The decision to invest in Greece by the Indian SwitzGroup, which is active in the food sector, was taken in 2016 and began to be implemented in 2017, amid capital controls and devalued values.
Seven years later, the initiative has been a success, as the group has made 10 acquisitions of companies from the broader food and beverage sector. SwitzGroup's Greek assets in 2023 show a turnover of €150 million and EBITDA of over €15 million, with a workforce of 1,200.
SwitzGroup's chief executive Taijun Korakiwala, speaking at a group event, said that "we will continue to invest in our country" and made particular reference to the good performance of the Greek economy in recent years.
It should be noted that SwitzGroup - after the Canadian banker of Indian origin, Prem Wacha - is actually the first purely Indian group to invest significant funds in Greece and its experience from our country will play an important role in view of important transnational agreements currently being launched between the two countries.
Speaking at the same event, Elias Davos, a close associate of the Indian businessman in Greece and Turkey, gave a brief assessment of Switzgroup's presence in the region. I was cautious but the head of the group had a different view. In 2017 our first consolidated turnover from our activities in Greece and Turkey was EUR 13.5 million and EBITDA profit of EUR 2.5 million. In 2023, the corresponding figures are EUR 200 million (EUR 150 million from Greece) and EBITDA of more than EUR 20 million, while for 2024 our initial forecasts are that consolidated sales will reach EUR 250 million."
Currently, SwitzGroup holds majority stakes in ten companies:
- 51% in Ioniki Puff pastry, managed by George Portokalidis; in Olympic Foods (confectionery raw materials, bakery), managed by Christina Benaki; in CSM Bakery (now Artizan), which is active in bakery raw materials and is "run" by Kostas Marinos; in Koulourades, the well-known network that produces and markets D. Grivas, in Creton Artos (nuts, breadsticks), of M. Damianakis, who has left and the management has been passed on to D. Koulouras, who is the owner of the company that sells and distributes the local market of Koulouras, the company that sells and distributes the products of Koulouras, and the company that sells and distributes the Koulouras branded products in the local market. Grivas, the OAK liquor stores, Newbake (production of frozen donuts) of Vaios Kapatai, Samouri (packaged confectionery products for supermarkets), Frankal (wholesale of confectionery and bakery raw materials in the region of Crete) and Troufa (confectionery products).
- It also owns the trading company SwitzGroup Trading and represents in Greece the products of the European companies Bridor, Europastry and Baker&Baker.
Switzgroup is recording significant capital gains from Optima Bank. It had invested well before the bank's listing on the SA, acquiring 2% at a low price compared to the current market price (EUR 7.8), and has reportedly further increased its holding.
SwitzGroup is the investment arm of the Korakiwala family in food, a sector in which it has been active for the past 45 years, mainly in the bakery, egg, confectionery raw materials, biscuits, croissants, frozen dough, as well as retail chains such as confectionery and bakeries.
Headquartered in Dubai, it operates in four geographies (Europe, Australia, India and the Middle East) and in 2023 had an annual turnover of €600 million and an EBITDA of €90 million.
The Korakyuala Group is headed by 67-year-old Taijun Korakyuala, who continues the family's 120-year business history. In addition to food, the group is also active in the pharmaceutical sector.