Athens Digest 04.07.2018

• Moscovici announces end of Greek memorandums in the Greek Parliament; applauses by government MPs criticism by the conservatives

• Commissioner hints at flexibility over planned pension cuts

• Kammenos comments over name deal plunge coalition into turmoil

• HRADF disqualifies three out of five investment schemes from second phase of tender for acquisition of majority stake of Hellenic Petroleum

• American HIG fund acquires majority stake in ALDEMAR

# On his first visit to Athens since European lenders agreed to grant the country further debt relief, European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told Greek Parliament that Greece is done with bailouts and can now “stand on its own feet.” “There won’t be any more programs for Greece,” he told Greek Parliament. “The troika will not return here,” he added to the loud applause of government MPs but not those of New Democracy. In a meeting with Moscovici, Conservatives’ leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis urged him to be “more careful with this public remarks” as he said Greece will not have a clean exit.

# Meanwhile, with regard to planned pension cuts in January 2019 and whether there is scope for their suspension or non-implementation, Moscovici in an interview with ‘Antenna TV’, said that agreements must be respected adding that pension cuts will be discussed in October 15th when Greece submits its own draft budgetary plan, which must respect fiscal targets.

# Panos Kammenos, the leader of junior coalition partner,said yesterday in a press conference, his second within the past 3 weeks, that the Macedonia name deal signed by Greece and FYROM is “bad” and that it can only be approved by a referendum or elections unless it passes through Parliament with an enhanced majority of 180 in the 300-seat House. If not, the Greek people must be asked. According to polls, his party is way below the 3 percent threshold to enter Parliament, PM office ruled out snap election, saying that it wants the deal to have the biggest possible majority.

# In response to Kammenos’ remarks, New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotaks said “the only thing left for PM Tsipras is to set a date for elections.” Moreover, in an interview to Politico, Mitsotakis described the June Eurogroup deal as “another program in disguise.” Referring to his party’s refusal to ratify FYROM’s name deal, he added: “I’m not willing to pay the price to destabilize my own country to stabilize our Northern neighbors. We cannot accept a Macedonian language and ethnicity.”

# The Board of Directors of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) has disqualified three investment schemes which did not meet the criteria to participate in the second phase of the tender for the acquisition of a majority stake in the share capital of Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE). This means that the initial European favorites, Glencore (Switzerland) and Vitol (Netherlands) will take part in the second phase. HRADF Board of Directors decided that the non-qualified investors are Alrai Group Holdings Limited, a consortium composed of the companies Carbon Asset Management DWC-LLC and Alshaheen Group S.A, as well as the Gupta Family Group Alliance.

# The American HIG fund has acquired a majority stake in the ALDEMAR group through a capital shares increase. HIG will, at initial phase, buy two hotels in Rhodes. ALDEMAR will remain a minority stake holder and will manage the two hotels.

On Our Radar: Citi sees waiver but not induction of Greek bonds in ECB’s QE
Commenting on the Bank of Greece’s annual monetary policy report, Citi said in a note to its clients that the enhanced post bailout surveillance outlined in last month’s Eurogroup deal will indeed allow the ECB to maintain its waiver of Greek bonds. It however cast doubt that the ECB could induct Greek state bonds in the QE program because Greece is in non-investment grade territory.