Foreign firm buys into South Financial

An investment company which lists its headquarters as the Turks and Caicos Islands recently filed documents with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it has purchased more than 12.3 million shares of stock in The South Financial Group.

Greek Investments Inc., which lists its physical address as Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands, controls 12,374,357 shares, or 5.739 percent, of South Financial’s outstanding common stock, according to the March 8 filing.

The filings were made by two individuals, Jorge Constantino and Panayotis Constantino, who are listed as having the same home address in Athens, Greece.

Greek Investments Inc. received a bit of attention last year when it snapped up more than 10 percent of the outstanding shares of Pier 1 Imports.

In addition, in 2009 it reported a 5 percent stake in Ruby Tuesday, the casual restaurant chain; and a 5.35 percent stake in Tween Brands, a retailer that caters to girls from 8 to 14, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

While Greek Investments Inc. now owns nearly 10 percent of Ruby Tuesday’s outstanding stock, it appears to have sold off its stake in Tween over the past several months.

And as of a month ago, Greek Investments Inc. held 5.73 percent of Florida-based BCF Financial Corp.’s stock.

The paper reported that Greek Investments Inc. is made up of Maria Konstantinu and her three adult children, which include Jorge Constantino and Panayotis Constantino.

Evidently, the adult children spell their last name differently – Constantino, rather than Konstantinu. And the children claim citizenship in Venezuela, while their mother is from Greece.

There’s no telling what Greek Investments’ stake in TSFG will mean for the Greenville-based financial services company.

But, according to the Star-Telegram, The company appears to be a passive investor. In the case of Pier 1, it hasn’t asked for a board seat or made public statements about its intentions, which sometimes happens.