Thursday, December 17, 2015

An Intelligent Foreign Investment

The Austrian Prinzhorn-Group has acquired the Greek Viokyt Packaging. From what I have read about this transaction in the Austrian media, it could be a classic example of what I would call an intelligent foreign investment for Greece, exactly the kind of investment which Greece should strive for.

Prinzhorn has a tradition of being family-owned (Prinzhorn family). As such, they are literally the opposite of a financial investor. Prinzhorn is among the European market leaders for recycling paper and the packaging industry. They employ 5.300 people in 13 countries and their annual sales are 1,2 BEUR. And - they are profitable and enjoy good creditworthiness.

Viokyt, I understand, is a star in the Greek packaging industry. Only a few months ago, they received the award of a National Champion from the European Business Awards.

The owners of Viokyt will profit because they allegedly received top-Euro for their excellent company. But Greece will profit, too. Prinzhorn takes a long-term view on its investments with a clear emphasis on growing the business instead of milking the companies.

Prinzhorn plans to increase and modernize the production facilities of Viokyt, both with a view towards tripling the production output. One can only assume that this will also have something to do with additional employment.

If I were Alexis Tsipras, I would invite Mr. Prinzhorn to the Maximos Mansion, entertain him to an unforgettable Greek lunch and then hold a press conference with him. And at that press conference, I would announce to the world that if Greece got another 20-30 of such investments, the country would be back in the future.


  1. Hi Mr. Kastner,

    I am aware of this company. Viokyt that is. It is a good company with smart employees and engineers. It is a smart buy, by the Austrian company. Although i do not work with them, they are good. The are niched into a different segment then our needs or most of our needs.

    This is welcomed investment, but there is good competition out there. At least 5 solid competitors. Doesn't matter though as it will help increase efficiency in the whole market within the paper goods segment. Thanks for the post so i keep in mind.

    Incidentally, Greece is moving up quite well in the packaging market. In general and in all sectors. This is to be considered light industry. We do not have any behemouths in the packaging sector but quite efficient and competetive. I like to think that i have had a big influence in this with many of my suppliers. Maybe there is some hope for my efforts and for my country.


  2. Klaus, unfortunately you are not Tsipras and Tsipras is not you. He and most of Syriza simply does not seem to be interested in market- and growthoriented policies.

    Finance Minister Tsakalotos sums it up best when he refers to economic growth as follows:

    "Economic growth is not a goal in itself, especially if it doesn't include qualitative and social characteristics"

    Tsakalotos is better that Varoufakis... but only in terms of temperament. He is infected with Marxist b*llocks like Varoufakis. Caught in an imaginary world shaped by the labour theory of value and romantic notions of class struggle.

    Unfit for the purpose of implemeting policy to attract investment that will drive growth and employment.

    There is no hope for Greece.

  3. Yes, it seems like a marriage made in heaven. Greece does not need 20-30 of them, they need 1000, and they need them in all types of industry and all levels of technological sophistication. If we assume that each one invest EUR 100 MIO and create 100 new jobs, then we are halfway through it. That, however requires functioning and independent institutions, and a lot of hard work adding value to a process.
    The general thinking in Greece is not about adding value but extracting it, a typical example is the wish to be an energy hub (middleman) in the southeast Europe. The chance was there, for various reasons it will not materialize. Some of the reasons are external, like future availability/consumption/production of hydrocarbons. Some are self-imposed by Greece. Greece's general behavior has not strengthened the confidence of possible partners. There is no way Cyprus and Israel as producers, or Europe as consumers, would place themselves in a position where Greece could exert extortion. Should anybody be stupid enough to suggest it there will be plenty of persons to quote Mr. Tsipras "we will play the music, and they will dance".
    PS. Klaus, I have said it before, you have a way with words. Your comment in Macropolis about bank ownership was timely enough for it to be a strong contender for "understatement of 2015", it is hereby proposed. "The objectives of financial investors are frequently at odds with policies for a sustained, long term recovery".

  4. Greece is missing the opportunities they had, the energy hub (a McKinsey target) is not the only one. Canning, freezing and bottling of their foodstuff for the retail market is another one. Other Balkan countries have taken up the slack, there is no more room for Greece. One by one the windows of opportunity are closing, as other nations work their way through them. The former Russian controlled countries are not sitting on their hands, as Greece has been doing the last 7 years. It is true that the (justifiable) lack of trust in Greece has/is playing a role, but the main reason for lack of progress is "too much talk and too little action". Greece is still waiting for their savior, and the world is not waiting for Greece. The devil takes the last one, RIP.