Greece has never been a particularly fashionable destination for foreign investors, especially since its EU and IMF Bailout. Due to crisis, many investors nowadays approach Greece and establish companies mainly because the low Real estate prices and low labour costs. Furthermore, the privileged legislation for board members provides all third country investors a permanent residency for investments in RE over €250,000. Greece aims to be the main gateway for imports and exports toward China, India and Africa for the next decades to come. Tourism is also hitting new records for the past three years, giving Greece 19% of its GDP in 2017.
What are the main types of Greek company?
There are four main forms of Greek business entity, and they are as follows:
- limited liability corporation (EPE)
- stock corporation (AE)
Main features of an EPE company
the minimum share capital for an EPE company is €4,500
- must be paid up at formation, at least half of it in cash
- the minimum number of shareholders is usually two
- popular format because of limited liability
- statutory financial reporting requirement
Greece has significant unemployment and labour costs are among the lowest in the EU. The workforce is well educated however and recruitment is straightforward.
The business environment in Greece is surprisingly liberal given the country's reputation for bureaucracy. There are new online systems that have drastically reduced the bureaucratic issues. These include Tax and National Insurance as well as Chamber of Commerce transactions, apart from the fully digitized banking.
Regulatory standards are in line with other EU member states. There are no import restrictions or tariff barriers and capital and earnings can be freely repatriated. Greece has double taxation treaties with a number of other countries.
The Greek government continues to offer investment incentives to promote regional development, environmental protection and energy-efficient initiatives. The scale of the incentive depends on the industry and the location, but will typically involve grants, interest subsidies or tax allowances. There are special incentives for certain projects relating to mining and tourism.
The Greek banking sector has changed beyond recognition in recent years. It has expanded rapidly as a result of deregulation and merger activity. Investors can choose from a range of private and state banking facilities including venture capital and finance for new companies. Private banks may offer more flexibility than their state-owned counterparts.
All companies must file an annual financial statement and an annual return. EPE's are exempt from auditing requirements if considered ‘small’.
Please contact us and we will be pleased to discuss matters in greater detail.