The 14th CFOs Conference, organized by KPMG in Greece, was successfully concluded. The Greek financial situation is the cynosure of all eyes.
Amid major political and economic developments, KPMG's 14th CFO Forum was successfully concluded. In the opening speech, Nikos Vettas, General Director of IOBE and professor of economics at AUEB, made a review of the Greek economy from the beginning of the crisis to the current negotiations. He was declared his certainty that a good deal with the lenders is not feasible at this stage, because, as he said, trust and understanding are required, features lacking on both sides. He stressed the need for an effort towards growth by Greek side and underlined that the Greek government will have to seek for emergency investment funds from Brussels.
He emphasized the destructive consequences of uncertainty, which was compounded by the lack of clarity and honesty of those handling the economic decisions in Greece and in Brussels during the last years.. Mr. Vettas presented the economic indicators according to which it is apparent that in real terms the country fell behind by a decade and suggested that a recovery over time is possible, however it will be subject to conditions. The investments should be the main driver of recovery, which last year fell at 11%, from a 24% average in the years 2005 to 2008. It is estimated that it takes 10 billion euros of investments per year for the next five years to achieve the target. Mr. Vettas opposed the extra borrowing which merely targets the vivification of internal consumption, stating that "even if we were given money for such a purpose we should deny it". Referring to individual economic indicators, Mr. Vettas underlined that a solution for the Greek economy should go through its pension plan.
The Greek crisis was a large part of the speech of the London Business School Economics Professor, Andrew Scott. He explicitly argued that the current economic situation in Greece is not sustainable and cannot continue. He claimed that a bankruptcy is the only solution, since it is not feasible, as he said, to have both growth and continuing austerity measures. For the relationship between Greece and the euro he used the metaphor of a bad marriage that you either decide to end, or you contemn yourself to internal misery. In case of a Grexit, Professor Scott predicted that the national currency will depreciate by 50-60% and expressed his confidence that the European banking system will not suffer substantially and that only some countries will be more vulnerable. He also stated emphatically that the issue is purely political, since such issues could be solved financially.
The impact of Article 21 of Law. 4321/2015 on entrepreneurship, was discussed by a tax panel, during the conference. The moderator of the panel was Mrs. Georgia Stamatelou, Partner and Head of Tax, KPMG. The speakers (Messrs Harris Goritsas, Regional Commercial Finance Director, Diageo Hellas, Yiannis Kalafatas, Chief Executive Director - Group Finance, Mytilineos Holdings, Ioannis Koulouris, Finance Director, Pfizer Hellas, Manolis Patrelakis, CFO, MEL Macedonian Paper Mills) agreed that despite the improvements on the Decree there are still bureaucratic problems which aggravate the competitiveness of Greek businesses.
Timo Elliot, Global Innovation Evangelist of SAP, through a highly interesting and interactive presentation, showed how technology can help CFOs through In Memory Computing, Big Data & Analytics, Cloud and Mobile Technology.
Eleanor Winton, Director of Future Institute, analysed the key trends or “megatrends” and how they affect business strategy and entrepreneurship, by providing concrete examples of new data that not only have changed the strategy of companies, but also of entire markets in which they operate.
The conference concluded with a panel discussion on the Mergers and Acquisitions, which was moderated by Thanos Tsotsoros, Deputy Director of Deal Advisory and Head of Corporate Financing of KPMG. The discussion began with a presentation of Iossif Kiouroukoglou, Director of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, on developments and trends at European level, and subsequently was enriched by the experiences, the opinions, but also the answers to questions of the panel speakers Vassilis Andrikopoulos, Chief Operating Officer & Vice President, Olympic Brewery, Thanasis Dervisis, Assistant General Manager, Deputy Head of Corporate Special Handling Sector, George Nikas, Chief Financial Officer, Sklavenitis Group and George Papaioannou, General Manager Corporate & Shipping Recovery, Piraeus Bank Group.
Sponsors of the event were the companies LeasePlan, Amadeus, BMW, Edenred, ICAP Group, IRIS Printing, NEON Energy and SAP.
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