Canada's Fairfax buys Mytilineos stake in second bet on Greece

Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:45am EDT
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By Harry Papachristou

ATHENS (Reuters) - Canadian investment fund Fairfax Holdings (FFH.TO: Quote) has become the third-biggest shareholder of Greek industrial group Mytilineos MYTr.AT, acquiring a 5 percent stake worth about 30 million euros ($41 million), the two companies said on Monday.

That is the second Greek investment this year by Fairfax, which is controlled by investor Prem Watsa - known as the "Warren Buffett of Canada".

The deal confirms a trend of overseas funds placing small investments in the bailed-out country, betting on a recovery from its deepest postwar economic slump.

"We continue supporting Greece and believe that the country has made great progress in dealing with its serious economic issues," Watsa said in a Mytlineos bourse filing.

A 5 percent stake in Mytilineos is worth about 30 million euros on the Athens stock exchange.

The company runs southeast Europe's biggest aluminum smelter, produces electricity and controls power station building company METKA (MTKr.AT: Quote), which has expanded abroad in a bid to escape Greece's recession.

Fairfax said last week it would spend about 20 million euros to raise its stake in Greek property developer Eurobank Properties EUPr.AT (EURBr.AT: Quote) to 41 percent from 19 percent.

The Canadian firm also briefly expressed an interest earlier this year in buying a stake in bailed-out National Bank (NBG) (NBGr.AT: Quote), Greece's biggest lender.   Continued...