Greece Receives First Tranche of Financial Help Package from EU

Greece receives first tranche of financial help

Image source: Pravda.ru

This is from the Russian newspaper Pravda:

The first tranche of the agreed financial assistance to Greece has been assigned, said the EU Commissioner for Economy and Monetary Policy Olli Rehn.

In his words, Greece’s partners in the euro zone have wired 14.5 billion euros, and an additional 5,5 billion euros from the International Monetary Fund, to Greece.

On May 2,  at an extraordinary meeting in Brussels, the finance ministers of 16 EU countries adopted a package of financial assistance from the EU and the IMF to Greece  in the amount of 110 billion euros. Eighty billion of which to be assumed by the European Union, including 22 billion from Germany, which is the euro zone’s largest economy. Borrowing agreements with member countries of the euro zone will be bilateral in nature and will be issued under a preferential 5 percent.

Following the meeting of finance ministers from 16 countries of the euro zone, chairman of the EU Group, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters that the meeting participants had unanimously agreed that the Greek government was following the right path.

Source: Pravda

and this is from the Turkish newspaper Sabah (updated for translation errors, my Turkish: bad!):

Since Papandreou came to power in Greece in October, the government has scored its first scandal. Greek Tourism Minister Angela Gerekou, who is the wife of Tolis Voskopuolus, a singer, who is being accused of evading 5 million euros in taxes, has resigned over the allegation. A former actor, Gerekou’s resignation was accepted by Prime Minister George Papandreou. In the attempt to get out of the debt crisis the fight against tax evasion and corruption had been among the priorities of the Greek government. This tax scandal hits the government’s credibility.

Source: Sabah

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NYT: Yet Another Tale for our Times

From the New York Time’s Gretchen Morgenson:

A once-healthy company that is Greece’s third-largest mobile phone operator, Wind Hellas was taken over in a 2005 buyout by two global private equity giants: Apax Partners out of London and the Texas Pacific Group, led by David Bonderman. The two firms larded Wind Hellas with debt before selling it off just two years after they bought it.

Wind Hellas filed for the British equivalent of bankruptcy protection last fall, and now some investors are trying to figure how such a promising enterprise went aground. Apax and T.P.G. officials declined to comment for this column.

But Bertrand des Pallières, the chief executive of SPQR Capital, a London investment firm, was one of the larger bondholders in Wind Hellas. He says the decision by Apax and T.P.G. to heap debt onto the company while simultaneously extracting so much cash from it ultimately contributed mightily to its woes.

“The private equity industry always pitches how constructive it is as an investor force to create jobs and growth,” says Mr. des Pallières. “But there are private equity funds that get rich by breaking companies and making others poor — whether they are creditors, states or employees.”

Read full story here.

According to the article Apax and T.P.G. paid 1.1 billion euros for 81 percent of the company; later that year, they paid 264 million euros more for the rest in 2005. Wind Hellas had little debt of 166 million euros.

In 2007 Apax and T.P.G. sold Wind (a.k.a) TIM Hellas for 3.4 billion euros in equity and debt, however the company was loaded with debt. However, just 10 days before selling it, the Sharholders had transferred around 974 million euro out.

Nice little tale about capitalism. Take a perfectly healthy company that is actually making a profit, gut it and leave the corpse to rot.

Last fall, the parent company for the mobile phone operator now known as Wind Hellas defaulted on some of its debts, an unhappy situation that has left Mr. des Pallières, the investor, shaking his head.

“Private equity and banking can be very constructive functions of the economy, but they will destroy this industry if the leading players do not regulate themselves,” he says.

Self regulation? Don’t make me laugh.