Heracles fears no Olympic aftershock

Heracles fears no Olympic aftershock
Published: 28 July 2004

Heracles, the largest cement provider for the Athens Olympics said Tuesday business would shrink after the Games but dismissed fears that the local construction industry, Greece’s main engine of economic growth, could collapse in a post-Olympic slump.  "Business will go down by around five to seven percent, but there will be no collapse," said Albert Corcos, managing director of Heracles, which runs Europe’s largest cement-making factory near Volos, central Greece.

Heracles, part of multinational Lafarge, produced nearly one million tons of cement for Olympics-related construction, generating a business volume of around 70 million euros (87.5 million dollars), the company said.  Annual cement consumption in Greece totals around 11 millions tons, one million of which went into Olympic construction. "I don’t see a recovery to that level of consumption before 2008," Corcos told reporters. But strong private connstruction and new publicly financed roadbuilding projects will keep up cement production, he added.

"We’re not worried. Athens won’t be like other Olympic cities, where the market just collapsed after the Games," said the Frenchman, who worked for Lafarge in Morocco and Brazil before coming to Greece.  "Greece is an earthquake-prone country and homes here are built with much more concrete than elsewhere. Money is cheap and Greeks build as an investment as well as to financially secure their children for life," he added.