Watsa, whose company owns a 13.6% stake in the Greece’s Eurobank, met with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, government Vice President Yiannis Dragasakis and Bank of Greece (BoG) Governor Yiannis Stournaras.
Speaking to senior executives of Eurobank and subsidiary property firm Grivalia, Watsa said: “I am optimistic for Greece. In a year from now, the environment will be different. In the new environment, the economy will recover significantly. Greece has numerous advantages.”
Commenting on the ongoing negotiations between Greece and its creditors, the Canadian financier said a deal is the only “logical solution” and “both sides need it,” adding that “deals are often completed on the last minute.”
Turning his attention to Eurobank, he said that once uncertainty about the Greek economy is lifted, the bank’s progress will be outstanding. “Despite the fact that the bank’s share initially rose and then fell, its economic fundamentals have not changed. Short-term fluctuations, either in share price or in the economy, are not a reason for concern. Things will turn around,” Watsa told bankers and officials.
In Greece, apart from Eurobank, Fairfax bought Praktiker Hellas in 2014 and owns more than 5% of Mytilineos Group.