Billionaire investor John Paulson is among other large hedge fund managers who are bullish on the recovery of Greece, which seems to be recovering after suffering a deep recession for six years.
John Paulson’s stake in Greek bank
John Paulson’s firm acquired a 5.4% stake in Alpha Bank, the fourth largest lender in Greece and a 9.9% stake in EYDAP SA, the largest water supply and sewage company in the country with approximately 4.3 million customers.
Alpha Bank disclosed the investment of Paulson &Co., but did not provide further details about it. Based on Thomson Reuters Eikon data, the 5.4% stake in Alpha Bank has a market value of €407 million or $565 million on Tuesday at the Athens Stock Exchange.
Last October, John Paulson revealed that he acquired shares of Alpha Bank, but he did not show the size of the stake. Firms are only required to disclose stakes of more than 5% under Greek law. John Paulson also invested in Piraeus Bank.
Separately, EYDAP SA revealed that Paulson & Co. acquired 10,648, 800 shares or 9.99% stake in the company as of April 30, 2014. The stake is worth approximately €99 million or $137 million.
Other funds betting on Greece
Some of the largest hedge fund managers betting on Greek banks include, Daniel Loeb’s Third Point LLC and Seth Klarman’s Baupost Group, Farallon Capital, York Capital Management, QVT Financial, and Dromeus.
The money managers believed that investing in in Greek banks is likely to be the most profitable position as banks are among the cheapest assets in the country.
Loeb generated strong returns from their investments from their investments in Greek government bonds.
Contrarian Capital, the hedge fund headed by Jon Bauer invested in the National Bank of Greece (NYSE:NBG) during the third quarter last year.
Watsa bets big on Greece
Prem Watsa, chairman of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (TSE:FFH) (OTCMKTS:FRFHF) invested in JUMBO SA (OTCMKTS:JUMSF), MYTILINEOS HLDGS SA (OTCMKTS:MYTHF), and Eurobank Properties. Watsa previously stated, “we continue supporting Greece and believe that the country has made great progress in dealing with its serious economic issues.”
Last April, Watsa’s firm together with a group of investors made a big investment in Eurobank, the third largest bank in Greece, which is 95% controlled by Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF).