Friday, January 18, 2013

And the next one iiiis... Henkel!

In the blogosphere and twitter world, commentators are competing with one another for the best arguments as to why no foreign investor can really have an interest in investing in Greece in the foreseeable future. The convertibility risk and the political uncertainty are two of the reasons which are cited most frequently.

A look at the real world is quite encouraging. I have already written extensively about HP, Unilver and Cosco and it is excellent news that one can now add Henkel to the list. Perhaps there are other new foreign investments which haven't hit public awareness yet.

Henkel will produce detergents for the local market. Come again? Henkel will produce in Greece detergents for the Greek market? That has got to be impossible because every pundit in the world has explained in the last years why Greek production can never be competitive with foreign production. Is Henkel wrong? Or are perhaps the pundits wrong?

Facts speak louder than words and we will see what the Henkel-facts will be. But if 'big guys' like Unilever and Henkel with their huge economies of scale in production elsewhere still come to Greece to satisfy local demand with local production, one can only guess how attractive Greece could become to smaller foreign investors who do not have such economies of scale elsewhere.

Perhaps I will live to see the day when the toothpaste which I buy in Greece is also produced in Greece (instead of being produced in Brazil and imported to Greece via a German distributor)!


  1. A bit surprised because of the good mood atmosphere, as if nothing has happened, while I am trying to get over the huge disappointment about all what has happened in the Greek parliament about "the case" in which even Loucas Papademos was one of the accused.
    It is incredible and shocking that this is a question: is he guilty or not.

    I am shocked that it is possible in 2013 what they do in parliament. Not one who has a question if that is legal. Nothing in the news about it. Nowhere. Not on twitter, not on google, not in even Ekathimerini.
    In fact this is a case for Amnesty International.

    I am deeply ashamed about the 300 Greeks, and most of all the 80 of them who dared to vote against Papademos.
    I am ashamed of the Greek media.
    This goes beyond intelligence, this goes even beyond evil, this is completely the end of what I understand of Ethics. Law. Justice.

    If there is one big Force that is needed in Greece it is the Force of Justice.
    May the Sword of Justice do its work.
    For all who curse Greece and its values from the past.

    1. @ Antoinette

      Perhaps you should explain why it is shocking in your view that 80 MPs felt that Papademos (and Papandreaou) should shoulder responsibility over the Lagarde list.

      A famous American president put a sign on his desk saying "The Buck Stops Here".
      As President, as head of his party, as head of his Cabinet, he was making a point about ultimate responsibility in politics and business. Any small businessman can assure you that this principle holds - he knows it to his cost. Unfortunately today CEOs and politicians no longer abide by this.

      Therefore 80 MPs made a valid point. No doubt Papandreaou and Papademos did not erase memory sticks or 'lose' evidence. But they were in charge of the people who did, and were responsible to the greek public for the inquiry into this matter.

      Furthermore, as PMs overseeing the austerity measures applied to the greek public, they were 1) responsible for ensuring that these measures were applied equally to the greek 'elite', ie rich. and 2) that for example, in the interest of a level playing field for greek business and the consumer public, monopolies and cartels were broken up. (For example, to this day Greek groceries are the 2nd most expensive in the EU.) This they both signally failed to do.

      The Lagarde list is a minor matter (in a just world there would be a list for each offshore bank) but it is emblematic of the continued culture of cover-up and corruption in Greece, and the protection extended by each successive government to its oligopolist cronies.

      At least Papandreaou belatedly tried to offer a referendum to the greek public. Papademos felt no need to consult, or to even show sympathy - this was left to Papoulias, the President, who also waived his quarter million salary.

  2. Reading the fine print I see that Rolco-Vianil, a long established Greek detergent business, will be manufacturing Henkel products. Henkel closed its Greek factory in 2000, since then another Greek company, Lamda Detergent (a member of the Alapis group), has been manufacturing Henkel products - Alapis is owned by Lavrentis Lavrentiadis.

    So, sadly, there appears to be little or no new investment in the Henkel news :(

    But China Daily reports COSCO considers acquiring majority stake in Greek port for 1 billion euros !!

    There's a bit more detail there than what was in the eKathi item.


    1. My mistake, looking deeper I found the Henkel products made by Lamda Detergents (Alapis) are probably made in Cyprus, or in Bulgaria - along with a many other well know brands, including Unilever.

      See Alapis Detergents and Cosmetics

      There's nothing as yet on Rolco-Vianil website about the Henkel contract. Unanswered questions: How many extra staff will Rolco-Vianil employ? Will Henkel products be cheaper?

      Lidl, and Aldi are among Rolco-Vianil Contract Manufacturing customers.


  3. Better News - Greek Language links, from an initial quick glance at the new, for me at least, Imerisia site

    Investments of 70 million "Marinopoulos"

    Fortnight of Greek products in supermarkets in Portugal

    Maybe they will come to my local supermarket in Sydney next, if so then I hope they can handle the heat in the kitchen - today was 45.8°C (114.4°F)- hottest day on record.

    I'll trawl through Imerisia tomorrow and see if I can catch some bigger fish.

    Some young Greeks opened a restaurant a couple of weeks ago within walking distance of my place, its called The Psari Shop. When the sign went up as it was being fitted out I thought it was going to be selling these :lol:


  4. Well, even if CK is right, there will be Greek made detergent in the shops instead of imports.

    That has to be a step up! All right, it might be a step to one side. Greeks will read that such things are made in Greece, and no longer think so much of German - or Chinese - domination.

    1. I agree. As long as products for Greek consumption are produced in Greece instead of abroad, regardless whether it is a subsidiary of a foreign company or a Greek company under license, it's good news for Greece. Perhaps even better news under license because the Greek fear of 'foreigners taking over their economy' does not come into play.

      Obviously, if the Greek licensee produces in Cyprus instead of Greece, then we are back to sware 1.

  5. A friend commented via email to the above post. Here it is:

    In Greece, what the Unilevers & Henkels of this world are doing is exactly what many multinationals did post the fall of the Junta in 1974 - and I was part of the ... Bank which helped to finance many of them. Mind you, quite a few of them were looking to break even in the local market on products manufactured here - whilst setting up Middle East offices to also export to that troubled part of the world - especially when Lebanon became untenable. Ironically, at that stage in the area's history, Saddam Hussein's Iraq was a key export market for some of these multinationals!

    I still hold to the view that Greece will be forced into the Drachma - whilst remaining within the EU. Guess what? Multinationals setting up manufacturing operations here could also produce for export to the Eurozone - and gain valuable foreign exchange revenue!!