Exclusive: Calamos CEO John Koudounis on Ethniki Insurance Deal & Greek Investments (video)



John Koudounis, CEO of Calamos Investments and the mastermind behind the acquisition of Greece’s biggest insurance company by the EXIN Fund, says that Greece makes investment sense because it’s economy is slowly turning around.

In an exclusive interview with Greek Reporter, Koudounis said that acquiring Ethniki Insurance last June “made business sense, but also I was proud to try to help the country in some way”.

“I think that if some other people have bought it it would not have turned out so well for Greece”, he stressed.

Koudounis said that EXIN Capital Partners, a fund consisting by John Calamos, John Koudounis, Matthew Fairfield and Pavlos Kanellopoulos, is interested in investing in Greece because after years of austerity and economic depression we “will start to see a little bit of progress and the economy turning around”.

Watch the full interview:

The worst is over for Greece

The Greek American investor and financial expert said that the current thinking is that Greece is not necessarily out of the crisis yet, but “we are making progress.”

“The austerity measures need to be lifted, we need some relief…If the PM [Alexis Tsipras] keeps pushing, he may get some relief from the EU and the IMF.”

“I think the worse is behind us for Greece that’s why we put our money where our mouth was and investing in a large way”.

The acquisition of Ethniki Insurance by EXIN is one of the largest investments that have taken place in Greece.

Investing in Greece “was not a walk in the park”, but Koudounis says that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, “was helpful.”

A Greek American of Spartan descent with 30 years of experience in the markets, Koudounis took over in 2016 at the helm of Calamos Investments from founder John Calamos.  Today he manages over $20 billion.

On the future of Ethniki Asfalistiki

Koudounis revealed that the Greek American fund, EXIN Partners, is also looking for other investment opportunities in Greece, and will strive for further growth of Ethniki Asfalistiki.

He stressed that the insurance company has a strong management team; however, he promised that there will be an injection of new blood to help the company catch up with new technology.

“In situations like that it’s good to have people that are already there and also inject some new blood to complement them and bring new ideas”, Koudounis said.