Stefanos D. Vlastos: “We are aiming for the optimal utilisation of our properties, we protect them and we invest significantly in real estate”
Athens, 25 October 2021
During this year’s PRODEXPO 2021, in thematic sections “Public infrastructure projects, NextGenerationEU, opportunities and the role of the PPF” and “How to maximize the value of state-owned property”, the CEO of HPPC, Stefanos D. Vlastos mentioned the role played by the utilization of public property in attracting investment, the investment plan implemented by the Public Property Company (HPPC) SA, the importance of the Recovery Fund for the national economy and the critical institutional issues related to the utilization of real estate.
Specifically, in the context of the panel discussion entitled: “Public infrastructure projects, NextGenerationEU opportunities and the role of the PPF”, the CEO of HPPC referred to the great challenge of using Recovery and Sustainability Fund resources, noting that one of the most critical issues is the absorption of funds which must be done by all sectors of the economy, including the real estate sector, in a way that will create a multiplier benefit for the country.
“Our goal as HPPC is to integrate projects such as green development and digital transformation so that we can enter the new era strongly,” Mr. Vlastos said, referring to the priorities in the Company’s development plan. He added,
“We intend to proceed with urban regeneration in large areas of Athens, Thessaloniki, Crete and Nafplio, and we will include a series of projects in emblematic Business Units such as the Parnassos Ski Centre, where we want to operate at a very high level this year.”
Regarding interest from investors, Mr. Vlastos stressed that the real estate sector continues to function as a magnet that attracts interest from the investment community. This is the result of the reliability and transparency shown by the Greek Government over the past two years. When he was asked about the new Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund Project Preparation Facility he stressed that this is a useful new tool to overcome delays within the Greek State.
He added, “The Hellenic Corporation of Assets and Participations S.A. and its direct subsidiaries have the flexibility, speed, know-how and transparency required to carry out projects of strategic importance for the country in a short period of time. We are changing Greece, in recent years we have been giving a completely different picture thanks to our credibility and the titanic effort we are making to solve decade-long problems.”
During the panel discussion entitled: “How to maximize the value of state-owned property”, referring to issues surrounding the use of HPPC’s portfolio, the CEO of the Company pointed out that, “We are changing and turning over a new leaf when it comes to the use of our real estate by setting goals and working hard.” He added that, “Our goal is the optimal utilization of real estate and in this context we listen to the market view, as we did in the case of the TAE KWON DO stadium and a number of other properties, and we are investing in diversifying our portfolio.
In addition, Mr. Vlastos emphasised that HPPC now invests significantly in its properties including the Parnassos Ski Centre, the Arvanitia Tourist Kiosk and the famous florists at the Parliament, stating that when he took over the Management of the Company in November 2019 it invested 50 euros a year in each of its properties!
On the institutional framework and the changes that are needed to accelerate the use of public property, Mr. Vlastos noted that HPPC cooperates closely with its parent company HCAP and all the other agencies to ensure its property is protected and used. He stressed that out of a total of 77,569 titles in its portfolio, 28,500 of the Company’s properties are illegally used, with a typical example being the Tourist Kiosk in Paleokastritsa in Corfu which has been illegally utilised for 20 years, stating that just last week the Company managed to regain ownership of this property.
Mr. Vlastos said there was a vital need to reduce bureaucracy and overregulation, and stated that justice is “a sick man” as far as this is concerned. He also stated that it was vital that issues around spatial planning, urban planning, land use and archaeological issues be resolved.
In closing, he stressed the importance of the consistency, reliability and transparency shown by the country in terms of attracting investors, noting that the best example is the recent case of Scaramangas Shipyards, where “after 40 years we have managed to adhere strictly to our schedules, to hold a successful tender, attracting one of the biggest name investors from the shipping industry, strong proof of what the Government has achieved in the last two years “.
Dimosthenis Voivontas, Head of the Licensing Department of the General Secretariat for Strategic and Private Investments, also participated in the panel discussion “Public infrastructure projects, NextGenerationEU, opportunities and the role of the PPF” and the host was Panagiotis Merekoulias, CEO of VALUES a member of EVA.
The other participants in the panel discussion “How to maximize the value of state-owned property” were Messrs. Grigoris Dimitriadis, CEO of HCAP, Thanassis Kontogeorgis, Government General Secretary for Coordination and George Filiopoulos, CEO of ENTEPRISE GREECE and the host was Yiannis Orfanos, Founding Partner of Arbit.