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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-10-09

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Inflation rises to 5.2 pct yr/yr in Sept,seen falling in Oct
  • [02] Greek stocks dive 5.23 pct, pummelled by inflation rise
  • [03] Retail sales volume rises 2.3 pct in July
  • [04] Bourse suspends DANE Sea Line after failed share cap rise
  • [05] Bourse turnover totals Dr 19.8 trillion in Jan-Sept
  • [06] Sanyo Hellas Holding to seek share capital rise
  • [07] Bourse to stay edgy in October on world crisis, brokerage says
  • [08] EU should cut waste in health spending, Commission says
  • [09] Karatzas: Greek economy will endure int'l crisis if current policy remains steadfast
  • [10] New factoring subsidiary in Greek market
  • [11] KYSEA meeting today to examine armaments programme
  • [12] G. Papandreou receives OSCE van der Stoel
  • [13] Pangalos-Kyprianou meeting
  • [14] Prospects for Greek-South African defence cooperation examined
  • [15] Turkish attempt to include occupied Cyprus in energy map rebuked
  • [16] G. Papandreou: Athens committed to peaceful solution in Kosovo
  • [17] Greece fails in bid for non-permanent seat at UN Security Council
  • [18] Athens' reaction
  • [19] Racetrack site picked for new museum of modern art

  • [01] Inflation rises to 5.2 pct yr/yr in Sept,seen falling in Oct

    Athens 09/10/1998 (ANA)

    Consumer price inflation rose to 5.2 percent year-on-year in September, up from 5.0 percent in August, but is likely to drop below 5.0 percent in October, the Greek National Statistics Service (GNSS) said yesterday.

    Fuelling September's rise in the consumer price index were a return to normal prices after the summer sales; and price rises in consumer durables, education fees and foodstuffs, especially vegetables, which posted the highest increase. The CPI rose by 1.9 percent for the month against a 1.7 percent increase in September last year.

    According to GNSS, a decline in inflation to the government's target of 4.5 percent in December is still feasible.

    On Wednesday, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou told an annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank that 1998 inflation would fall to an estimated 4.8 percent.

    GNSS secretary general Nikos Karavitis told reporters that the outlook for October was healthy as inflation was likely to feel the impact of several government measures:

    • A drop in gasoline tax in the second half of September that had not filtered through to retail prices by the end of that month, and was expected to bring a decline of 0.3 percent to the CPI
    • A reduction by more than half of a heating oil tax from October 15
    • A price decline in selected goods agreed with supermarket owners in a government-sponsored deal
    Athens News Agency

    [02] Greek stocks dive 5.23 pct, pummelled by inflation rise

    Athens 09/10/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities plunged 5.23 percent on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday hit early in the session by declines in European markets, and again in the last half hour of trade by a surprise increase in September's inflation.

    The general index lost 101 points to end at 1,829.55 points in thin trade. Turnover was 28.8 billion drachmas on 7,276,000 shares traded.

    Consumer price inflation in September rose to 5.2 percent year-on-year from 5.0 percent in August.

    Indices ended lower led by a 6.2 percent drop in the heavily weighted banking sector.

    Insurance fell 1.90 percent, Investment ended 3.36 percent off, Leasing fell 2.56 percent, Industrials plunged 4.67 percent, Construction eased 4.23 percent, Miscellaneous dropped 5.93 percent and Holding fell 5.48 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 3.14 percent off.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 225 to 22 with another 7 issues unchanged.

    Mytilineos, Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation, Thessaliki and Strintzis Lines were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Ridenco hit the daily 8.0 percent limit up, followed by Dimitriadis, Lanakam, Metka, Vioter, Gekat, Macedonian Plastics, Etma, Sarandopoulos and Lampsa, which scored the biggest gains.

    Commercial Bank of Greece, Bank of Central Greece, Attica Aluminium, Boutaris, Kalpinis and Intrasoft hit the daily 8.0 percent limit down.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 31,400 drachmas, Ergobank at 20,490, Alpha Credit Bank at 17,550, Ionian Bank at 9,250, Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 6,070, Delta Dairy at 2,910, Intracom at 8,895, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,295, Titan Cemen t at 15,250 and Minoan Lines at 5,105 drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Retail sales volume rises 2.3 pct in July

    Athens 09/10/1998 (ANA)

    The volume of retail sales rose by 2.3 percent in July, the Greek National Statistics Service (GNSS) said yesterday.

    Volume for January-July was 1.2 percent higher than the same period of last year, GNSS said.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Bourse suspends DANE Sea Line after failed share cap rise

    Athens 09/10/1998 (ANA)

    Athens Stock Exchange president Spyros Kouniakis yesterday announced a temporary suspension of trade in DANE Sea Line following an abortive share capital rise that produced only 3.5 percent of funds sought. The decision was welcomed by DANE's board, which said in a statement that the freeze would protect the firm's share price in the aftermath of successive 8.0 percent limit downs in the last few days.

    The suspension would protect both existing shareholders and other investors until DANE had completed evaluation of partnership proposals submitted to Mr. Kouniakis on Wednesday, the company said.

    The board reassured shareholders it would act wisely on their behalf and ensure better conditions in the company's coastal shipping services to the Dodecanese islands.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Bourse turnover totals Dr 19.8 trillion in Jan-Sept

    Athens 09/10/1998 (ANA)

    Turnover at the Athens Stock Exchange was 19.8 trillion drachmas in January- September, or 16.5 trillion drachmas less buyback deals and block trades.

    Ranking top among brokerages on the basis of turnover in the same period was National Securities, a subsidiary of blue chip National Bank of Greece, at 1.8 trillion drachmas, holding 9.06 percent of the market. Ranking top on the basis of turnover le ss buyback deals and block trades was Sigma Securities at 1.1 trillion drachmas, or 6.54 percent of the market.

    In September, the bourse's turnover was 1.86 trillion drachmas, or 1.5 trillion less buyback deals and block trades.

    In the same month, Alpha Brokerage ranked top at 171 billion drachmas, or 9.17 percent of the market.

    Ranking top on turnover less buyback deals and block trades was Sigma Securities at 89 billion drachmas, or 6.02 percent of the market.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Sanyo Hellas Holding to seek share capital rise

    Athens 09/10/1998 (ANA)

    Sanyo Hellas Holding will seek re-approval by shareholders of a past decision to launch a share capital increase in November, its board said in a statement yesterday.

    The proposal will be discussed at an extraordinary shareholders meeting of the listed company on October 30.

    The statement said the board wanted to hold the share capital rise as soon as possible. It also wanted to discuss stock market conditions, and inform shareholders of the company's activities and prospects in the current fiscal year.

    An earlier shareholders' meeting approved a plan to issue 2,287,760 new common shares at 750 drachmas each with preference to old shareholders at a ratio of two new for 10 old shares. Funds raised would be around 1.7 billion drachmas.

    Sanyo Hellas, which is listed on the Athens Stock Exchange in the Miscellaneous category, posted a 1998 high of 1,400 drachmas.

    The company's turnover in the first six months of 1998 totalled 3.7 billion drachmas, up 14.4 percent from the corresponding period last year. Its pre- tax profits were 381.6 million drachmas, marking a 48.3 percent increase from the same period in 1997.

    Sanyocom, a Sanyo Hellas subsidiary, is a commercial partner of Cosmote, itself a subsidiary of listed state Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Bourse to stay edgy in October on world crisis, brokerage says

    Athens 09/10/1998 (ANA)

    The Athens Stock Exchange will remain nervous in October due to an ongoing global financial crisis, Avax Brokerage said in a monthly report on the market released yesterday.

    "We remain positive on medium-term prospects and believe that investors should adopt a defensive attitude, buying medium cap stocks with steady sales and good growth prospects that are not particularly influenced by international developments," said Avax, a member of the Eurocorp Group.

    Buy recommendations for October were Hellas Can (packaging), Rilken (cosmetics), AB Vassilopoulos (retail trade) and Cambas (formerly wine, now real estate).

    Avax also recommended buying state Commercial Bank of Greece shares because of its current low price and expected future gains from the privatisation of Ionian Bank.

    The report was also bullish on an upcoming initial public offer by the Lambrakis Journalism Organisation.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] EU should cut waste in health spending, Commission says

    Athens 09/10/1998 (ANA)

    Europe must rationalise the funds it allocates to health ahead of the growing needs of an ageing population and suspected overspending by some EU member-states on pharmaceuticals, health experts said yesterday.

    Spending on health as a percentage of GDP over the past 30 years has almost doubled and today ranges between an average 5-10 percent in EU member states, according to the European Commission's latest report on health in Europe.

    The report was presented yesterday at a news conference by the Federation of Self-managed Health Funds ahead of an international conference on the effectiveness of pharmaceuticals to be held at the Astir Hotel in Vouliagmeni, near Athens, today.

    The Commission report projects that ageing populations in Europe will bring the cost of spending up to 3.0 percent of GDP over the next few decades.

    In Greece, health spending is estimated at 8.3 percent of GDP, but spending on private health care brings the percentage up to 8.5 percent.

    The report says one in five Europeans will die prematurely from cancer, heart conditions and accidents, with eight million suffering from Alzheimer's disease by 2000.

    Scientists are also concerned about the growing tolerance to antibiotics due to excessive and unnecessary use.

    Greeks are among the EU's most avid consumers of medicines, averaging 21 packets annually per head, along with Germans who average 22 and the French 38 packets. The Dutch and Britons average only eight packets per head.

    In Greece, 33 percent of spending on health is used on medicine: Germany spends only 20 percent on medicine. Speakers at the news conference said that the goal of all health systems must be better coordination between demand and real need, greater transparency in the market and better utilisation of pharmaceutical resources.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Karatzas: Greek economy will endure int'l crisis if current policy remains steadfast

    NEW YORK 09/10/1998 (ANA)

    Greece will continue its positive economic course, weathering out the ongoing crisis in international financial markets if the present economic policy is applied with consistency, National Bank of Greece Governor Theodoros Karatzas stress ed here yesterday.

    "Our economy is not exposed to the risks of other economies. It has no involvement in high-risk areas, such as the Far East, the former Soviet Union, or even Latin America, and so I forecast that the Greek banking system will not sustain the impact of e vents in recent weeks, such as other large banks exposed to high risks did. Generally, the Greek economy will continue its positive course, but we cannot ignore that it will remain exposed to the international environment, which will continue sustaining the repercussions of the crisis," he said in an interview with the New York- based Greek-American newspaper "Proini".

    "For the good climate to continue, we need nothing else but a consistent continuation of the policy already applied and will lead to the attainment of its target, that is convergence," he added.

    "I believe that at the end of next year we shall have fulfilled all the conditions in order to participate in Economic and Monetary Union with the inauguration of the third phase on Jan. 1, 2001," he stressed.

    Further, he expressed the view that uncertainty in the global economy would continue for some time, but conditions were not as bad as appearing at first sight. "The global economy will be stabilised after a certain period and will be again led on its way to growth," he said.

    He added that he agreed with the view that the IMF had become outdated in the face of current international economic developments, and proposed two plans, one short-term and one long-term for dealing with the situation.

    Finally, Mr. Karatzas said Atlantic Bank, the National Bank's US subsidiary, had plans for expanding to a number of states in the United States, incorporating the Boston and Chicago branches and applying for listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] New factoring subsidiary in Greek market

    Athens 09/10/1998 (ANA)

    A factoring subsidiary,Popular Factoring S.A., of the Nicosia-based European Popular Bank and Cyprus Popular Bank began operation yesterday.

    Services will include domestic factoring as well as pre-payment of bills.

    Import and export factoring services are also offered.

    Kikis Lazarides is the president of the board of directors for Popular Factoring.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] KYSEA meeting today to examine armaments programme

    Athens 09/10/1998 (ANA)

    The Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) will meet today to examine progress in the government's multi-million dollar five- year armaments programme, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    There was widespread speculation earlier in the week that the scheduled meeting might be postponed.

    Mr. Reppas said on Tuesday that the meeting would be held only if it appeared that things had "matu-red" with regard to the main topic of the meeting, namely, armaments. The spokesman clarified yesterday that the meeting had been prepared following numerous telephone contacts on Wednesday by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

    There is also a possibility that other issues will be discussed at the meeting, including the crisis in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo, Mr. Reppas said.

    Kosovo : Replying to questions about developments regarding the Kosovo crisis, Mr. Reppas said the government had "nothing new" but was following ongoing consultations with interest.

    Mr. Simitis, he continued, had been in contact with other European leaders and had ascertained a "common perception" that a solution must be sought through political dialogue, although there were some doubt as to the willingness of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in this respect.

    "In a word," Mr. Reppas said, "no one can say what the stance of the EU countries will be".

    Asked whether the Greek government intended to issue a travel advisory for Yugoslavia or withdraw its diplomatic mission, as other European countries have done, Mr. Reppas replied that there was no need for such a step.

    "Greek diplomatic authorities remain in the neighbouring country and are ready to provide any assistance to Greeks who choose not to leave that country. We do not consider it useful to take any other decision," Mr. Reppas said.

    On his part, Mr. Simitis held lengthy meetings with both Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Mr. Tsohatzopoulos later in the day on latest developments in the Kosovo crisis.

    The meeting started with talks between Mr. Simitis and Mr. Pangalos at 1 p.m., while Mr. Tsohatzopoulos arrived an hour later.

    Speaking to reporters afterwards, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that Greece remains steadfast in its position for a peaceful solution to the Kosovo crisis through a political dialogue. He added that even the last possibility of a political solution to the crisis must be exhausted, stressing that Greece is trying to contribute in this direction to ensure that the development of the Kosovo issue will be as favourable as possible.

    Replying to questions on a possible military intervention in Kosovo by NATO forces, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that relevant NATO officials are completing preparations so as to utilise every possibility of putting pressure on Yugoslav President Milosevic.

    However, he said that whoever insists on a start to military operations must be aware what the next step will be.

    KKE, DHKKI criticism : Finally, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) criticised the government in an announcement "for insisting on announcing that it will provide installations on Greek terri-tory for NATO's intervention in Kosovo, currently being planned", adding that "this is participation."

    In a similar statement, Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas said Greece "must not get involved in any way in the possible unacceptable sending of NATO military forces against Yugoslavia and neither must it provide military or other facilities for operations of such a kind."

    Mr. Tsovolas said that "otherwise, the government will prove once again that it is sacrificing our national interests on the altar of serving the interests of the major powers of the west."

    Athens News Agency

    [12] G. Papandreou receives OSCE van der Stoel

    Athens 09/10/1998 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou held talks in Athens yesterday with the High Commissioner for ethnic minorities of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Max van der Stoel.

    Talks centred on human rights issues. They also reviewed the situation in the Balkans in light of the latest developments in Yugoslavia.

    They said that efforts should be directed towards a peaceful settlement of the crisis in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Pangalos-Kyprianou meeting

    Athens 09/10/1998 (ANA)

    Cyprus House of Representatives Speaker Spyros Kyprianou yesterday expressed satisfaction at a unanimous decision of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg earlier this week to commence substantive negotiations for the accession of six candidate countries, in cluding Cyprus, on Nov. 10.

    Mr. Kyprianou, who had talks here yesterday with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, said the Greek government was eagerly promoting Cyprus' accession bid.

    He attributed the positive outcome of efforts in particular to Mr. Pangalos' "strong stance".

    While expressing optimism that any obstacles in the path of Cyprus' EU accession bid would be overcome, Mr. Kyprianou was not so confident about the prospects of the political aspect of the Cyprus problem being resolved.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Prospects for Greek-South African defence cooperation examined

    Athens 09/10/1998 (ANA)

    Prospects for expanding cooperation between Greece and South Africa were examined on Thursday during a meeting between Greek National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and his visiting South African counterpart Joe Modise.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said after the meeting that cooperation could be extended to encompass many fields, such as the social, political and economic sectors in addition to the defence industry, where "there will be better initiatives in the immediate future".

    Mr. Modise expressed appreciation for Greece's support in S. Africa's struggle for democracy, and for the role of the large Greek community in South Africa in the country's economic development.

    Mr. Modise said bilateral development in the armaments sector should be developed, and also in the commerce sector, giving as an example the import of olive oil from Greece.

    The meeting also focussed on topics the two countries shared concern over, and considered priorities for, the future of the world, since Europe and Africa are now very close and the problems were mutual ones, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

    The two defence ministers also said that South African president Nelson Mandela would visit Greece, but did not specify when or give any details.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Turkish attempt to include occupied Cyprus in energy map rebuked

    SOFIA 09/10/1998 (ANA - B. Borisov)

    An attempt by a spokesman of the Turkish natural gas utility Botas to present a power distribution map of Turkey that included the Turkish- occupied part of Cyprus, was met yesterday by a strongly worded reaction by a Hellenic Petroleum S.A. (HP) representative. The incident took place during an international conference on the development of the gasoline and natural gas market of the Balkans, held in Sofia. The HP representative expessed his disdain over the attempt to entangle political issues in a trade conference, even more so when such an attempt is made in disregard of international law and United Nations Security Council resolutions and against the Republic of Cyprus - an independent country and UN member.

    In a related development, it was announced that a study on the Burgas- Alexandroupoli oil pipeline will be complete by the end of 1999, a project which is expected to provide the least expensive route for the transport of Caspian crude oil to the western markets.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] G. Papandreou: Athens committed to peaceful solution in Kosovo

    Athens 09/10/1998 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou reiterated yesterday evening that Athens wants to expend every effort for a peaceful solution to the Kosovo crisis.

    In televised statements to a state-run channel, Mr. Papandreou said the issue was discussed during the European Conference on Tuesday in Luxembourg and on Wednesday during a Council of Europe meeting.

    Finally, he said Greece will raise the issue again during a southeastern European leaders' summit in Turkey, scheduled for next month.

    "...we hope that the Greek initiative with Bulgaria and Romania, the meeting with (Yugoslav leader Slobodan) Mr. Milosevic and the new prime minister of Albania will have some results," he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Greece fails in bid for non-permanent seat at UN Security Council

    NEW YORK 09/10/1998 (ANA - A. Podimata)

    Greece yesterday failed in its bid to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 1999-2000 period.

    The vote at the plenary of the UN Security Council went in favour of Canada and the Netherlands, which together with Greece belong to the western group.

    Greece received 87 votes against 131 for Canada and 122 for the Netherlands.

    Because the two other countries received more than two-thirds of the total of the 176 countries that voted, there will not be a second vote. The other three countries elected were Argentina, Malaysia and Namibia.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Athens' reaction

    Athens 09/10/1998 (ANA)

    In Athens, a foreign ministry spo-kesman said Greece congratulates the two newly elected countries as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council.

    The spokesman, who was commenting on the outcome of the vote, said that Greece had made a systematic effort with all the means at its disposal.

    "The fact that they give considerable development aide to third world countries operated in favour of our competitors," he said, adding: "We only started the effort at developing such programmes last year," Theodoros Theodorou said.

    He said the issue raised by the Greek candidacy remained in that the same, namely, that countries returned periodically to the Security Council and, consequently, the representative nature of the body was not secured.

    "Greece obtained considerable benefits from the promotion of its candidacy. It came into contact with tens of countries with which it had almost no relation until now and, of course, we will continue and utilise the relations which we developed during our pre-election campaign," he added.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Racetrack site picked for new museum of modern art

    Athens 09/10/1998 (ANA)

    A new museum of modern art will be constructed on the site of the current Athens racetrack in the seaside suburb of Faliro, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said yesterday.

    The ambitious museum project, Mr. Venizelos said, would be ready by 2004, when Athens hosts the Olympic Games.

    The Vassilis and Eliza Goulandris Foundation initially revealed plans to build a museum of modern art in 1993. The project, budgeted then at seven billion drachmas, was designed by the famous Chinese-American architect I.M.Pei, and was originally located on a 10,830-square-metre lot, located between Vassilissis Sofias and Rigillis streets, which the Greek state had ceded to the foundation.

    However, plans stalled when ground-breaking work on the lot in early 1997 revealed what is believed to be the palaestra (wrestling arena) of ancient Athens' Lyceum. An earlier proposal that the museum be built on the site of a disused brewery in central Athens was rejected, Mr. Venizelos said, citing what he called the concrete structure's unique place in Athens' industrial architectural history.

    Athens News Agency

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