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The rise and fall of Lavrentios Lavrentiadis

07 August 2011 / 17:08:33  GRReporter
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Lavrentios Lavrentiadis began at the age of 35 years to create a new business "niche". Initially he was managing well while he was at home, ie in the industry. However, when he stretched out to the publishers and mainly to banks he “spoiled the soup”. From the outset, his participation in the Bank Ρroton was not easy. When he bought the small bank and became Chairman of the Board of Director of the National Bank of Greece it took George Provopoulos 10 months to approve the deal, as he was investigating the origin of income of the businessman. "He shouldn’t have got involved in both things. No banker is dealing with other things. He overestimated his abilities", commented the market factors in an attempt to decode the "Lavrentiadis" phenomenon which last week monopolized the media, as Justice is examining his accounts and his actions in order to detect any illegal activities.

A "pyramid" of ten companies - including chain restaurants – owned by the businessman Lavrentios Lavrentiadis, and a mass fraud of the customers of Ρroton Βank be mentioned in the 8 pages final report of the deputy prosecutor of the Supreme Court and Chairman of the Agency against the legalization of proceeds of crime Panagiotis Nikoloudis published today by the newspaper "Vima".

The final report of the prosecutor on the misappropriation of 51 million euro from Ρroton Βank names the companies Αlapis ΑΒΕΕ, Εlfe, Αcolab, ΜΑΚ Jsc, Exelixi Jsc, Εscado Ιnvestments LΤD, Balis Ηome Car Jsc, and Ρrovet Jsc to which Ρroton Βank has granted loans and which, as the prosecutor states, are directly linked with Lavrentios Lavrentiadis.

For Αlapis he states that by 16th of December 2010 Lavrentiadis owned 21.325% of the company and is also the sole owner of Εlfe ΑΒΕΕ. About Αcolab is noted that it was founded on December 7th, 2010 and it immediately took over the development of Αlapis against a remuneration. It is also noted that interest of Αcolab in the first half of 2011 have been paid from the personal accounts of Lavrentiadis through his company Κlipartous. The company ΜΑΚ Jas bought on September 13th, 2010 the production and marketing departments of Αlapis for hospital medicines. Nevertheless Αlapis continued to sell its drugs, and 11 foreign pharmaceutical companies selling their products in Greece, have ignored the existence of ΜΑΚ Jsc. On October 5th, 2010 the company Exelixi Jsc bought the sales department for the products of Αlapis in the pharmacies but without having the required license from the National Medicines Agency! As to Εscado Ιnvestments LΤd, it was founded on November 5th, 2010, and was registered as a subsidiary of Exelixi AD, but it was not active.

About the company Balis Ηome Car Jsc it is indicated that on June 9th, 2010 it purchased three subsidiary companies and three departments of Αlapis, for which however, "arise the questions whether these are virtual actions." Also the flow of 40 million euro in Balis Ηome Car Jsc in the beginning of 2011 from offshore companies of Lavrentiadis has been investigated. As to Ρrovet Jsc, it is noted that it receives large loans from Ρroton Βank without doing any work.

Subsequently, Panagiotis Nikoloudis notes that some of these loans go to accounts in Piraeus Bank owned by two companies that are not active: Glikya gevsi ("Sweet Taste") Jsc and "Chemical Industry of Northern Greece" (ΧΒΒΕ). The money have been withdrawn by Lavrentiadis’ partner Dionisis Bitaris. According to the accounting balance sheet of the " Glikya gevsi " Jsc, at the end of 2009, the company has not been hiring staff with the purpouse of going in liquidation. The other company - ΧΒΒΕ – is a subsidiary of the above mentioned Εlfe Jsc.

In the last part of the document the deputy prosecutor stated: "Lavrentios Lavrentiadis and seven senior employees of Ρroton Βank have deceived the investment community. In particular, they have offered interest on deposits, which in some cases amounted to 9%, and on the other hand they have granted loans with interest of 3.5%. Based on the foregoing, the Bank's activity has not only failed to guarantee the deposits of its customers, but on the contrary it has created a risk of property losses".

For the latest developments with the intervention of the Agency for money laundering, Lavrentiadis’ position is very clear:

"In his business activities he has always fully complied with the law. Lavrentios Lavrentiadis strongly denies all charges, which he called groundless and slanderous, and the mentioning of his name in such acts".

The truth is that the image of the businessman faded a bit as his companies are growing worse.

In addition he has left Greece and is permanently living in London. He explains his decision with the transfer of most of his companies on "friendly forces".

"From a communicative point of view it was a mistake to leave Greece and sell his shares without actually getting away. This return reflected badly on his profile, which had already suffered from the collapse of the shares of Αlapis. In the best of times the company's capitalization was 1.3 billion euro, and today it is only 15 million euro. He succeeded for a short time to lose investor confidence ", share people close to him in the "overthrow" the master of buying.

"Master of his own pocket»

In the period 2003-2009 Lavrentiadis managed to make his companies giant and to add value for shareholders, who followed him. Of course, there are voices against that claimed that he is "a master of his own pocket, as the earnings per share of his companies decreased because of the large amount of securities issued after the huge increase in capital, but also because you can never compare the balance sheet from one financial year to the balance sheet of the previous one because the values ​​are always different due to the multiple acquisitions and mergers that have taken place in the meantime."

For the first time Lavrentiadis captured the attention of the investment community in March 2003 when Neochimiki appeared on the Athens Stock Exchange. The company, based in Egaleo, is owned by his family and Lavrentiadis took over its fate atl the age of 18, after the sudden death of his father. Lavrentiadis is better known for his personal story – at the age of 18 years old he got sick of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, a disease which he is still struggling with today with daily physiotherapy rather than for his business success. But actually, Neochimiki, which had until that time produced cleaners for large international companies, is developing very quickly. In 2005, packages of shares of the company started being shifted to foreign institutional investors. His cooperation with the broker Manolis Varsos begins to bear fruit. The two-digit growth of the company and the employment provided by multinational chemical companies provide the necessary "growth story", which Varsos sells very well to foreign investment houses. At the time it was a strange phenomenon for foreign institutional investors to buy shares of companies with small capitalization. Of course, the transactions have been examined by the Committee on Capital Markets, which concluded that buyers are actually large investment houses. Neochimiki was sold in 2008 to Carlyle Group for 19 euros per share, while the entrance price was 1.39 euros per share. The American Fund has spent over 700 million euro to acquire the majority of shares of Neochimiki. Lavrentiais sold his company to the highest bidder and earns personally about 130 million euros. Redemption of Neochimiki two years later and after a legal battle launched by Carlyle fed the scenarios that the balance sheet has been adjusted. The businessman himself claimed he had bought back the company for emotional reasons, and attributed its poor development to the management of the Americans.

At the end of 2006 he created Αlapis through the merger of four companies (Veterin, ΕΒΙΚ, Lamda Detergent and Εlpharma). Within four years and after 19 acquisitions, including the company Gerolimatos, Αlapis became the most powerful pharmaceutical company in Greece, but with serious problems in terms of liquidity.

In 2013, expires the term of the credit worth 647 million euros and it is believed that there will be a "battle" between banks for its renewal and the conditions for refinancing. The management of the company claims that a company with a turnover of 1 billion euro such as Αlapis can service these loans, but can not automatically finance its development when there are claims by the Greek State in excess of 350 million euros. The company employs 1,700 people who worry about their future.

Intermarry with Daniel Spekhard

The successful at the beginning business activities, but also the large amounts of money open new ways for the pious youth from Egaleo. A supporter of the rightist Party New Democracy, he picked up the phone and spoke to all ministers. However he also maintained excellent relations with the members of PASOK.

In 2006 he was nominated businessman of the year. Suddenly his entourage began to increase and wherever he went the motorcade that accompanied him, causied gridlock. He became related to the former U.S. ambassador in Greece Daniel Spekhard (he became the godfather to his granddaughter), whom he appointed as Chairman of the Board of Diretors of Ρroton Βank. He became a passionate collector of works of art and sponsor of numerous events in the field of arts and literature, held at the Museum 'Benaki", at the National Art Gallery, Museum of Cycladic Art, the Palace of Music and others. At the same time he supported by significant amounts charity organizations and the Church. The position of the "little» Μerit as a consultant in his business plans took Deutsche Βank, RΒS and the Greek Αlpha Βank and Piraeus Bank.

In early 2010, he funded the Research Department for Southeast Europe "Lavrentios Lavrentiadis" in Τhink Τank Center for Strategic and Ιnternational Studies in Washington and became a privileged interlocutor of the people who pull the strings around the world.

Media and the "Legend"

At first silent, but then with a deafening actions Lavrentiadis took stands together with Petros Kiriakidis in the mass media. Kiriakidis publishing activity seemed independent of the work of Lavrentiadis. Therefore Kiriakidis himself hastened to clarify to the stock market that the company ΝΕP Εkdoseis has acquired 12.53% of Pegasos («Εthnos», «Imerisia», etc..) and 10.14% of H. K. Tegopulos («Eleutherotipia»), that is the majority shareholder in ΝΕP.

Regardles of everything, investments in the media were described by many as "contradictory at the least". Newspapers and TV stations were bought bringing losses - with some exceptions - in a sector that even before the crisis was shaky. Everything showed that the two businessmen were seeking "refuge" from the media. They themselves said that they were creating a portfolio of shares, which will come on the stock exchange under the head of ΝΕP.

Today ΝΕR in addition to the 12.53% in the Pegasos and 10.14% in H. K. Tegopulos, controls 10% of SKAY FΜ, 10% of Red FΜ, 50% of the magazine «Εpikera» and 26.66% in the company of George Kirtsos. Also it controls with its 100% the radio station Flash, TV channel "Channel 10" Sport ΤV, the Anglophone newspaper and portal «Αthens Νews» and the newspapers «Εspresso», «Hora», «Isotimia», «Score» as well as the company Daily Ρress (periodicals).

With the enry of Lavrentiadis in football things were simpler. In November 2009 for the amount of 25 million euro he acquired 9.9% of "Olimbiakos", 50% of "Karaiskakis" Ltd that uses the stadium of "Olimbiakos" and 10% of "Thrilos" ("Legend") Ltd.


Tags: Lavrentios Lavrentiadis farmaceutical company Αlapis Ρroton Bank Investigation
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