Athens Digest 26.06.2019

• Airport concession, bond profits boost primary surplus

• Top execs at state companies being replaced before election

• Lamda: Still waiting for government actions needed for Hellenikon development

• In Greece, talk isn’t cheap

# The January-May state budget deficit came in at EUR 1.76 billion against the target of EUR 4.05 billion in deficit, according to figures released by the Finance Ministry, but was higher than last year’s figure of EUR 1 billion. The primary balance was a surplus of EUR 916 million against a primary deficit target of EUR 1.447 billion and a primary surplus of EUR 853 million for the same period in 2018. The results followed an overperformance of revenues helped by an extension of the concession of Athens International Airport and collection of profits from Greek government bonds held by European central banks.

# Remaining actions needed to start construction at the massive Hellenikon redevelopment project are all in the hands of the government and various public departments, Odisseas Athanasiou, CEO of Lamda Development told an annual general assembly of shareholders. The situation, he said, has remained relatively unchanged since February 15, with developers still awaiting the joint ministerial decisions needed to move the EUR 8 billion project forward. A casino license is one key delay for the venture headed by Lamda and backed by Chinese and Arab investors.

# A shakeup of senior-level positions at Greek public utilities is expected just days before the general election. The changes include top positions at the Athens and Thessaloniki water authorities. A new president and CEO of the Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Company (EYDAP) are due to be named today. “The term of office of the current EYDAP Board of Directors ends on 28.06.2019 and as such the appointment of a new Board of Directors is required,” HCAP said in an announcement.

# Greeks pay the highest communications bills in the European Union for services like Internet, mail, and their landline. A Eurostat survey for 2018, found that Greeks pay EUR 1.57 on communications for every euro spent in the EU. Food was also more expensive (EUR 1.05) in Greece. In other categories _ alcohol and tabacco, clothing, housing costs, transport, recreation and hotels and restaurants _ prices were below the average mark. Switzerland had some of the highest prices _ 73.9 percent higher for housing and 63.6 percent higher for food.

On our Radar: MVP Giannis
Overcome with emotion, Giannis Antetokounmpo was named Most Valuable Player at the NBA Awards. The Greek player from a Nigerian immigrant family was joined by Milwaukee Bucks’ Mike Budenholzer, who won the top honor as coach. Antetokounmpo, a 24-year-old forward from Greece, beat out Paul George of Oklahoma City and James Harden of Houston, who won last year.