Qatar Plans 1 Bln Euros Greek Investments
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ trip to Qatar has won a pledge from government officials to put up 1 billion euros ($1.34 billion) in investments in Greek companies, a small amount compared to the country’s crushing debt of $430 billion, but seen as a sign Greece is more welcome to foreign investors.
The deal was reached as Samaras was in Doha with his development and defense ministers and a team of Greek business leaders.
Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani told a news conference that his country was prepared to put 1 billion euros into a fund that would invest in small and medium-sized Greek firms, with Greece matching the amount.
He added that a timetable for the scheme had not been set, but that Qatar would send a delegation to Greece next month to discuss details, Reuters reported.
Greece plans to invite bids for some of its state companies to raise money.
Asked about Qatari interest in the sales, Sheikh Hamad said: “We prefer direct government-to government relations. We think it’s quicker and more practical.
He added, “A serious investor is hard to find today.
We are a serious investor and friend to Greece.
The most effective way is to make a fair, direct deal.
” Qatar pulled out of a deal to develop the former Athens international airport site on the city’s southern coast because it didn’t want to bid or have competitors.
The Greek investment scheme is similar to a Qatari plan to invest in Italian companies, which was announced during a visit by Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti to Doha last November.
Samaras had originally intended to visit Qatar in November but postponed the trip because Athens was locked in talks to obtain aid from Eurozone donors.
The two leaders also talked about co-operation in tourism, energy, transport and communication, Al-Thani said, without giving further details