We have consistently held that the whole purpose of austerity regimes implemented and enforced by the world’s institutional lenders has but one goal: The concentrate wealth at the top.
The latest example comes from Greece, where the Troika of the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank, and the European Commission have forced the sales of nationally owned transportation systems, healthcare programs, the electric power grid, ports, islands, and other assets.
The austerity regime also forces Greeks to pay more in taxes and fees, while mandating public and private sector pay, pension, and benefit cuts.
So it should come as now surprise that Greeks are being forced to sell their homes, businesses, and other assets to foreing buyers,
The mergers and acquisitions (M&A) chart of Greece in 2016 that PricewaterhouseCoopers presented on Wednesday showed that foreigners have been acquiring assets in Greece while Greeks have generally been selling.
In total last year assets with a combined value of 4.4 billion euros changed hands in 38 transactions. The value level is about two-and-a-half times that recorded in 2015. Sixty-two percent of that amount came from National Bank’s sale of Finansbank in Turkey.
Last year’s M&A crop was dominated by what PwC dubbed “divestment of the systemic banks from their non-core assets.” This divestment fetched about 3.3 billion euros, or 75 percent of all transactions’ value. When the 500 million euros from privatizations (Piraeus Port Authority, Astir Palace etc) are added, then 2016 can be seen as the year of almost compulsory divestment. Without that, the M&A transaction volume would have come to just 600 million euros.
In recent years the M&A cycle has been “incoming,” with PwC analysts noting that foreign buyers are trying to take advantage of the drop in the value of Greek assets, as three in five transactions last year concerned acquisitions of Greek assets by foreign investors.