accountability. The New Zealand and Canada case studies are both excellent examples. Two dimensions of performance will be discussed at the Symposium including: performance from an owner/investor perspective and performance in terms of delivery of services and benefits.

C. A New World in Sovereign Bond Investing Why is it a new world in sovereign bond investing? The world of sovereign bond investing changed in March 2012. The 200 billion euro Greece default rewrote the risk-reward rules for local country law sovereign bonds. New collective action clauses are changing bondholder rights. Internationally recognized NGOs and scholars are sending clarion calls to bond investors that sovereign rejuvenation takes priority over investor rights. Today, rising interest rates make even the highest investment grade bonds money-losers, pushing investors to look for spread contraction opportunities by analyzing sovereign financial statements and not blindly accepting ratings. This topic will be discussed extensively at the Symposium in London on February 17th. What liability exposure do credit rating agencies and investment advisors have for not publically advocat-

JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | 25


THE INTERVIEW ing and analyzing world-class GAAP sovereign financial statements? In the new world in sovereign bond investing, both rating agencies and investment advisors should understand the potential litigation risk and their massive legal exposure. Individual sovereign issuers have hundreds of billions--in some cases trillions--of bonds under rating, and the issuers need not default for investors to sustain massive losses. Advocating world-class GAAP sovereign accounting and the due diligence of sovereign financial statements is the bedrock of legal protection for these rating agencies and investment advisors from jury decisions that could overwhelm their capital bases. What other sovereigns or public sector organizations use world-class GAAP? Two of the best sovereigns to report world-class GAAP financials and use them in decision-making and budgeting are New Zealand and Canada. An investor need only to read their financials to see an amazing new era in sovereign accounting and the benefits to all stakeholders. We will discuss these two benchmarks at length during the Symposium in London on February 17th. Why do you say a New Era in Sovereign Accounting will be one of the highest impact items of 2014? New era sovereign accounting will be one of the highest impact action items in 2014 because it offers tools to drive extraordinary growth. Better numbers means better performance. Better returns on government investments, better decision-making, better allocation of resources, and better accountability. What are the benefits to institutional investors of a new era in sovereign accounting? Institutional investors should be educated to see the new era in sovereign accounting as a cornerstone of their analysis to lower risk and improve returns. In a rising rate environment, highly rated bonds will lose money. As a fiduciary of funds, the most basic and essential cornerstone is investment analysis and due diligence of financial statements and footnotes. The days of using the excuse of hugging the index to explain away losses on sovereign bonds are over. The most socially responsible institutional investors will be activists encouraging sovereigns to adopt world-class GAAP.

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D. Greece is A+ What do you mean Greece deserves two A+ grades? The first A+ is a grade based on extraordinary fiscal accomplishments and recent performance relative to higher rated peers. The second refers to the credit rating. Here, world-class GAAP accounting is key. The current economically irrational and anachronistic accounting obfuscates that Greece merits an A+ credit rating and government bond interest costs below 5%. How is Greece debt to GDP below 100%, and does it matter? Japonica has dedicated over 22 months applying world-class GAAP to Greek legal obligation accounting. A careful review of the library of output shows an accounting that reflects economic reality and debt to GDP ratio well below 100%. Yes, reporting debt to GDP below 100% would assist in driving Greece borrowing cost to 5% or below and be a catalyst to extraordinary growth, now. How does Greece fiscal performance since 2009 compare globally? (See table.) Greece fiscal performance since 2009 is extraordinary. Greece has advanced to 1st place from last place in only five years on two of the most important fiscal performance indicators: structural balance and cyclically adjusted primary balance. This is an accomplishment that most believed was impossible. Greece is now ready to repeat its extraordinary performance with extraordinary growth

GREECE FISCAL PERFORMANCE VS. WORLD-CLASS COUNTRIES STRUCTURAL BALANCE - EC DATA (% of Potential GDP) 2014

2013

PRIMARY BALANCE - IMF DATA (Cyclically Adjusted, % of Potential GDP)

2009

2014

Rank Greece Sweden

2013

2009

Rank

1st

1st

27th

Greece

5th

2nd

1st

Singapore

Fiscal Performance Indicator Greece

1.0%

1.2%

-14.8%

Sweden

-0.2%

0.5%

2.7%

1st

2nd

30th

3rd

3rd

6th

Fiscal Performance Indicator Greece

5.4%

4.2%

-13.6%

Singapore

3.3%

3.6%

-0.4%

Has the difference in reported financial results between the current legal obligation accounting and world-class GAAP changed for Greece since 2010? Yes. Since 2010, Greece has incurred several dozen transactions/events that require accounting assessment under world-class GAAP, including IPSAS for the public sector, which is based on IFRS for companies. Each of the major transactions--such as the 2010 official sector intervention and the 2012 private sector involvement--is composed of multiple accounting transactions/events that require treatment in accordance with world-class GAAP. Why does Japonica believe that Greeceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interest rates should be below 5% and its GGB strip price above 85? Our team built a Graham and Dodd inspired intrinsic value model based on economic reality and world-class GAAP to discover what is hidden-in-plainsight. We assess the health of Greece financial position based on sustainability, flexibility, and vulnerability. Anachronistic accounting rules hide the huge pro-


gress that Greece has made. In fact, most Greece credit metrics are superior to AA+ rated France as well as superior to investment grade Italy and Spain. Based on these superior fundamentals and performance metrics, Greece government bond yields should be 5% or below and prices in excess of 85% of par.

“Now is the time to E. Extraordinary Growth in Greece recognize that the What is Japonica’s Greece accounting formula? (See table.) current economically Japonica’s New Era Sovereign Accounting Formula is that adopting world-class GAAP accounting (now!) equals a debt to GDP ratio well below 100% (now!) irrational accounting which equals extraordinary growth for Greece (now!). is the single biggest and most easily GAAP = (D/GDP<100%) = Growth removed obstacle to extraordinary growth Now! Now! Now! in Greece.” Why do you say the current legal obligation accounting requirements are WORLD CLASS

A+ CREDIT METRIC

EXTRAORDINARY

the single biggest obstacle to growth in Greece? The current economically irrational and anachronistic accounting obfuscates that Greece merits an A+ credit rating and government bond interest costs below 5%. Now is the time to recognize that the current economically irrational accounting is the single biggest and most easily removed obstacle to extraordinary growth in Greece. Why do you say Greece’s GDP growth will be extraordinary if it adopts world-class GAAP and its borrowing cost drops to 5% or below? Greece can join the best in the world and set a historic pace to lead the EU as the first to adopt world-class GAAP. The debt to GDP ratio will reflect economic reality and be well below 100%. And, with borrowing costs at or below 5%, GDP growth will be extraordinary. There will be a special segment at the Symposium dedicated to sharing research on how a seismic drop in government borrowing costs can create extraordinary economic growth. Would you discuss the timetable you disclosed at the AmCham Conference for Greece publishing world-class GAAP financial statements? (See table.) Japonica’s recommendation is that Greece expeditiously adopts world-class GAAP (IPSAS) in a six-phase timetable. This timetable allows for three early wins in 2014 that remove a key obstacle to extraordinary growth in GREECE. Completion Date

What is the status of EPSAS and why it is not an alternative for Greece? To put the musings of EPSAS in the same context as time tested and globally respected IPSAS is to compare something that might never be realized in any credible form with the highly impressive and time tested IPSAS. We strongly disagree with a European official’s public statement that there is “no rush” to adopt accounting that reflects economic reality. The opportunity for extraordinary growth in Greece is now, and every day lost is a day that cannot be regained.

IPSAS Phases

Outside Audit Firm(s) Deliverables

1.

January 2014

Build world-class accounting advisory board for GREECE – Japonica

Participation

2.

March 31, 2014

Government Debt – Preliminary Estimate

Agreed upon procedures

3.

June 30, 2014

Government Debt – Final

Opinion letter

4.

December 31, 2014

IPSAS 28, 29, and 30 (Financial Instruments)

Opinion letter

5.

December 31, 2015

IPSAS 7, 9, 16, 17 (Assets)

Opinion letter

6.

June 30, 2016

World-class audited financial statements

Audited financial statements signed by two firms

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THOUGHT LEADERS

ENERGY

MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND 28 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014


ENERGY, AFTER ALL, NOT LOVE OR MONEY, MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND. BUSINESS PARTNERS PRESENTS THOUGHT LEADERS IN ENERGY WHO DISCUSS THE CHALLENGES, OPPORTUNITIES, AND KEY ISSUES IN TODAY’S COMPLEX, EVOLVING, AND CHARGED ENERGY MARKET. SECURING RELIABLE ENERGY SOURCES, MEETING THE NEEDS OF ALL ENERGY CONSUMERS, AND PROTECTING AGAINST ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION LEAD THE AGENDA FOR POLICY MAKERS, ENERGY PRODUCERS, AND CONSUMERS. Raymond Matera

JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | 29


THOUGHT LEADERS

Priorities of the EU Presidency

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YIANNIS MANIATIS MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, ENERGY, AND CLIMATE CHANGE

he upcoming 2014 Greek Presidency is a major challenge not only for Greece but for Europe and its institutions as well. This is an opportunity that Greece has to exploit and to contribute to formulating the general framework within which Europe and our country could address the major challenges in the energy sector. Europe is facing ongoing economic and an environmental crisis, strongly related to climate change, to the economic model we adopted and to the level of integration of the European Union. The challenge we face for the next period is to overcome this crisis and at the same time to pave the way for building a new productive and sustainable economic model for Europe and Greece. Especially for our country and other countries

The challenge we face for the next period is to overcome this crisis and at the same time to pave the way for building a new productive and sustainable economic model for Europe and Greece

in the periphery of Europe, whose people lived painful consequences and made great sacrifices for the last 5 years, it is vital and the proper timing to overcome the financial constraints, generate new wealth, create new jobs and look optimistically to the future. The latest developments, especially over the last 7-8 years, have brought tremendous changes in

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geopolitics, mainly driven by developments in energy related issues. Countries that until recently were energy importing countries, have transformed into self-sufficient and energy-exporting countries while other countries that based their economy over the past years on domestic production and exports, are becoming high consumption countries. The priorities of the Greek Presidency are largely determined by two landmark dates for the development of the EU’s energy strategy, namely the 2014 deadline set for completing the internal market and the 2015 deadline by which no member-state should remain isolated from Europe’s gas and electricity networks. The Greek Presidency will be associated in several ways with the European Council of March 2014, which will be devoted to the review of the European 2020 Strategy and to the consideration of the Energy and Climate framework for 2030. The Greek Presidency will seek to move forward EU’s energy and climate policies post 2020 and the adaptation of “A 2030 Framework for Climate and Energy Policies.” The timely establishment of a 2030 framework is vital in order to give investors security regarding the objectives and policies which will be in effect, to mobilize funding and ensure that the corresponding research and innovation is undertaken to support the new goals. In view of the 2015 International Climate Change Agreement, delineating a clear position will facilitate EU’s ability to engage actively with partners and assume a prominent and constructive role in the process. Greece’s approach will be pragmatic in order to determine the type, nature and level of the 2030 targets enabling the EU to meet its long-term climate goals while taking into account the ongoing economic crisis, the varying capacities of member-states and the concerns of households for energy affordability and of businesses for competitiveness. The consideration of the energy cost issue from


the perspective of cost for end-use households and especially vulnerable consumers is another important priority. We intend to give special priority in promoting activities and exchanging best practices that will enable consumers to fully benefit from the internal market and to exercise rights and options available to them, while ensuring adequate protection for vulnerable consumers. To this end, the Greek Presidency will also give priority to energy-saving initiatives and the promotion of energy efficiency as appropriate measures to help reduce problems faced by vulnerable consumers and address the issue of energy poverty. Moreover, we intend to promote actions and exchange best practices to enable consumers to fully benefit and exercise their rights and choices, as well as on ensuring that vulnerable consumers are adequately protected. In this context we will set as our priority the importance of energy efficiency improvements as a cost-effective form of assistance in addressing consumer vulnerability and energy poverty. Availability of affordable energy for households and competitive prices for businesses are also key issues for the success of the Internal Market and they constitute a priority for the Greek Presidency. It is a great challenge for us to succeed to provide cheap electricity to vulnerable, weak, low-income households. Another important issue is energy security and energy infrastructure. During the Informal EU Ministerial Energy Council of May in Athens, important developments on the diversification of sources and routes in the Union will be discussed. They will include development in the Southern Corridor, supplying the EU from the Caspian, and the Eastern Mediterranean that can be an important new source of power following the recent hydrocarbon exploration, as well as the appropriate tools for financing Projects of Common Interest (PCIs), and their support among others with, innovative financial tools such as advanced loans, project bonds, will also be discussed. We underline the necessity of reforms that can bring new investments to Europe, while environmental protection, the quality of the natural environment and the sustainable management of natural resources should be safeguarded. At the same time, Greece will highlight issues such as the protection of European biodiversity, ‘blue’ development and maritime spatial planning that

offer opportunities for investment and employment, as well as on how to get the European Union to focus on sustainability and the horizontal “greening” of all actions and individual sectors (rural development, tourism, industry, etc.). Our priorities reflect the anxieties of European societies and of course of the Greek society. We

We underline the necessity of reforms that can bring new investments to Europe, while environmental protection, the quality of the natural environment and the sustainable management of natural resources should be safeguarded

need growth, jobs, especially for the youth, protection of the European welfare state and the environment. This is a vital need for all nations. For Greece there is only one option: to succeed. I am absolutely confident that the coming months will give us this opportunity which is nowadays becoming a prospect and reality.

JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | 31


THOUGHT LEADERS

Continued Uncertainty in Energy Policies

E ANGELOS KARAYANNIS PRESIDENT, ENERGY COMMITTEE, AMERICAN-HELLENIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Other, less known forms of renewable energy such as biomass, geothermal, solar thermal and heat recovery offer significant growth potential and new business opportunities

rroneous energy planning by the State and the financial crisis have led to yet-to-be resolved adjustments in the Greek energy sector. The violent adaptation of RES and policy failures are not, however, exclusive to Greece; similar developments across Europe are causing a radical shift in the energy market. To assess the direction the Greek energy sector, we must take into account important developments in Greece and abroad. In Greece • Structural deficits in the energy market and in the system of payments • Problems in the banking system and the resulting liquidity crunch • The unwillingness and inability of industrial and retail energy consumers to pay for the premium of renewable energy • The loss of bankability of Power Purchase Agreements and the associated lack of access to financing for renewable energy projects • Technical limitations of the Greek energy system in absorbing the energy produced from intermittent RES • Heavy allocation of resources by the private sector in the wind and photovoltaic market, despite the growing evidence of saturation in the course of 2000s Internationally • Pressure from European industry for a level playing field related to costs imposed through the Emissions Trading Scheme • The collapse in the prices for carbon credits which led to the infamous “backloading” intervention • Technological developments, such as fracking and the resulting discoveries in shale oil and gas, causing rearrangements of geopolitical significance in the global energy map

32 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014

• Large energy infrastructure projects such as TAP • European politics shaping the formulation of a common energy policy and the role of renewables in Europe’s energy future • Continuous pressure from environmental organizations and civil society to further reduce the use of fossil fuels in industry and transport Undeniably, the Greek energy system is plagued by structural deficits in the balance of payments. A long overdue policy intervention which will seek to bring the balance of payments back in order is imminent and investors are facing more uncertainty than ever. The so called “New Deal” for the renewable energy sector will seek a compromise between two seemingly conflicting objectives and any solution will come with a downside for either producers or consumers of energy. On the one hand, industrial and retail energy consumers seem both unwilling and unable to pay for the premium entailed in the current feed in tariff system for renewable energy, and even more so for an increase via the renewable energy tax. On the other, retrospective reductions in the feed-in tariffs guaranteed by Power Purchase Agreements will deal an additional blow to the confidence of Greek and foreign investors to the Greek economy in general and to the renewable energy sector in particular. Regardless of its current problems and policy inconsistencies, Greece appears firmly committed to support the further penetration of renewable sources in the energy mix and achieve the goals set at the EU level. Therefore, and despite the limited growth potential for the wind and photovoltaic sector, other less known forms of renewable energy such as biomass, geothermal, solar thermal and heat recovery offer significant growth potential and new business opportunities.


Balancing Security of Supply, Environmental Protection, and Low Cost Energy

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oday, the long term European energy policy is at the top of the agenda, as competitiveness, which is directly linked to the cost of energy, is a key requirement for Europe. But the energy issue and an ‘’affordable’’ energy strategy is critical not only for economic reasons but also to protect social cohesion. Over the past years, significant renewables penetration in the generation mix has changed how the power system model works and how the various players are compensated. Under those new market conditions, new investments are required to ensure system sustainability and security of supply, including investments in network infrastructure, flexible power plants for provision of ancillary services, electricity storage investments, etc, together with the introduction of new regulation to adequately compensate old and new market players for their role. However, all these come with a cost and thus we need to carefully calculate the ‘’all-in’’ cost of the new energy landscape over the next decade and how this cost will be allocated between the different customer segments, from industrial consumers to low income households. Equally important is the issue of access to funding, within an uncertain market and regulatory environment for power utilities, with tremendous pressure on their profitability as a result of lower demand and high penetration of renewables. Balancing ‘’security of supply,’’ ‘’environmental protection,’’ and ‘’low cost energy’’ seems a very difficult exercise, with conflicting interests. Finding the ‘’happy medium’’ requires open and sincere dialogue, careful planning and collaboration between all interested stakeholders, including the State through the introduction of the right policies, fiscal and tax regime, etc., together with the energy players who need to adjust their strategies and further rationalize their operations, the regulators who must provide visibility, the financial institutions to provide funding and the end-consumers, who need to embrace en-

ergy efficiency initiatives. In Greece, these issues are equally critical, on top of a prolonged recessionary environment, with high unemployment, very restrictive access to capital and high cost of debt. Furthermore, Greece is a small market, geographically at the corner of Europe, thus historically experiencing higher cost of imported fuels compared to the rest of Europe. Energy costs were further burdened over the last years as a result of tax increases imposed for fiscal adjustment while, on the regulatory side, reforms in the energy market are still ongoing. Currently, the major issue of the Market Operator’s deficit also needs to be resolved. Last but not least, because security of supply is important for Greece, local resources like lignite, water and wind, must continue to be exploited in the generation mix, while at the same time landmark projects for islands interconnection must be promoted. Regarding Public Power Corporation, and despite the challenging conditions of the last five years, the Company has undertaken notable initiatives to support Greece’s energy strategy for competitiveness, sustainable growth, environmental protection and security of supply. Such initiatives include the realization of investments of almost € 3 bn—the highest investments realized in Greece within the last period—most of which relate to environmental capex in power generation (gas, hydro, renewables), replacing old and polluting capacity, as well as investments in network upgrades. At the same time, PPC has been taking significant actions to support vulnerable social groups (today social tariffs are offered to more than 470,000 consumers, with thousands of bill settlements every day). In terms of its own operational performance, the Company has significantly improved productivity by implementing a major cost cutting program; for example, reduction of total payroll expenses reached almost € 650 mil (37% reduction) over the period 2009-2012, a very significant achievement by industry and domestic standards.

RANIA EKATERINARI DEPUTY CEO, PUBLIC POWER CORPORATION

Finding the ‘’happy medium’’ requires open and sincere dialogue, careful planning and collaboration between all interested stakeholders

JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | 33


THOUGHT LEADERS

Timely Decisions, Confidence in Local Investors

D MATHIOS RIGAS CHAIRMAN AND CEO, ENERGEAN OIL & GAS

uring the last six years, Energean Oil & Gas has invested more than 180 million Euros in Kavala. It has revived the Prinos field and kept Greece on the map of oil producing countries with current production levels of 2,500 barrels/day, representing the only production of hydrocarbons in Greece. Energean signed a six-year offtake agreement with BP for the entire oil production of the Prinos field, which was previously exclusively sold to local refineries pursuant to a law that was recently amended by the Greek Government to liberalize the market. This development allows Energean to continue its investment program which consists of three wells in Prinos and North Prinos during 2014, while a

It is time to stop talking and start acting. Oil and gas are found only by the drill bit . . . new program, relating to the development of the Epsilon oil field, is planned for 2015, including drilling of another two wells. The total investment program of Energean Oil & Gas during 20142015 is expected to reach 150 million Ruros. In addition, Greeceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hydrocarbon sector has emerged as a very promising prospect for the revival of the Greek economy. The government and the two consortia which have been selected as preferred bidders during the open-door procedure are in final negotiations, for the Patraikos Gulf and

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Ioannina blocks which will lead to the reopening of the exploration activity in the country after 15 years of inactivity. Energean has been awarded the very promising Ioannina onshore area, a fold and thrust belt onshore in Western Greece, and is in final stages of negotiations for the Katakolon block, a proven oil field that was discovered in the 80â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s but remained undeveloped since then. In the upstream sector it is imperative to develop strategic partnerships and in this context Energean, apart from the BP agreement, has a Strategic Technical Partnership with Schlumberger and has bid jointly with Canadian and UK companies for the open door tenders. Furthermore, Energean in cooperation with Ocean Rig has established OceanEnergean, a joint venture seeking investment opportunities in bidding rounds concerning deep waters in the Southeastern Mediterranean and Africa. Finally, Third Point, a U.S. private equity fund, has invested 100 million dollars in Energean Oil & Gas, obtaining a strategic shareholding stake. Greece needs to trust the local companies and local scientific and labor force, which have already proven that they can meet great challenges such as the revival of even a mature oil field, drilling complex offshore wells, operating under tough environmental conditions and forge international collaborations with groups that will allow the exploration and exploitation of the natural resources of Greece. A lot of discussion has taken place and unsubstantiated reserve numbers have been published recently in Greece. It is time to stop talking and start acting. Oil and gas are found only by the drill bit and by serious long-term oil and gas companies that respect the local community considerations and can invest substantial amounts of money that are required to find oil.


TAP—Benefits Begin with Inclusion

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AP is a key component in one of the world’s largest energy developments. Greece plays an especially important role in this endeavour, hosting 550km of pipeline’s total 870km. The benefits are plenty: it enhances Greece’s role in European and regional energy; its construction constitutes an investment of approximately €1.5bn and the creation of approximately 2,000 new jobs; and it can bring real local benefits – in the longer term by facilitating more gas supply, ultimately leading to cheaper energy prices in the long run, and before that by stimulating the local economy. But realizing these objectives requires work and dedication. The legacy of industrial development has often left stakeholders concerned that their interests will not be considered. Who has a right to fault them? If you derive your livelihood from the land, proper restitution and fair compensation has immense impact. Where unemployment is high and many businesses are struggling; would anyone not seek assurances that these lauded benefits will actually be realized? And what about the environment? The notion of ‘sustainable development’, coined in 1987 by the Bruntland commission, wasn’t just a nice catchphrase but something very real and important. Hence, realizing a project like TAP is not just a question of engineers welding together 870km of steel pipes. More importantly, it is about finding the way to optimize benefits whilst anticipating and avoiding any negative impacts. To achieve this, a key skill is listening. Not only to those who welcome the project with open arms, but also to those that voice fears and concerns. It must still be incumbent on the company to ensure that all voices are listened to and their points are taken on board. Indeed this has been a challenge, which TAP has welcomed. To ensure the inclusiveness of the project, it has conducted the most comprehensive environmental and social assessment ever undertaken in Greece and has conducted many hundred information meetings along the route. During these encounters, we met people who both embraced the prospects that

TAP offers their regions, and also met people distrustful of the project’s ability to deliver on its commitments. We are taking immense care to design a Land Programme to reinstate land to previous conditions and to ensure no land user will be a single Euro worse off. Yet, we recognize that proof success can only come with time, with actions and not just talk. So what conclusion can be drawn from this? In our mind – only one: it remains every sustainable company’s job to ensure that everyone is listened to and no one is excluded. Because in the end: economic prosperity and growth cannot easily be achieved without economic and infrastructure

RIKARD SCOUFIAS TAP COUNTRY MANAGER – GREECE

It remains every sustainable company’s job to ensure that everyone is listened to and no one is excluded development. But equally, sustainable development can only be achieved by providing a house big enough to host all views, political orientations or interests. We are all part of the equation and we can only prosper if we are all willing to partner. This is our hope for TAP. Not that we will agree on everything with everyone today, but that all of us are willing to assume our responsibilities in a constructive partnership and open dialogue to ensure that years from now, when the project is finalized, we all look back with pride and a common sense of accomplishment.

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THE COMMONS

IN SEARCH OF A NEW PARADIGM FOR

BY PAOLO Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ANSELMI, ATHANASIOS CHYMIS, NIKOLAOS GEORGIKOPOULOS

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY GIVEN THAT THE ORIGINS OF THE ECONOMIC CRISIS, WHICH IS STILL EVOLVING IN MANY DEVELOPED COUNTRIES, LIE NOT SO MUCH IN THE PRIVATE BUT IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR, IT IS TIME FOR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY SCHOLARS TO RECONSIDER THE CSR PARADIGM.

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ccording to Austrian School of Economics thought, the origin of the credit/financial crisis of 2008, which sparked economic and debt crises in many developed countries, is not an inherent malfunction of the free market. Rather, the crisis is a result of the centrally planned, artificially low interest rates of central banks, initiated by the Federal Reserve Bank of the USA. In the modern economy, where almost 50% (in some cases more) of the GDP is government at large, CSR literature needs to address the social responsibility of all organizations funded by tax-payer money. The

recent credit/financial crisis, as well as the economic and debt crises that followed in many European countries, are but one more

instance of the inherent irresponsibility of governments and public administrations. Consequently, they raise the question of

In the modern economy, where almost 50% (in some cases more) of the GDP is government at large, CSR literature needs to address the social responsibility of all organizations funded by tax-payer money

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In today’s turbulent times, private businesses can play a significant role in the much-needed reform of public administration, and in overcoming the crisis, by asking governments and public administrations for greater responsibility and transparency responsibility and accountability of government-regulated/supervised organizations. Central banks, governments and public administrations are not subject to competition. They are inherently monopolistic. Economics has established that competition is a necessary condition for the existence of efficient markets. Competition is the driving force behind responsible behavior. This is why Milton Friedman urged for free and open competition. If competition is free and open then, indeed, the “business of business is business” as Friedman said in 1970. It is not that Friedman dismissed social responsibility. He just assumed it in the operation of free and open competition. It is interesting that competition is sometimes seen as a negative element and as a source of anxiety for workers as well as for corporations. Consequently, businesses spend valuable resources to lobby governments to restrict competition through government regulation, whereas what businesses should really ask from governments is more accountability and transparency on government spending of tax payer money (a great part of which is corporate taxation money!). In fact, what is needed is that the business associations and the trade unions of industry workers ask the government workers to be as efficient as and as accountable for their work as they (the industry workers) are. We need more competition in the economy, particularly in the inherently monopolistic government providers of goods and services. In order to infuse competition, government

should relinquish many of its direct production functions in favor of multiple public and private institutions, to work under the supervision of government itself and be subject to free market forces (i.e.: competition). Data show that nearly 75% of the employed population works in organizations (for profit and non-profit) which are subject to competition. They are tamed in their egoism by competition, but they make a decent living and serve their customers with great care, a behavior seldom observed in government and other monopolistic organizations. Workers subject to competition are not aware of their value to society, they bear all the difficulties of working in a competitive environment, but they do not leverage their social value of being subject to competition when they vote nor when they negotiate with government. They are like “unknown stakeholders.” Among public administration organizations, a central role is taken by the effectiveness of the judiciary system, which is crucial for businesses and foreign investors. And it has been proven to be the most important element in the economic and social development of countries throughout history. A crucial factor here is the availability of data on the length of lawsuits and on the effectiveness of the rulings. Ineffective rulings are de facto in favor of the debtor and create an anti-business environment. Availability of data, however, is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for the improvement of the system. Name and Shame only works in advanced contexts, where we have the data

and the reports that certify the level of the ability of government and the judiciary system. If citizens, workers, businesses—i.e., organizations subject to competition—understand the importance of the flow of information and the data needed to infuse competition among inherently monopolistic organizations, they should ask their governments and public administrations to perform and use the data that are available to apply meritocracy and responsibility within government organizations. There is a need for those who are subject to competition to come forth, and ask those who are not, to be accountable. In today’s turbulent times, private businesses can play a significant role in the much-needed reform of public administration, and in overcoming the crisis, by asking governments and public administrations for greater responsibility and transparency. It is futile for the private sector to produce wealth—and pay taxes accordingly—only to be wasted by inherently monopolistic, government-regulated, opaque, unaccountable and ultimately irresponsible organizations, which funnel over half of GDP in our modern economies. Likewise, the spending review that occurs in the most distressed European economies needs to backed up by a focused strategy and theory of government action. The vision should be one of a broader and deeper exercise of individual responsibilities in society. As Irish poet William Yates wrote, “In dreams begin responsibilities”— an invitation for everyone’s responsibility in any advanced democracy.

Paolo D’Anselmi is a policy analyst from Rome, Italy and the author of a) Values and Stakeholders in an Era of Social Responsibility and b) SME’s as the Unknown Stakeholder. Athanasios Chymis, Ph.D., is an economist at the Centre of Planning and Economic Research, Athens (KEPE), Greece and the author of Reconciling Friedman with Corporate Social Responsibility. Nikolaos Georgikopoulos, Ph.D., is a financial economist at the Centre of Planning and Economic Research (KEPE), Athens, Greece and visiting research Professor at New York University - Stern School of Business, NY, USA.

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TRANSATLANTIC TRADE ROUTES

LAYING THE FOUNDATION FOR FUTURE GROWTH

BY SUSAN DANGER MANAGING DIRECTOR, AMCHAM EU

TTIP AND THE GREEK PRESIDENCY IN JANUARY, GREECE TAKES ON THE PRESIDENCY OF THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION FOR THE FIFTH TIME SINCE BECOMING A MEMBER OF THE EU, AND THE TIMING IS CHALLENGING.

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he elections for the European Parliament fall in May and the European Commission mandate ends in the autumn. Furthermore, negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) have picked up steam and will continue unabated for the foreseeable future. This spring will be very active as the institutions try to close as many legislative dossiers as possible and it is up to Greece to steer the Council of Ministers through both a busy and shortened presidency.

THE GREEK PRESIDENCY

AmCham EU’s Presidency Group had the pleasure of travelling to Athens in early December to meet with various Greek government officials. We will continue to meet with Greek political stakeholders throughout the presidency, but it is already clear that we share a number of policy objectives and in some areas we have strong alignment on how to create the momentum Europe needs. Greece, like all EU Member States, has special strengths that it brings to the EU. We are already starting to see some very prom-

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ising results from the wide-ranging reforms to the Greek economy. The government’s project to turn Greece into a regional technology and innovation hub shows a real desire to facilitate and encourage foreign investment, which will help to ensure sustainable growth for Greece. We look forward to working closely with Greece during and after the Presidency to ensure we reach our common objectives of a stronger and more competitive Europe. While in Athens, we were able to present a new AmCham EU report: Recommendations to the Greek Presidency of the Council of the European Union. These recommendations came from our recently adopted recommendations Accelerating Growth and Vitality in the European Economy, in which we plead for action in five key areas: building skills for the future; furthering integration of the Single Market; promoting revolutionary change for industrial leadership; developing new models of innovation and entrepreneurship; and fostering Europe’s leadership in an integrated


global economy. We believe that many of the issues raised by AmCham EU in both of these reports are vital to creating sustainable economic growth. Given the current economic challenges facing Europe, we believe that the greatest benefit for business and citizens alike can be gained by driving innovation, negotiating more bilateral trade agreements, creating financial stability through structural reform and completing the Single Market. The EU needs a budget that supports these goals. Specifically, it should ensure that there are sufficient funds to improve human capital, support R&D needs and create a better European infrastructure. Our members’ priorities for the Greek Presidency also identify key factors needed to improve the investment climate, as well as to favour economic growth and job creation. One way this can be accomplished is through EU and U.S. cooperation. The opening of TTIP negotiations has encouraged us. The European Commission has estimated that an ambitious TTIP could benefit the EU economy to the tune of €119 billion yearly and €95 billion in the U.S. We hope that the Greek Presidency will continue to help facilitate this and push for more enhanced cooperation between the EU and U.S.

TTIP: SECURING EUROPE’S FUTURE

A new era for transatlantic relations began when, in February 2013, the Presidents of the United States, the European Commission and the European Council announced that they would kick off the process to begin TTIP negotiations. AmCham EU applauds the leadership and foresight by decision-makers on both sides of the Atlantic. TTIP is a logical way for the EU and U.S. to increase trade and encourage growth. Agreeing comprehensive trade agreements is always a challenge and the U.S. government has said that they want to complete negotiations on ‘a single tank of gas’ – before the end of President Obama’s mandate. The next few years will not be easy, but we are convinced that TTIP will create opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic and lay the foundation for sustainable growth in the future.

At a very basic level, tariffs between the EU and the U.S. remain low—4% on average. However, the sheer amount of transatlantic trade represents billions of Euro in collected tariffs. This contradicts assumptions that the low tariff level is inconsequential and, since most trade is intra-firm, it represents a significant tax on production. According to the European Commission, eliminating tariffs between the EU and the U.S. could boost business production by €107 billion in the EU and up to €71 billion in the U.S. If agreements on non-tariff measures (NTMs) such as regulatory differences and trade restrictions are also included, EU GDP could increase by €122 billion annually by 2018. However, it is not only the EU and U.S. that

This agreement is set to create economic well-being of consumers as well as business. Research by the Commission indicated that the increased trade between the EU and U.S. could offer real returns to every household—expected to be about €545 per year per family in Europe. In tough economic times, this added boost could create much-needed economic opportunity for both American and European citizens. Though the European Commission is negotiating TTIP on behalf of the EU, Greece can have great influence. There have already been three rounds of negotiations and it is likely that there will be three more during the Greek Presidency. The Council of the European Union’s Trade Policy Committee has an important role in setting EU trade policy. Greece will be chairing these meetings in Brussels and Athens, giving it a key role in Member State engagement on TTIP.

CONCLUSION

Though the European Commission is negotiating TTIP on behalf of the EU, Greece can have great influence would gain; global income could increase by almost €100 billion. The ambition of the EU and U.S. is to have an impact beyond the transatlantic economy, and create a template for the global rules-based trading system. It is hoped that other countries will adopt standards that are in TTIP in order to access both the EU and U.S. markets, thereby levelling the global playing field.

We should not be complacent—the Greek Presidency is going to be a tough six months. With the end of the European Parliament’s and European Commission’s mandate this year, we can expect that the institutions are going to do as much as possible to push through as much pending legislation as possible before the European elections in May. TTIP holds vast potential for jobs and growth in the EU, the U.S. and beyond. Negotiations will continue far beyond the Greek Presidency. While it is the Commission that is responsible for negotiations, Greece has a vital role to play during its Presidency. TTIP, like many other trade agreements before it, is misunderstood and it is up to Greece to help build and maintain political support for both the negotiations and the agreement. We are now starting to see the green shoots of recovery following a tough few years in Europe. TTIP holds the promise of creating a promising economic future for both business and European citizens. We at AmCham EU are convinced and we are ready to help everyone—the Greek Presidency, the European Commission, the United States government—deliver the best agreement possible.

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BUSINESS & THE LAW

BY GEORGE S. KOUNOUPIS, J.D.

THE GREEK LEGAL CRISIS

& REFORM OF THE GREEK LEGAL SYSTEM ATHENS, WE HAVE A PROBLEM! GREECE HAS SERIOUS ISSUES RELATED TO ITS JUDICIAL SYSTEM AND HOW PROBLEMS THEREIN NEGATIVELY IMPACT INVESTMENT, ENTREPRENEURSHIP, SOCIAL RELATIONS, CORPORATE GOVERNANCE, AND PUBLIC GOVERNANCE.

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s a speaker at Doing Business in Greece programs and conferences since 1987, I have reached the conclusion that without real change, without meaningful reform, Greece will not achieve its potential (which is huge) and investors will keep their distance (which is a shame). A common statement in the press or the boardroom is, “no sane person would invest in Greece.” The legal system, on the books, as applied, and as experienced, is perhaps the biggest problem. A look at rankings by

the World Bank, IMF, OECD, World Justice Forum, State Department, Transparency International, and international legal scholar and executive observations put Greece near the bottom in terms of legal system efficiency, transparency and uniform rule of law/predictability and compliance. The 2013 OECD Competition Assessment for Greece identified 555 regulations that hinder growth and business. Der Spiegel has called Greece a “failed state” and compared it to Afghanistan, citing specifically “ineffective justice.” Talking to hundreds of frustrated individuals, including Greek

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Americans, who have struggled to do in Greece what is done in the US easily and routinely highlights the lost opportunities. As a U.S. lawyer since 1987, I have litigated hundreds of published business and labor cases sat as a county and local solicitor; bank and insurance counsel, had a title company, and taken a company public on the NASDAQ. I have acted as U.S. government solicitor—and know how government can help grow and develop small and large business ventures. I have, at the same time, also been a Greek lawyer since 1990—and have observed both sides of the Atlantic on legal matters. So, I have some perspective. I wish I could advise my clients on the Greek investment laws with the same confidence that I advise them of the U.S. laws. The U.S. system isn’t perfect. But it functions more efficiently and provides more reliable and predictable results. There is no infallible legal system or one that does justice in all cases. But, in any event, it is important to compare legal systems because this is how we learn and develop practical improvements. We can specifically see how each system operates in, say, litigating a partnership dispute or forming a corporation and obtaining approvals, and see which system better serves the well published rule of law/legal


system efficiency factors. This is the beauty of comparative law. With proper comparison and application, successful legal systems and processes of one country may be transplanted to another. Efficiencies in one legal system may be spotted, identified and borrowed by another. Certainly, some cultural, social, historical and other value system differences do not allow for identical application of different legal systems. We need to identify and respect these. But these differences should not make us uncomfortable with practically comparing the outcomes of different legal systems, as encountered by investors and businesspeople. Also, merely adopting U.S. legal terminology that may be familiar to many Greek government officials or lawyers does not mean that those terms and concepts are understood in the way they were meant to be understood. Fruitful dialogue requires conceptual clarity and a clear unraveling of how these laws are applied. The Prime Minister is to be commended on stressing competitiveness. Today, government reform programs are in the works. But, the inefficient Greek legal system, in letter and practice, is the iceberg that lies below the tip of all the financial reform talk. An iceberg ready to crush and sink the large and small daring ships of investment and entrepreneurship. These bold business captains are willing to risk the storms of the market and face competitive forces—but not the ravages of legal insecurity—often an existential risk. The perception by an investor that a business, property, shareholder, contract, labor, investor protection or taxation dispute can be litigated quickly and with a reasonable degree of predictability is a seminal and foundational question in any business venture. Rule of law is the skeleton of the system, and if deformed and stunted, the country itself is impaired in global competition, business creation and efficient governance. It is small firms and start-ups that fuel job creation. How can growth occur in this environment? How about jobs—good, private sector jobs— not more souvlaki joints and cafes? Where are the practical and operational safeguards and legal safety nets? The Greek legal system, in terms of length of litigation, number of ap-

peals and remands, lack of uniform judicial decisions, lack of out of court settlements, delay tactics, and continuances is not efficient and conducive to business. Business formation and registration steps, an archaic notary system, tax, permit and regulation hurdles also can be much improved. U.S. commercial litigation would shut down if continuances, remands, retrials and legal opinions were handled in the U.S. the same way they are in Greece. Moreover, the lack of identification of clear precedent in opinions creates results which often seem arbitrary. I am not advocating changing Greece from a “civil law” jurisdiction to a “common law” jurisdiction. Neither system is infallible. But if a central goal of rule of law is to have a fair process for discovering the truth, then we must look and compare the common law systems’ rules of discovery, evidence, cross examination and trial procedure. We must also compare the common law systems’ requirement that courts of appeal explain in published, detailed written opinions their justifications for reversing or affirming lower courts; as well as the substantial limitations common law courts have on “de novo” remands and retrials. This is the time for bold, out-of-the-box thinking. Real structural reform is needed because the problem is both episodic and systemic. Reform cannot simply be “change” without real improvement. Reform means dealing with the civil law legalism the plagues Greece. Justice delayed is justice denied. There is an argument, by

some, that high public distrust of government “requires” a high degree of minute regulation and procedure. This is a false remedy! Excessive bureaucracy and legalism actually create more opportunities and incentives for corruption and suffocates commerce and the economy. Excessive internal administrative processes and legal formalism cannot be carried out disconnected from the real world and without a clear perception of how they impact business on the ground. A systemic problem requires the will to reject the quiet resignation of “this is the way of doing things” in Greece. This will must be manifested by an “esprit de corps” of the business, legal and governing community, declaring that this status quo is no longer normal, “traditional” or acceptable. The Greek legal system presents an unacceptable and overly burdensome risk to many investors. We can either choose to pretend the problem is not there or, through bold comparison, trial, error and growth, create a better future for Greece.

George S. Kounoupis, Esq. is a member of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bars and was admitted to the Greece Bar in 1990. As the ABA’s official Liaison to Greece, he is active in organizing the first international ABA-sponsored program on Greek legal reform, set to take place in Athens in 2015. This program, supported by AMCHAM, aims to bring together the worldwide resources of the ABA to focus on the Greek “legal inefficiency” issue. Email: hklaw@ptd.net Website: www.greeklawgroup.com

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BUSINESS MATTERS

Citi—

BY GRANT CARSON CEO, CITI GREECE

50 YEARS IN GREECE ON MARCH 6, 2014 CITI GREECE TURNS 50. OUR INSTITUTION’S LINKS TO GREECE DATE BACK EVEN FURTHER, TO 1948, WHEN CITI FINANCED ONASSIS’ FIRST SUPERTANKER, AN INNOVATION IN OIL TRANSPORTATION THAT MADE A SCARCE RESOURCE AVAILABLE WORLD-WIDE. 65 YEARS OF ASSOCIATION AND 50 YEARS OF CONTINUOUS AND COMMITTED PRESENCE IN GREECE IS A LEGACY OF WHICH WE ARE VERY PROUD.

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t was the need of our shipping clients that prompted the then First National City Bank of New York to open its offices in Greece. This was soon followed by the inauguration of its first branch in Syntagma Square. Today, 50 years later, we still maintain our commitment to serving shipping finance needs. We marked our entry into retail banking in Greece with the introduction of a real novelty for the local market, the checking account, which provided monthly statements and checks! That proved to be a successful endeavor, and in the next two and a half years, from an initial staff of 21, the bank grew to 105 staff members and a second branch in the port of Piraeus. The checking account was the first of a series of innovations that Citi introduced to

the Greek retail banking market: ATM’s (1984), offering 24/7 telephone banking services (1990), the first co-branded credit card in Greece (1997), introducing an Open Architecture investments platform (2001) and providing SMS and e-mail transaction notifications (2008). We have since expanded our retail product platform, which now includes Wealth Management and Private Banking. As a financial institution our ability to provide sound advice combined with the capability to leverage our global network to provide attractive investment opportunities and risk mitigation solutions worldwide, is unmatched. In this regard, our open architecture platform and expanded investment offering leveraged by the expertise of our investment advisors, is best in class. The same pioneering spirit was also strong

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in our corporate bank offering and is evident in a number of sophisticated firsts for the Greek market, notably, the introduction of Sovereign Financing, Syndications (Domestic and International), High Yield bonds, Securitizations, Derivatives, Leveraged Buyout Structures and Corporate Lease and Export Agency Finance, among others. Indeed, by bringing businesses and investment together, we are actively involved in corporate and investment banking activities in the public and private sectors. Citi Greece is a committed partner to the Hellenic Republic, being an active solicitor of foreign investment in Greece and an advisor on the country’s privatization program. We service local financial institutions and large corporate names through our Advisory, Debt & Equity Capital Markets and Derivative and Credit offerings.


Our Securities & Fund Services business is the single largest custodian in the Greek market. We also provide a full range of banking services to over 250 subsidiaries of global multi-nationals that operate in Greece, including cash and liquidity management, trade finance services and advanced reporting tools via our sophisticated and much awarded corporate e-banking platform. In the current context, Citi has been actively supporting the reconstruction of the Greek economy through extending considerable balance sheet resources to the Greek financial institutions sector. These, among other exposures, include direct financing of up to €3bn, at any time. We were also involved in advising on and underwriting a portion of the recent local bank recapitalization process. On top of this, in the summer of 2013, Citi agreed to provide up to €200 million in trade financing to facilitate imports and exports for small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and support the economy as part of an initiative led by the European Investment Bank. The program is designed to increase liquidity and restore trade flows and to reduce Greek SMEs’ financing cost, which is critical to re-stimulate the economy. Our commitment goes beyond the business aspects of banking. We are believers in making a contribution to the communities that we operate in and community development remains an integral part of our strategy. This year we celebrate our 10-year anniversary of cooperation with the Hellenic Children’s Museum through a unique Financial Education Program called “Economy: Knowledge with Value”. Under the auspices of the Hellenic Ministry of Education, Citi has facilitated the education of more than 60,000 elementary school children in understanding basic economic concepts. Since 2005, we have supported Junior Achievement in implementing educational programs on entrepreneurship with the voluntary participation of 400 Citi employees. We greatly value volunteerism and encourage Citibankers to participate in many diverse activities through our annual Global Community Day, where we take part in community based activities such as tree-plant-

Beyond banking, we are believers in making a contribution to the communities that we operate in and community development remains an integral part of our strategy. ing, forest and seacoast cleanup activities plus the donation of food and clothes. We have leveraged Citibank Cards through co-brands and specific programs to support the causes of recognized local non-profit organizations ELPIDA and ELEPAP with contributions of over €1million. These funds have been used towards the building of the first oncology hospital for children in Athens and a therapeutic swimming program, which has benefitted over 250 children with physical and mental challenges. We also celebrated our 10-year partnership of the Diners Club UNICEF card, which has funded the vaccination of 14 million children in the developing world against measles. Clearly, youth employability is a key issue and so, in 2013 Citi Greece initiated an innovative survey on Youth Employability Challenges. It is funded by the Citi Foundation and designed and implemented by ALBA Graduate Business School at The American College of Greece. Since 1964 there have been many changes in our business both positive and negative. The global financial crisis, which began with the U.S. subprime mortgage loans, revealed that banks were not always adequately forearmed to sustain severe economic turmoil. Citi, globally, adjusted to the new conditions by implementing reforms that made us simpler, stronger and better capi-

talized. Through these unprecedented times banks had to redefine their role in society and manage the often conflicting priorities of shareholders, governments, regulators and customers to ensure that they continue delivering value in an appropriate and sustainable manner. Citi went back to basics, following a strict recapitalization plan, focusing on being a bank and providing banking services to its clients. In Greece, where the global crisis was followed by a local one, we had to adjust and be prepared to withstand some of the toughest economic challenges in recent times. As a global institution, we drew conclusions from our rich pool of experiences in similar situations in other parts of the world to formulate our strategy. We changed by becoming more versatile in servicing our clients while remaining prudent and focused on making sound decisions that would allow us not only to weather the storm but also to provide support to our customers as we did. Today, confidence in Greece is slowly returning as a result of the progress achieved by the coalition government in reform, bank recapitalization and performance against fiscal targets. The facts that the 10-year bond yield is back at mid-2010 levels, that S&P and Moody’s have both upgraded the sovereign risk rating and that the ASX’s performance is improving, seem to confirm the view that the country is following a difficult but viable path forward. While these signals are positive, challenges remain. The economy remains challenged, unemployment is still high and political risks persist. It is of paramount importance that we remain vigilant and ensure that all the good work done to date is not for nothing. Although Citi’s journey in Greece over these last 50 years has had many twists and turns, what has remained constant is our unwavering commitment to provide products and services to those clients where we can add the most value. Guided by the principles of responsible and prudent financing and risk management, combined with the resilience, professionalism and dedication of our staff, we ensure that we can help our clients to navigate through whatever environment they find themselves in.

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Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of designing and structuring a web page so that it is found, read, and indexed by search engines in the most effective manner possible. SEO is the key tool for website owners to generate and maintain traffic through a search engine. The main aims of SEO are to gather traffic from diverse sources, and to attract repeat visitors. To increase traffic to a website, a search engine optimizer must identify optimal keywords within the site, and be updated with the latest tools available to submit text over free article directories. Practicing website optimization with an ethical approach is increasingly important, as many search engine optimizers use ques-

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SEO: Maximize Performance, Minimize Competition

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tionable shortcuts to achieve better results, which oftentimes result in sub-par outcomes. The ultimate goal for the website owner and SEO is to gather enough traffic to appear in the first five pages of search engine results, and maintain that online position. By earning higher rankings, your business website receives a higher number of visitors. In order to occupy the top spots in the search engine results, you will need to constantly optimize your website while implementing a variety of other online marketing methodologies. SEO is not a one-time job. It requires constant attention and monitoring as rankings can quickly tank.

Dining: For Business and Pleasure TUDOR HALL

A (Dining) Room With a View Situated in the heart of Athens on the 7th floor of the King George Hotel, the Tudor Hall Restaurant combines one of the city’s best views with an innovative menu, pairing Greek classics with influences from both the East and West. The newly-renovated room, with upscale neo-classical décor, offers a welcome haven amidst the hustle and bustle of the city center. The use of seasonal vegetables and local ingredients in Tudor Hall’s dishes keep the menu fresh, and the kitchen on its toes. Stamnagathi (dandelion greens), served as part of a wild chicory salad, and the fresh seasonal garden salad made with fruit and Amfilochia pecorino, set the tone for lunch and dinner.

etables with tomatoes and feta cheese) or freshly grilled lobster with seasonal salad or hylopites pasta, demonstrate the novel approach of Executive Chef Sotiris Evangelou. Tudor Hall’s tempting dessert menu incudes traditional, syrupy revani, eggplant with “manjari” bitter chocolate jelly, almond espuma, and black tea ice cream. As for drinks, you are invited to pair all dishes with a glass of Greek wine from the restaurant’s extensive wine list, all while enjoying a splendid view of the Acropolis. Beef cheeks with eggplant purée, baby lamb en cocotte, and grilled lamb chops with fennel redefine favorite local dishes. A traditional briam, (slow oven-cooked veg-

44 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014

Tudor Hall Restaurant Vas. Georgiou A’ Street 3, 10564 · King George, Athens, Tel. 210 333 0265


The Business Bookshelf

Ecological Intelligence THE HIDDEN IMPACTS OF WHAT WE BUY BY DANIEL GOLEMAN, BROADWAY BOOKS, NEW YORK

In his book, Daniel Goleman reveals the hidden environmental consequences of what we make and buy, and how with proper knowledge, we can make essential changes needed to reverse the negative environmental impacts of product consumption. What interests Goleman is how the right kind of information can be communicated to consumers at the right time, so that consumption behaviors change and produce outcomes. The author proposes and anticipates the development of what he calls “radical transparency,” by which all contents and hidden costs of all products are visible to consumers. With that knowledge, sustainability becomes more likely, dangerous ingredients are eliminated, and we are more likely to make more efficient, green, and safe product choices, he claims. Drawing on cutting-edge research, Goleman explains why shoppers are kept in the dark regarding the hidden impacts of the goods and services made and consumed. He believes people are victims of an information blackout, unaware of the detrimental effects of producing, shipping, packaging, distributing, and discarding the goods they buy. But the balance of power is about to shift from seller to buyer, as a new generation of technologies can inform us of a product’s ecological facts at the point of purchase. This “radical transparency,” according to Goleman, will enable consumers to make smarter purchasing decisions. This in turn would drive companies to rethink and reform their businesses, ushering in a new age of competitive advantage, he says.

Jargonaut DIGITAL DETOX A period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress and re-focus on social interaction in the physical world.

EPISODIC GAMES A form of digital entertainment in which each level of a game concludes with a cliffhanger, to keep gamers “tuning in” (or coming back) for the next installment. Gaming companies let players download the first episode for free and then charge around $5 or $10 for subsequent downloads.

ETERNAL HOLD Having to wait “on hold” on the telephone for a very long time. When you call a company’s tech support line, navigate through its VM system, but end up waiting and waiting for a real person, you are said to be on “eternal hold.”

GEEKOSPHERE The area surrounding one’s computer, where trinkets, personal mementos, toys, and monitor pets are displayed.

THE LIST

BY TRAVELOGUE

OPTOELECTRONIC 10 WINTER WEEKEND BREAKS IN GREECE BY ANDREAS STYLIANOPOULOS PRESIDENT, NAVIGATOR TRAVEL & TOURIST SERVICES LTD

Weekend getaways are a great way to discover new locations around Greece, which offers a variety of fun winter attractions ranging from cosmopolitan ski centers to tranquil villages. PAPADES VILLAGE, EVIA

Arahova, Viotia Plastiras Lake, Karditsa

A nickname for the aluminum lunch truck that makes the rounds in parking lots and industrial centers during lunchtime to feed the worker bees.

SKYSCRAPER

Makrinitsa, Magnisia Olympia, Messinia

TREND CENTER

Nafplio, Argolida

Areas on the Net that are centers of youth activity, as identified by online marketers and demographic researchers.

Papades Village, Evia Elatohori, Pieria NIMFEO, FLORINA

ROACH COACH

An online ad which is taller vertically than it is wide horizontally, thereby resembling the shape of a skyscraper.

Karpenisi, Evritania

ELATOHORI, PIERIA

The blending of photonics and electronics so that photons are used for transmitting data, and electrons are used for switching.

Nimfeo, Florina

 http://www.netlingo.com

JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | 45


TRENDS & TRADE MAKERS

InnovAthens: Hub of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Technopolis InnovAthens, a new innovation hub with a mission to support young entrepreneurs and business activities using an outward-looking orientation, is set to launch at the Technopolis Center in Gazi, a facility which attracts approximately 600,000 visitors a year. The hub’s creation is being assisted by the Technical University of Athens and the University of Patras, along with the collaboration of several professional associations such as the Hellenic Startup Association (EENE), the Hellenic Bio Cluster (HBio), and the Hellenic Association of Mobile Applications Companies (HAMAC), among others. InnovAthens will provide young individuals with the skills and resources they need to start their own businesses, offering them employment opportunities in Athens. The initiative’s leaders aspire to create a hub that will transform the existing infrastructures of different sites in Athens into integrated networking, knowledge exchange, and start-up support centers.  http://www.innovathens.gr/

Stratfor: Top Trends Stratfor, a leader in global intelligence, has identified the top trends that will shape 2014: • An enduring détente between Iran and the United States • The rise of nationalist and extremist parties in Europe • Russia and Germany’s bargain over Central/Eastern Europe and energy policy • China’s return to strongman politics • Domestic turmoil and economic stress in India and Turkey.

Going “Greek” in Congress: The Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet An esteemed group of culinary chefs got together in Washington DC to share the Greek Mediterranean diet’s secrets to good health and great flavor at a health awareness event in early December. Organized by the Embassy of Greece in cooperation with the offices of the representatives of the Hellenic Caucus, this special event took place at the Rayburn House Office building on Capitol Hill, raising awareness about the health benefits of the Greek diet, while promoting stronger trade relationships between the United States and Greece. Leading the event were renowned chefs and health experts from Greece and the United States. Author of “Omega Diet,” Dr. Artemis Simopoulos, and chefs Argiro Barbarigou, Diane Kochilas, George Mastrodimistris, and Cat Cora emphasized the importance of instilling healthy eating habits at a young age, noting the extraordinary health benefits of the Greek diet, which, along with an active lifestyle, promote longevity, boost the immune system, and reduce obesity and chronic diseases.

46 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014

The Sound of Ancient Greek Music A research project funded by the British Academy aims to bring the music of ancient Greece, unheard for thousands of years, back to life. Through his research, Oxford University musician and classics tutor Armand D’Angour, has discovered that ancient rhythms are preserved in the words of songs themselves, and more particularly, in the patterns of long and short syllables. The classic texts of ancient Greece, including the epics of Homer, love poems of Sappho, and tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides, were all originally told in the form of music. Dating from around 750 to 400 BC, these texts were composed to be sung in whole or in part to the accompaniment of the lyre, reed pipes, and percussion instruments. New revelations about ancient Greek music have emerged from a few dozen ancient documents inscribed with a vocal notation devised around 450 BC, consisting of alphabetic letters and signs placed above the vowels of the words. Additionally, evidence shows that the Greeks had worked out the mathematical ratios of musical intervals. While these documents have long been known to classicists, it is only in recent decades they have been augmented by new discoveries. Dating from around 300 BC to 300 AD, these fragments offer a clearer than ever before understanding of the music of ancient Greece.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24611454


.

W

W

W EU RESOURCES

EU Direct for Kids http://europa.eu/kids-corner/index_en.htm The EU website on children’s rights includes fun interactive games and resources for parents and teachers and is available in all EU languages. Digital Library of Science & Technology http://www.ekt.gr/en/services/diglib.html The Digital Library is comprised of Greek and international digital format content in all sectors of science and technology, with integrated research and retrieval capacities.

GREEK SALAD TOPS U.S. FAVORITE LIST What is America’s favorite meal? The answer to that question is very simple. America’s favorite dish is the Greek salad, according to a survey conducted by GrubHub Seamless in more than 25,000 restaurants across the U.S. Leading a healthy lifestyle has become one of America’s latest trends. It comes as no surprise then, that Greek salad and yogurt are among the top healthy food choices marketed and served in America. In fact, the Greek salad ranks higher in popularity than the classic green and Caesar salads. The benefits of choosing a Greek salad are many, as it excels above other salads in ingredient variety, proteins, and flavor, according to the survey.

E.U. T EC The European Commission has proposed amendments to key EU corporate tax legislaR I D tion with an aim to significantly reduce tax evasion in Europe. The amendments would Closing Tax Loopholes

close loopholes in the Parent-Subsidiary Directive, which some companies have been using to escape taxation. In particular, companies will no longer be able to avoid paying any tax at all by exploiting differences in the way intra-group payments are taxed across the EU. In result, the Parent-Subsidiary Directive can continue to ensure a level-playing field for honest businesses in the Single Market without opening opportunities for aggressive tax planning. Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner for Taxation said: “EU tax policy is heavily focused on creating a better environment for businesses in the EU. This means breaking down tax barriers and tackling cross-border problems such as double taxation. But when our rules are abused to avoid paying any tax at all, then we need to adjust them. Today’s proposal will ensure that the spirit, as well as the letter of our law is respected. As such, it will ensure greater revenues for national budgets and fairer competition for our businesses.”

EU Presidency: Greece http://www.gr2014.eu/ The site of the upcoming of the Greek Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Business Guide to the EU http://europa.eu/youreurope/business/ A practical guide to doing business in Europe, including information on selling abroad, customs, funding, and product requirements. Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/index_en.htm The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry aims to disseminate information on all EU policies, actions, and initiatives promoting economic growth and development. Business Europe http://www.businesseurope.eu Business Europe is a recognized EU partner that advocates for growth and competitiveness at the European level.

ACCESS 29.000 GREEK PHD THESES ONLINE A valuable resource of scientific knowledge, the National Archive of Greek PhD theses, is now accessible at www.didaktorika.gr. This portal hosts the National Archive of PhD Theses (EADD), which provides access to PhD theses from all higher-education institutions in Greece, as well as PhD theses awarded to Greek scholars by foreign institutions certified by the Hellenic National Recognition Information Centres. JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | 47


VIEWPOINT

BY DIMITRI PAPAIOANNOU PHD, MBA, REPRESENTATIVE IN GREECE & CYPRUS, US MAC. WWW.USMARKETACCESS.COM

S—For Startup Generation

M

ost entrepreneurs today are young. Gen-Y’s and GenX’ers make startups— mostly in software, the Internet, and social media. Young entrepreneurs like startups since they see the potential for a quick upside, profit, visibility in the startup scene, networking, and recognition. But to reach these goals, they need to cope with the higher risks associated with new ventures in a broad landscape that requires refinements and sophistication they may be unaware of. They see time as their key investment. The abundance of startups in a specific sector results in duplication of offerings, greater competition, and more advanced products with higher value to customers. But this trend can progress up to a point. As the ‘pond’ gets smaller, the potential to create more value dampens. The common pitfall for many Internet, software, SaaS and social media plays with a poor competitive position, is to become “plain vanilla” in a few quick business cycles. In a best case sce-

nario, the team identifies the problem and manages it, salvaging the startup’s value. Worst case, the team ignores it and is caught by surprise, being left with little value. Failure is a non-issue for experienced entrepreneurs. Not because they always realize good financial returns, but because they always gain something: trust within their team, cohesion and speed, refined ideas with greater value, greater market insight, connections with key individuals, influencers and investors, or the secret sauce for their next startup. The best entrepreneurs are those who always ratchet up value, that is, they always get out of a venture something important for their next big thing. Gen-S, for Startups Teams with a higher density of collective experience can only be, by default, more diverse, spanning generations, cultures, and backgrounds. What I call Gen-Startup or Generation S teams, embody far greater potential for financial return, but this potential needs to be unlocked. Reaching mutual trust, cohesion, and speed within

these teams is more challenging compared with more homogenous Gen-Y and Gen-X teams, but it is achievable. Gen-Startup teams are uniquely positioned to build hardware and software combination ventures, have an added advantage based on their diverse disciplines, and are more capable of creating, accelerating, or disrupting market trends. With carefully positioned products, they can add value to portfolios of VCs. With smart, sustainable strategies, they can smartly position themselves, and with an adaptive mindset and eagerness for scaling, they can make the most out of the funding they receive. Advisors, consultants, and mentors are part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, offering insight, experiences, and wisdom, making startup teams better. Unless they are super Angels funding the venture, they work with the startup team behind the scenes to refine the business model, test hypotheses, identify the best strategy and approach, develop customers and key segments, link with key partners, and prepare for a successful exit.

THE AMERICAN-HELLENIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Become a Member

bponline.amcham.gr

To become a member of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, one of Greece’s most preeminent and proactive business organizations, apply on the Chamber website at www.amcham.gr, send an e-mail to info@amcham.gr, call the Chamber at 210-699-3559, or fax the Chamber at 210-698-5687-7 and request an application form.

To subscribe to Business Partners, send an e-mail to info@amcham.gr, call the Chamber at 210-699-3559, or fax the Chamber at 210-698-5687-7.

48 | BUSINESS PARTNERS | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014


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American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2014 Vol. XIII | No. 70

Thought Leaders

Energy Makes the World Go Round

BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE

DEFENDING THE RIGHTS OF MINORITY SHAREHOLDERS AMCHAM

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"GREECE is A+" Meet JAPONICA PARTNERS Paul B. Kazarian

Founder, Chairman and CEO, Japonica Partners

JAPONICA PARTNERS “Now is the time to recognize that the current economically irrational accounting is the single biggest and most easily removed obstacle to extraordinary growth in Greece.”

Business Partners | January-February 2014  

The magazine of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce

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