Deputy Minister Pahad to pay official visit to Greece Friday, 27 January - Wednesday, 1 February 2006
26 January 2006
Tshwane - South African Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad will pay an official visit to Athens, Greece from Friday to Wednesday, 27 January to 1 February 2006, during which he will hold bilateral political and economic discussions with his counterpart, Evripidis Stylianidis on Monday, 30 January 2006.
With Greece being a member of the European Union (EU) and a non-permanent member of the United Nations (UN) Security Council 2005-2006, the visit by Deputy Minister Pahad is intended to strengthen political, economic and cultural relations between the two countries with a view to consolidating the developmental agenda of the South in general and Africa in particular.
South Africa and Greece also have strong cultural ties through the Hellenic community in South Africa many of whom are playing a positive and constructive role in the reconstruction and development in South Africa.
Issues on the agenda of discussions are likely to include, among others:
a) The consolidation of bilateral political and economic relations between both countries;
b) EU - Africa discussions;
c) A briefing by Deputy Minister Pahad on the recently concluded African Union Summit;
d) South Africa's involvement in peacekeeping and post-conflict resolution, management and reconstruction in Africa;
e) Developments in the Mediterranean region including the issue of Cyprus; and
f) The comprehensive reform of the UN.
While in Greece Deputy Minister Pahad will also:
a) present a lecture arranged by the South African Embassy and the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy entitled "South Africa's involvement in peace-keeping and post-conflict resolution"
b) address the Hellenic-African Chamber of Commerce and Development
c) attend the Socialist International Conference and hold discussions with other role-players in the Hellenic Community.
Bilateral economic relations
Two way trade between South Africa and Greece, despite its gradual increase still has room for improvement. During 2003, South Africa's imports from Greece were valued at R106 390 million, while South Africa's exports to Greece were valued at R435 811 million.
Greece was the 12th largest investor to South Africa for the period 1999-2002 with investments amounting to approximately R1,6 billion. Foreign direct investment from Greece to South Africa is estimated at US$350 million. Such investments appear to be primarily targeted at financial services, shipping, foodstuff, manufactured products and commerce.
Hellenic Investments in South Africa
* Palace S.A. (K. Filippou Group)
The Greek company entered the South African market in 1998 through a buy out of a South African ice cream manufacturer. The initial investment amounted to approximately US$300m.
* National Bank of Greece S.A.
Greece's largest bank has for a number of years being present in the South African banking sector with its subsidiary, the Bank of Athens, featuring a number of branches in major South African cities.
* Frigoglass S.A.I.C.
Frigoglass falls under the group of 3E, the Greek Coca-Cola bottler. They manufacture commercial refrigerators and freezers. The Greek group through Frigoglass bought, for approximately US$8m (8,35 Euros), Husky of South Africa, which is the manufacturer of coolers and refrigerators, owned by Coca-Cola Company of South Africa. Husky holds a 75% share of the regional market that includes South Africa, Botswana, Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi. The Greek Coca-Cola bottler through mergers and acquisitions in Central Europe and the United Kingdom (UK) is now the second largest bottler of Coca-Cola outside Unite States of America.
* ACM Wood Chemicals Plc
This is a London-based Greek group of companies producing wood chemicals and 2001 have been operating fully in South Africa. The project is estimated to US$10m and operates under the name of Woodchem South Africa and produces glues and formal deydic products in Piet Retief.
* Germanos S.A.
A leading producer and franchiser of consumer batteries and accessories for mobile telephony. They have established a daughter company owned equally by 50% with South African entrepreneurs. Their initial investment amounts to US$500 000 and is expected to rise to US$2m. The company has also entered into a brand name agreement with MTN (the South African cellular telephone provider for the placement of the MTN Sunlight batteries in the South African market.
* A.G. Petzetakis Group
Petzetakis Group is the largest Greek industry in the manufacture of plastic pipes. During 2001 the group bought out the 100% of the shares of Main Pipe Systems, which belonged to Murray & Roberts, against the amount of Euro16m. Main Pipe Systems is the leader of plastic pipe manufacture in South Africa.
South African Investments in Greece
The South African investment presence in Greece is estimated to US$120m and is represented by the following two companies.
* NetMed S.A.
The NetMed Company through its sister company Multichoice Hellas operates the first analogue and digital pay TV. The digital via-satellite broadcasting of pay-TV programme was launched at the end of the year 2000. Up to now, Netmed is estimated that it has invested in excess of US$100m in its Greek operations.
* Ster Century
Operators of Multiplex cinemas, similar to Ster Kinekor in South Africa, since September 2000 in Thessaloniki. The initial investment is estimated to US$10m.
* The South African Embassy in Athens has also established the African-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Development in 2000.
Cell: 082 990 4853
Issued by: Department of Foreign Affairs
26 January 2006
Source: South African Press Association