Rich Greek Aussies top BRW list

While mining magnate Gina Rinehart tops the list, Con Makris is still the richest Greek Australian with a $900 million fortune

Rich Greek Aussies top BRW list

Kerry Harmanis

27 May 2013

Adelaide businessman Con Makris is the richest Greek Australian according to the BRW Top 200 Rich List, while another six Greeks have made the list.
At number 40 on the list, Mr Makris made his estimated $900 million fortune from property investments, but started off in humble beginnings. Like many migrants, Mr Makris started in retail ventures, buying fish and chip shops and grocery stores but then moved on to shopping centres.
While the number seems high, it has been falling for quite some time. In 2011, the Makris family had amassed more than $1.07 billion and became the first Greek Australian billionaires, then fell last year to $910 million.
BRW predicts the number will keep falling if his ventures continue to stagnate.
“While Makris has done well with his shopping centre investments, his development pipeline has stalled in the past few years,” BRW writes.
“A residential estate and shopping centre in Victor Harbor has languished for so long its permits ran out. A CBD-fringe property, once a furniture shop, has been empty since 1989 and Makris has owned it since 2001.”
No surprise that mining magnate Gina Rinehart topped the list again, with a fortune estimated at $22 billion.
But this is the first year her fortune has dropped considerably since its high in 2012 with more than $29 billion in her pocket. A whopping $19 million per day gets wiped off her fortune, showing the resources boom could be cooling. The drop has also bumped her off the world’s richest woman title, while her lengthy and bitter court battle with her children might cut a big chunk of her fortune soon.
Barrister turned miner Kerry Harmanis is the second richest Greek Australian, coming in at number 80 with an estimated net worth of $590 million. At $570 million last year, the Perth local has boosted his total with sound investments in property, shares and his mining ventures. He made $500 million selling his nickel business Jubilee Mines to Xstrata in 2007, but doesn’t take the mining tycoon title well. He’s known for being very low key, plays the mandolin and surfs a lot.
Ten points down, at number 90 is Sydney’s Theo Karedis, who has steadily been increasing his fortune after selling his own liquor stores to consortium Coles Myer in 2002 for $175 million.
The well-noted Harry Stamoulis is the 93rd richest Australian, sitting on $480 million, up from $445 million last year. Inheriting his father’s riches after selling the soft drinks company Gold Medal to Cadbury’s in 2004, the family now invests in property and has slowly increased their net worth. This year, Mr Stamoulis applied for a permit to build 258 triple-storey townhouses in the re-zoned Fishermans Bend precinct of Port Melbourne while his $24 million dollar house is still being built.
The family have been very active members of the Greek community, setting up the Hellenic museum while funding many Greek language newspapers and radio stations.
Another family not on the list is the Paspaley family, who still privately own their pearling business in Darwin. The family is estimated at a fortune over $900 million with their ventures into aviation, fishing, retail and hotels also making them a considerable profit.
Back on the list at number 131 is car dealership magnate Nick Politis. With a $360 million fortune, the 71-year-old made his first rich list appearance in 1987 and stayed till 2006.
“Politis’s wealth has been boosted by the continuing strong performance of listed car dealership AP Eagers,” BRW says.
Greek-born Australian George Koukis made the list at 153, with a fortune of $320 million, up $5 million from last year. The banking software he founded in 1993 amassed him his fortune, now his company Temenos is worth $3 billion.
Last to make it on the list is Greek Australian Spiros Alysandratos. From Kefalonia, the travel businessman fell into the industry after failing to find a discounted flight back to Europe. Now his company, Consolidated Travel, provides wholesale ticketing services for travel agencies while looking after the back office operations of a string of foreign airlines.
BRW reports that the overall value of Australia’s wealthiest 200 fell by $4.4 billion to a total of $176.8 billion.

2013 Forbes 400 List: America’s Richest Greeks

Richest_Greek_Americans_Forbes_2013_list

Six Greek-Americans are among America’s richest people, according to the 2013 Forbes 400 list released on September 16. All of them are self-made and their net worth varies from $1.3 billion to $4 billion. Here are the successful Greek-Americans who landed one of 400 spots on a list of America’s richest people as released by Forbes magazine:

John Paul DeJoria, the second son of an Italian immigrant father and a Greek immigrant mother ranks 110th with a net worth of $4 billion. According to the Forbes list, he is the richest American of Greek descent. Dejoria comes from rough beginnings–his parents were poor, and as a kid he was a member of a street gang. Wanting to leave his past behind, he enlisted in the US Navy and later got a job from which he was fired at the world of haircare at Redken Laboratories. In 1980, he co-founded the haircare outfit John Paul Mitchell Systems. He also helped create tequila distiller Patron Spirits.

Jim Davis, the Chairman of  footwear manufacturer New Balance, is the second richest Greek-American. Davis, the son of Greek immigrants, bought the company with only six employees and turned it into a global conglomerate with more than 4,000 employees. He is the 161st richest American, with a net worth of $3.1 billion.

John Catsimatidis, the self-made billionaire who ran unsuccessfully for New york City mayor, has a net worth of $3.1 billion and shares the 161st position with Jim Davis. Catsimatidis is the owner of Gristedes supermarkets in New York and he has also companies in the real estate and oil sectors. Catsimatidis dropped from the 132nd position that he had in 2012 to the 161st position in 2013. Catsimatidis has two children and resides in New York City.

The fourth richest Greek in America is George Argyros, with a net worth of $2.1 billion. He is the 26oth richest person in the US as of September 2013. Argyros, who was the Ambassador of the US to Spain under the second George W. Bush administration, owns real estate and investment companies. A self-made billionaire, he has three children and resides in Newport Beach, CA.

Michael Jaharis is the 273rd richest person on the Forbes 400 list, with a net worth of $2 billion. Jaharis, who holds a PhD of Jurisprudence, DePaul University, owns pharmaceutical companies and resides in New York, NY.

At the 386th position on the Forbes 400 list with a net worth of $1.3 billion is Dean Mitropoulos, founder of  the investment firm Metropoulos & Co. The Connecticut businessman is known as the “Acquisition King” for his ability to gobble up lucrative companies, including Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer and Twinkies.

In general, the list was topped by Bill Gates, as the richest American for the 20th year in a row; he has reclaimed the title of world’s richest person from Mexico’s Carlos Slim with a net worth of $72 billion. Warren Buffett is at number two with $58.5 billion, while Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is back into the top 20 with a net worth of $19 billion.

Foreigners set to rouse property market in Greece

State asset tenders and bank portfolios currently offering investors great opportunities in local real estate

Some 100 million euros is expected to come into the local property market from foreign investors within 2013, according to a report by international real estate agency Savills, which would constitute a record amount for the last few years at least.

This high level of foreign investment in Greek property is expected to come from the state tenders conducted by privatization fund TAIPED, including the sale and leaseback of 28 properties for which offers are expected to be submitted by the end of the month or in early October. These tenders have reportedly attracted the interest of a number of investors who are able to pay significant amounts of money.

Another reason for the anticipated rise in property investment from abroad is the entry into the market of quality properties from the portfolios of the country’s banking groups, which due to the ongoing concentration of activities is leading them to selling their real estate holdings in order to strengthen their financial reports and cash reserves.

Nevertheless the Greek market still faces a number of problems. Savills says in its Europe-wide report that the general investment climate remains unchanged as investors do not have access to bank funding. The writers of the report state that “the eagerly anticipated recapitalization of the banking system has not translated into improved liquidity in the market.”

However, investors who do have access to the necessary cash flow are currently focusing on the Greek market due to the considerable drop in prices over the last few years, even for quality assets. It follows the pattern set for other peripheral markets in the European Union, such as Ireland, Spain and Italy, to which more and more foreign investors have been turning.

Savills also foresees a further 15 percent decline in commercial property prices this year in Greece, but this will probably signal the end of the downward cycle. The interest from foreign investors is set to halt the drop in prices, with Savills expecting the yields of quality properties in Greece to stay at the current levels of 8.5-9 percent for next year as well. This means the commercial property market will likely stabilize in 2014.

Crisis in Greece: PM Samaras sees recovery by 2019

Source: BBC

Teachers on strike in Greece rally in Athens, 16 September

Teachers are protesting against public sector cuts

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has said the debt-ridden country could return to pre-crisis living standards within six years.

“According to most [experts], we will not need a couple of decades, not a couple of generations, but only six years,” he said in a speech.

He spoke in Rome before travelling to Brussels to meet EU officials.

International lenders are due to conduct a new audit of Greece, where strikes against cuts are under way.

Doctors began a three-day strike on Tuesday in protest at government plans for hospital mergers.

Teachers went on strike on Monday with thousands attending rallies outside parliament in the capital, Athens, as well as the second city, Thessaloniki.

Greece’s economy has shrunk by 23% since 2008, and international lenders expect it to diminish by a further 4.2% this year.

The country has received two aid packages totalling about 240bn euros (£205bn; $321bn) and will need about 10bn euros more to cover a funding gap.

In rare good news for the economy, a finance ministry official told Reuters news agency the government expected its budget gap over 2015 and 2016 to be “well below” 2% of GDP thanks to a strong tourism season this year.

New money

Speaking at a conference organised by the International Herald Tribune, Mr Samaras said his government had implemented “sweeping reforms” and the country was now “going through the end of the recession”.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras (left) and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso at a news conference in Brussels, 17 September Mr Samaras (left) met the head of the European Commission in Brussels

In Brussels, he met European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso who said in a statement after the talks: “I believe now we can say there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

However, Mr Barroso added, there was “still a way to go to modernise the public sector and really put it at the service of citizens and companies”.

Mr Samaras, who leads a fragile coalition between his conservative New Democracy party and leftist parties, has agreed to put 25,000 civil servants on a reduced salary this year before they are transferred or dismissed.

The action is being taken in exchange for a new instalment of loans worth 1bn euros from the so-called troika of lenders – the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

It is the first time under the Greek constitution that public sector workers will lose their jobs, with 15,000 redundancies expected by the end of 2014, the BBC’S Mark Lowen in Athens reports.

Some 4,500 civil servants – mostly teaching staff – were already redeployed at the end of July.

A technical team from the troika is due to arrive in Athens this week, followed by senior mission chiefs on 22 September, AFP news agency reports.

They are expected to examine the privatisation of three ailing industries – mining company Larko, truck manufacturer Elvo and defence contractor EAS – and the drafting of a new property tax.

‘Impossible to live’

When protesting school guards tried to push their way into the ministry of administrative reform on Monday, police fired tear gas.

“We want our jobs back!” former school guard Eleni Stathaki, 53, told Reuters news agency, weeping. “They threw us out but want us to keep paying taxes. It’s impossible to live like this.”

As protesters marched through Athens to parliament, they chanted “Let’s kick the government, the EU and the IMF out!” and held banners reading “No firings!”

A two-day general strike by public sector workers is due to begin on Wednesday.

Greece insists that its notoriously inefficient and bloated public sector needs reform, our correspondent says.

But with unemployment nearing 30%, it is a hard argument to sell to the people, he adds.

Hospital doctors join Greek strikes

Greek flags and protest

Greek doctors have joined the latest wave of strikes to hit the debt-stricken country, with thousands of public sector workers protesting against government plans for lay-offs and redeployments.

In Brussels, however, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said during a visit by Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras that the unpopular policy of austerity was showing results in Greece and must be pursued to the end.

Teachers from schools and universities, civil servants and lawyers are also on strike, in protest at reforms that Samaras’ centre-left coalition government is undertaking in return for international bailout funds.

Doctors in public hospitals are protesting at government plans to merge various hospitals in an effort to cut down on public spending, while lawyers oppose changes in their sector that will result in pay reductions.

On Tuesday, some 200 angry workers from the Greek ministry of development gathered in central Athens to protest at cuts.

“We have just received a list with 100 ministry employees who have been placed on the redeployment scheme. We are sure that this will lead to their lay-off,” union leader Dimitra Chioni said.

Many secondary schools remained shut around the country, with the main secondary school teachers union opposing a reduction of teaching staff and the abolition of so-called secondary subjects that include foreign languages, art and music.

Universities remained shut as well, refusing to provide the government with a list of names of staff that could be placed on the redeployment scheme.

The lawyers are expected to be on strike for two days, the doctors for three, while the teachers are due to continue their action for the rest of the week.

The latest wave of public sector strikes began on Monday, ahead of Samaras’ talks with EU officials in Brussels and the start of a new audit by European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund creditors.

Barroso said that after huge sacrifices there was “light at the end of the tunnel”, with twice-bailed out Greece set to return to growth next year.

After six years in a deep and damaging recession, Greece is finally turning the corner, with public finances set to show a primary surplus if debt and interest payments are excluded, said Samaras.

“Today there is no more talk about the infamous ‘Grexit,'” he added, referring to the possibility the country would leave the eurozone as it failed to meet its bailout targets.

First rescued in 2010 by the troika of the European Union, the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, Athens soon needed a second, bigger bailout which included a controversial write-down of some 100 billion euros ($A144.18 billion) in private creditor debt.

Neither Samaras nor Barroso directly referred to the strikes in Greece.

All of Greece’s other public sector unions will embark on a two-day strike on Wednesday and Thursday, called by the main union, ADEDY.

They will also be joined by unions representing workers in the private sector.

Assistant treasurer-elect Arthur Sinodinos will take responsibility for Australia’s $1.6 trillion superannuation industry

Source: SMH

Super industry welcomes appointment

Assistant treasurer-elect Arthur Sinodinos will take responsibility for Australia’s $1.6 trillion superannuation industry, but the title will go.

The industry was unsure on Monday when a minister for superannuation was not listed in Tony Abbott’s ministry.

But returning the sector to Treasury is not new; Labor introduced the country’s first superannuation minister, Nick Sherry, in 2007.

The Coalition’s former spokesman for superannuation, Mathias Cormann, has been promoted to finance minister. As expected, Joe Hockey will be treasurer, Steven Ciobo will be parliamentary secretary to the treasurer and Arthur Sinodinos will serve as assistant treasurer.

Alex Dunnin, director of research at super research firm Rainmaker, said putting super into the hands of Senator Sinodinos was ”probably a real stroke of luck for the sector as Sinodinos seems one of the most level-headed players in the whole cabinet, at least among the heavyweights”.

He added that Senator Sinodinos might ”also signal that the government doesn’t really have much interest in more superannuation or financial services reform, or even fussing too much with rolling things back.

”The industry will welcome the appointment … but I suggest the smarter players in the retail side of the trade will not be overly rapt, at least if they were expecting more restructuring.”

John Brogden, chief executive of the Financial Services Council, said ”as a former Treasury economist and chief of staff to John Howard, Arthur Sinodinos has unparalleled experienced for the role as assistant treasurer”.

David Whiteley, head of the industry super lobbying group Industry Super Network, said Senator Sinodinos had ”considerable experience in financial services”.

The announcement comes as the corporate regulator said it was scrutinising the aggressive marketing of property to self-managed superannuation funds, which account for almost one-third of the enormous industry’s total assets. ”ASIC [Australian Securities and Investments Commission] is also experiencing an increase in reports of misconduct about aggressive marketing of investments, notably direct property, through SMSFs,” it said in a consultation paper released on Monday.

And ASIC weighed into the debate over the minimum size for a fund, noting many industry participants question whether $200,000 is enough to establish a SMSF.

ASIC wants Australian financial services licensees to warn clients that SMSF investors are not entitled to compensation due to fraud or theft, after a parliamentary inquiry found SMSF investors in the collapsed Trio Capital were not aware they were ineligible or to other risks associated with SMSFs.

ASIC said financial planners and accountants should disclose the ”potentially significant” costs associated with managing a SMSF.