“I am very happy that I have the opportunity today to visit a dynamically growing Greek enterprise. This is where, I would say, the heart of productive Greece beats and it makes us truly glad when dynamic Greek businesses feel it is safe to invest, expand, grow and vie for new markets,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday, during his visit to the mineral water bottling company Hitos ABEE, his first stop on a tour of the regional unit of Ioannina.
The prime minister was shown around the largest and fastest-growing production line in Europe, capable of producting 81,000 half-litre bottles per hour, and briefed in the operation of the company by its owner, Nikos Hitos. He also had the opportunity to converse with the staff.
In statements afterward, he said it was truly impressive, adding that not many people were aware that the largest production line for bottled mineral water in Europe was operating in the heart of Epirus.
“I want to convey from here also the constant support that the Greek state will provide to all dynamic businesses that expand their operations and offer many, well-paid jobs,” he added.
Mitsotakis praised the company, saying it had achieved the goals of having both a well-trained, well paid and satisfied workforce as well as adapting to an environmentally-friendly production process, with the use of recycled materials in its packaging and rooftop solar panels as an energy source that was both cheaper and more environmentally sustainable.
“This is the path of the future, the digital and green transformation of our businesses and we will continue to support such initiatives,” the prime minister said.
He also referred to the company’s plans for a merger, noting that the government had created a series of tax and other incentives to encourage businesses to make such moves.
“Size is important, it is that which secures better productivity and competitiveness and, of course, a better place for Greek products in markets abroad,” Mitsotakis said.
The prime minister was welcomed at the company by the owners, Nikos and Alkis Hitos, and senior management staff.
A happy and successful workforce is key to business success, PM says
“There is no successful business without smiling and successful workers,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during his tour of primary-sector production plants and workshops in the Ioannina regional unit on Wednesday. This included a stop for the inauguration of a modern production plant built by the dairy firm Dodoni, for the production and packaging of plant products and hard cheeses.
“Growth …means exactly what is happening here at Dodoni, a business that is expanding, a business that is investing in new production capacity, investing in its workforce, investing in its suppliers. In this way, it grows while creating prosperity, collective prosperity that fuels the growth momentum of the Epirus region as a whole, and of the country,” Mitsotakis said.
In his address, the prime minister particularly emphasised the importance of building Greek brands in the primary sector, with sectoral “self-organisation” to protect the products, highlight their unique qualities and help break into new markets collectively. He also urged businesses to support the collective effort and attempts to impose fairness.
Earlier, Mitsotakis visited Natech, a tech firm developing digital banking systems, talking to its CEO about the company’s collaboration with Ioannina University and the opportunities for highly-paid jobs by attracting tech firms to relocate to Ioannina. They highlighted the opportunities offered by the Recovery and Resilience Facility to smaller firms needing financing.
The prime minister also visited the inauguration of the honey-production workshop Nomad Premium Greek Honey at Katsika, Ioannina.
Visit to the centre of Ioannina
The prime minister later visited the centre of the city of Ioannina in western Greece, accompanied by Parliament President Konstantinos Tasoulas and and ruling New Democracy officials and MPs.
The prime minister walked through the city centre, talking with members of the public and local business owners, including several supporters of the ruling party.