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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-10-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Athens calls for Schuessel intervention regarding EU funding to Turkey
  • [02] Simitis to focus on 'readjustments' at PASOK Parliamentary group meeting
  • [03] Pangalos to visit Moldova, Russia
  • [04] BSEC parliamentary committee meeting in Athens
  • [05] Turkish warplanes violate Greek airspace
  • [06] Pangalos receives Irish counterpart Andrews
  • [07] Albanian PM Majko: Time will tell if Kosovo agreement sticks
  • [08] Three new border corridors on Greek-Albanian border expected
  • [09] Time change on Sunday
  • [10] Russian-made "OSA-AK" anti-aircraft enters Greek arsenal
  • [11] First part of feasibility study on Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline by Feb. 1999
  • [12] Avramopoulos-Burns meeting
  • [13] US professor awarded honorary doctorate from Macedonia Univ.
  • [14] Illegals detained on Samos
  • [15] Greece objects to CAP's national funding
  • [16] OTE employees' union decide to strike in opposition to further share flotations
  • [17] Alpha Credit interest in Ionian
  • [18] Contraband cigarettes, synthetic alcohol
  • [19] Equities rise
  • [20] Second sale of bourse shares
  • [21] Bill capital markets ratified
  • [22] Greek jewellery market in stagnation
  • [23] Titan announces intent to buy shares of Bulgarian cement company
  • [24] 'Reverse auction' for state securities
  • [25] Intertrust AEDAK mutual fund offers
  • [26] Themeliodomi refers to agreement with Vardinoyiannis group
  • [27] Gov't, insurance company reps meet

  • [01] Athens calls for Schuessel intervention regarding EU funding to Turkey

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday sent a letter to his Austrian counterpart and current president of the EU council of ministers, Wolfgang Schuessel, asking him to intervene to prevent the adoption of European Commission proposals for the release of Community funds towards Turkey, which Athens considers to be legally unfounded.

    According to diplomatic sources, Mr. Pangalos strongly criticises the Commission's attempt to release funds allocated to Turkey under the fourth financial protocol, which have up to now been blocked by a Greek veto.

    Noting that the attempt is contrary to decisions taken at the EU summit in Cardiff, the sources said, Mr. Pangalos warns that if the Commission sticks to its proposals, Greece will be forced to have recourse to the European Court of Justice.

    In the letter, the sources added, Mr. Pangalos speaks of "a mistaken approach" on the part of the Commission, which will in the future create many problems.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said last week that any attempt to release EU funds to Turkey "by a different path" would be legally groundless and politically unorthodox.

    He was replying to questions on reports that European Foreign Affairs Commissioner Hans van den Broek was considering releasing EU funds to Turkey, presently blocked by Greece, through some different channel.

    Despite efforts by its EU partners to persuade Greece to lift its veto, Athens has insisted on adherence to decisions taken at the last EU summits in Luxembourg and Cardiff, when Turkey was told that its EU candidacy would depend on whether it improved its human rights record and relations with Athens.

    COREPER : BRUSSELS (ANA - M. Spinthourakis) - Meanwhile, the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) and the heads of Commissioners' offices yesterday held separate discussions on Mr. van den Broek's latest proposal regarding EU financing of Turkey.

    A Commission representative briefed COREPER on the content of the proposal, which Mr. van den Broek will submit to the Commission today, and which is two-pronged:

    -The first phase envisages the financing of Turkey with 135 million Ecu in the next three years as a "developing" country. This only requires approval by the Council of Ministers with a special majority.

    -The second provides for 60 million Ecu worth of aid in the framework of the EU's 'European Strategy' for the long-term preparation of third countries for membership, on which the Council of Ministers can only decide unanimously.

    According to well-informed sources, the van den Broek proposal was positively received by the representatives of most countries, particularly France.

    The Greek side reportedly reacted strenuously to the proposal, stressing that beyond being legally and fiscally baseless, it will have negative repercussions in the future, as a bad precedent of circumvention of member- states' right to veto.

    At heads of Commissioners' offices level, the Greek side stressed the legal contradiction involved in proposing financing of Turkey in two ways, which has not happened with any other country in the past.

    The General Affairs Council, is to meet on Monday, to discuss the Commission's expected approval of van den Broek's plan, but is not expected to reach a decision due to the fact that the foreign ministers of Germany and France have still not been appointed.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Simitis to focus on 'readjustments' at PASOK Parliamentary group meeting

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis today is expected to address his party's Parliamentary group on issues regarding adjustments in government policy, the functioning of the government and party, as well as the policy of closer links with other parties.

    This emerged from statements yesterday by the party's secretary Costas Skandalidis and government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, after the prime minister had chaired a joint five-hour session of the PASOK political secretariat and the Cabinet.

    The two men reported that the session included extensive discussion of the results of the recent local government elections and the political messages they carried. Opinions varied, but certain basic elements emerged, they added:

    First, the framework of government poicy defined by the target of attaining entry to Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), the strengthening of the welfare state, and reform of the state remains unchanged.

    Second, the party course towards the interim goals of the party conference, the Euro-and national elections in 2000 also remains stable.

    Third, there will be changes in aspects of government policy so that citizens may see progress on issues of daily life (such as employment, welfare state, and security).

    Messrs Skandalidis and Reppas said the party would make a significant effort to mobilise all the social forces which find reason to follow the same course as PASOK in the attainment of the great goals that they have endorsed.

    Mr. Reppas also said the party would make an effort to reconstitute its cohesion which was found to be wanting in the local government elections compared to other parties. Issues of a government reshuffle or coalition with other parties were not rais ed, he added.

    Regarding the electoral results, he said they reflected a degree of popular discontent, but the government had its antennas open to receive the messages of the times. He added that the results of the first round showed a small decline in the PASOK's str ength, which was understandable for any government in the middle of its term, stressing however, that the party's dominance in the political spectrum was not in doubt.

    KKE : The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) stated yesterday said that the most important element in the outcome of the recent local government elections was a broad and aggressive support around programmes and positions that expressed popular interest.

    KKE defended the strategy followed by the Communist Party during the elections and clearly showed its intentions to reap benefits from the "protest and dissatisfaction" sentiment felt among the majority of the people.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Pangalos to visit Moldova, Russia

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos begins visits to Moldova and Russia today for talks with the two countries' leaderships.

    It will be the first visit by a Greek minister to Moldova since its independence.

    During his trip to Moldova today, he will meet with President Petru Lucinschi, Prime Minister Ion Ciubuc, Foreign Minister Nicolae Tabacaru and Parliament President Dumitru Diakov. He will also visit the Greek section at Chisinau University and meet with members of the ethnic Greek community and with Greek businesspeople active in the country.

    He heads for Russia tomorrow where he will have talks with Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, his counterpart Igor Ivanov and with other government and national assembly (Duma) senior officials.

    During his stay, he will sign a protocol of cooperation between the two countries' departments of historical archives and an agreement for the upgrading of the consular authorities in the Greek and Russian capitals.

    On the occasion of the 170th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Mr. Pangalos will inaugurate an exhibition at the Moscow Music Hall dedicated to the life and works of Greek composer Dimitris Mitropoulos.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] BSEC parliamentary committee meeting in Athens

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    The 12th meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation pact (BSEC) legal and political affairs parliamentary committee began in Athens yesterday.

    At issue is the "formulation of a legal framework for the double taxation between member-states".

    The parliaments of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey, the Ukraine and Greece are represented.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Turkish warplanes violate Greek airspace

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    Turkish warplanes violated Greek airspace and infringed on Athens FIR regulations on 13 instances yesterday.

    According to reports, 20 Turkish F-16 and six F-4 fighters flew two to seven nautical miles off the coasts of Psara, Hios, Agios Efstratios, Symi and Karpathos.

    All Turkish aircraft were armed, reports stated.

    The Hellenic Air Force intercepted the Turkish planes in all instances, while in six interceptions led to engagements.

    In a related development, a Turkish fighter flew near a Hellenic Air Force C-130 within the Athens-Paphos air corridor and during a scheduled flight.

    The transport plane at the time was within the Nicosia FIR.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Pangalos receives Irish counterpart Andrews

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos had talks yesterday with his Irish Republic counterpart David Andrews on issues ranging from European Union matters - in view of the informal summit of EU leaders in Poertschach at the weekend - to the Northern Ireland peace process. Also discussed were the situation in the Balkans, Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus problem.

    Earlier, Mr. Andrews, who is on an official visit to Greece, was received by President Kostis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    Speaking to reporters after talks with Mr. Andrews, Mr. Pangalos underlined the excellent level of relations between the two countries, adding that both were particularly interested in issues related to the institutional reform of the EU "in the directio n of greater balance and openness".

    Messrs Pangalos and Andrews also discussed issues related to EU enlargement and the Community's economic prospects.

    With respect to bilateral issues, both ministers agreed there was great margin for further cooperation in the economic and cultural sectors.

    Mr. Andrews said that in addition to European issues and bilateral relations, he had also briefed Mr. Pangalos and earlier Prime Minister Simitis in detail on the Northern Ireland peace process.

    He added that he had invited both President Stephanopoulos and Mr. Pangalos to visit the Irish Republic.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Albanian PM Majko: Time will tell if Kosovo agreement sticks

    TIRANA 21/10/1998 (ANA - P. Haritos)

    Two weeks after assuming his duties, Albanian Prime Minister Pandeli Majko referred to an agreement recently reached in Belgrade between US negotiator Richard Holbrooke and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, saying that ver y often agreements are nothing more than "diplomats' smiles."

    He said he expects time to show what lies behind these smiles.

    Mr. Majko avoided any comment on the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during an interview, but referred to Albanians' civil leadership in Kosovo and said that ethnic Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova has the strength to negotiate for the finding of a solution to the issue of Kosovo.

    On the question of thousands of refugees from Kosovo who have taken refuge in Albania, he conceded that quite a few problems exist and that conditions for their stay are certainly not ideal, but made it clear that the overall conditions prevailing in the country do not allow for anything better than what the Albanian authorities are trying to offer.

    Commenting on talk in Tirana that he is heading a government with an expiry date which has the purpose of ratifying the constitution and holding new elections immediately afterwards, he said that nobody holds the post of prime minister for life and that at least the government he is leading has specific targets and support by the majority of Parliament.

    Referring to those who consider him a "puppet" of ex-premier Fatos Nano, he said that time itself will give answers to this issue. As for the fact that he is prime minister and Mr. Nano party president and that this means possible elections, he said that both will struggle together.

    On the question of the opposition, Mr. Majko expressed certainty that from now on at least its members will distance themselves from the tactic of aggressive policy. He avoided any prediction on the political future of former Albanian president Sali Berisha and on whether he sees the possibility of the leader of the opposition's position also being differentiated due to new factors on the country's political scene.

    Commenting on Greece, relations between the two countries and the visit he has scheduled for Nov. 12, Mr. Majko said that there are no issues which should be examined again and that relations and cooperation between the two countries must become more substantive and productive.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Three new border corridors on Greek-Albanian border expected

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    An agreement concluded between Albania and Greece for the opening of three new border corridors was ratified by a majority vote by the relevant Parliamentary committee yesterday.

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis said that the opening of the two corridors was a request by ethnic Greeks in the region, while only the corridor at Sayiades was a request by Tirana.

    Mr. Kranidiotis said that work required to open the corridors will be completed in 2001 and will be funded by European Union programmes.

    Referring to the military agreement signed between Albania and Turkey, Mr. Kranidiotis said that the agreement concerns technical aid for rebuilding the port of Vlore, adding that it has not been ratified by the Albanian Parliament.

    "Greece has very important military cooperation with Albania aimed at maintaining stability and normalcy in political and social life without the region being disturbed," Mr. Kranidiotis said.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Time change on Sunday

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    Daylight savings time will end on Sunday. Consequently, at 4 a.m. on Sunday clocks must be set one hour back to show 3 a.m.
    Athens News Agency

    [10] Russian-made "OSA-AK" anti-aircraft enters Greek arsenal

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    The Russian-made "OSA-AK" anti-aircraft and anti-missile system was officially incorporated in the Greek army yesterday.

    A ceremony took place yesterday in the presence of National Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis and the army's top leadership at an artillery unit in Komotini, northern Greece.

    "The system joining the defence mechanism is part of the ministry's overall pursuit of strengthening the country's anti-aircraft defence," Mr. Apostolakis said.

    He said that the order for the OSA-AK system was placed in April 1998 and was incorporated in the armed forces in a short period of time. He added that decisions for the procurement of new weaponry systems are taken swiftly to benefit the economy and strengthen Greece's defence.

    The OSA-AK system is composed of a search radar, an administration vehicle, four missile launchers, two missile loaders and assistance vehicles.

    Sixteen such anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems were officially incorporated in the land-based army on Monday.

    An OSA-AK unit has existed in Komotini since 1992, being of east German origin, and has conducted successful firing tests.

    Among others, the event was also attended by Army Chief of Staff Manousos Paragioudakis, the commander of the Fourth Army Corps, who referred to the system's potential and to armaments policy, as well as other officials.

    Mr. Apostolakis said new procurements include multiple rocket launcher systems (MLRS), missiles, 12 new self-propelled 155 mm guns from the US in the early months of 1999, 50 slightly used 155 mm guns from Germany in 1998, 12 new self-propelled guns of the Zuzana type from Slovakia, two anti- artillery radars from the US in March 1999, a number of battlefield surveillance systems and various other armaments programmes such as the development and joint production of hi-tech ammunition.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] First part of feasibility study on Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline by Feb. 1999

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    The first phase of a feasibility study for the oft-proposed oil pipeline from the Bulgarian port of Burgas to Alexandroupoli will have been completed by February 1999, an announcement by the DEP-Thraki SA consortium stated yesterday.

    The consortium, formed by Hellenic Pertoleum, the Latsis group and the Kopelouzos group, has come to an agreement with the ILF and Brown & Root firms for the study.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Avramopoulos-Burns meeting

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    Recently re-elected Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos and US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns yesterday discussed issues concerning cooperation between local administrations in Greece and the US.

    "Athens has undertaken a series of initiatives which have brought big cities in America in contact with it. Experiences are exchanged through these relations and sectors are set out such as tourism, culture, business and economic cooperation, new paths, " Mr. Avramopoulos said.

    "I visited the mayor to express my congratulations to him on his re- election," Mr. Burns said, adding that "we have taken all necessary measures to improve the presence of our embassy in Athens, contributing in this way to the overall effort being made in the city of Athens."

    Athens News Agency

    [13] US professor awarded honorary doctorate from Macedonia Univ.

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    A professor of informatics at the New Mexico State University was awarded an honorary doctorate in applied informatics by the Macedonia University's department of economic and social sciences during a special ceremony Monday night at the university campus in Thessaloniki.

    Prof. Frank Harary, who recieved his doctorate from the University of California in mathematical logic in 1948, holds four other honorary doctorates and is on the editorial staff of 16 scientific periodicals around the world. He has published more than 700 papers mainly on the theory of graphs and its application not only in the field of informatics but also in the sectors of anthropology, art, biology, linguistics and business research.

    Today he holds the post of professor emeritus in mathematics at the University of Michigan.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Illegals detained on Samos

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    A group of 10 illegal immigrants were arrested yesterday morning on the island of Samos.

    A police spokesman said four Iraqis, two Iranians and four Turks were ferried to the remote Psili Ammos beach from neighbouring Asia Minor by a Turkish skipper in a speedboat.

    The illegals told police that there were dozens of others waiting on the Turkish coast to be ferried over to Greece's islands in the Aegean.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Greece objects to CAP's national funding

    LUXEMBOURG 21/10/1998 (ANA - P. Pantelis)

    Athens yesterday rejected a European Commission proposal for joint funding of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) by member-states.

    The Commission raised the issue for the first time after the EU farm ministers' council here, with the ministers of Spain, France, Ireland and Greece rejecting the proposal.

    Greek Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas argued that CAP must be funded by the agricultural fund as prescribed by the Rome and Amsterdam Treaties.

    He added that funding must be decided by unanimous vote, while any other procedure is politically dangerous, morally unacceptable and legally refutable.

    Mr. Tzoumakas said that partial funding of CAP by national funds leads to their nationalisation.

    During a reception after the meeting, EU farm ministers also discussed a Commission study on the effects of the Commission's proposals on CAP.

    The Austrian EU presidency presented a compromise proposal, which indicated that the dominant view is the re-nationalisation of CAP and its joint funding, while indicating that final decisions must be taken by March 1999.

    The proposal will be submitted to the EU foreign ministers' council, which will prepare the "Agenda 2000" programme at the European Conference of Vienna.

    Germany, the Netherlands and Italy are expected to submit unilateral statements on the issue.

    Mr. Tzoumakas stated that Greece's national budget may be burdened by Ecu160 million to Ecu450 million, if procedures change.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] OTE employees' union decide to strike in opposition to further share flotations

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    The administrative board of the federation of Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) employees yesterday said its members would strike on Oct. 26-27 and 29-30.

    According to federation representatives, the action is in support of demands to stop the further sale of OTE shares as well as for financial assistance for employees' pension fund.

    After October, the representatives said, the fund would be unable to pay pensions to beneficiaries.

    The federation is also demanding a new salary scale and system for determining employees' remuneration. National economy ministry sources said last week that the government was expected within days to give the go-ahead for a third OTE float as part of its privatisation plan.

    The float is to sell around 10 percent of share capital, which would bring the amount privatised to 35 percent of stock.

    OTE's board and government officials have already begun briefing domestic and foreign institutional investors on the offer, which is expected to involve the sale of 50.4 million shares at home and abroad for around 300 billion drachmas.

    Under the original sale plan, 70 percent of stock would be sold to investors in Europe and the United States through book building, and 30 percent in Greece through book building and a public offer.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Alpha Credit interest in Ionian

    NICOSIA 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's largest private banking group Alpha Credit may be in the game for the purchase of a majority stake in state-run Ionian Bank.

    Alpha Credit president Yiannis Costopoulos, in Nicosia on the occasion of the bank beginning operations on the island, said yesterday that a bid by the Alpha Credit group would "depend on many factors".

    Mr. Costopoulos said these factors would include the stock exchange value of the bank and the manner in which the sale was held.

    Alpha Credit was widely rumoured to bid for a 51 percent stake in Ionian Bank when the tender was held earlier this year but ended up not putting in an appearance.

    Commercial Bank, Ionian's parent company, aborted the tender and called a new procedure, to be handled by J.P. Morgan, an international investment house.

    Mr. Costopoulos said that this time there appeared to be "the right conditions" for a "serious tender" but refused to be drawn on the Group's intentions further.

    Alpha Credit Cyprus, the group's new Cypriot operation, intended to apply for listing on the Cypriot stock exchange in about a year, Mr. Costopoulos said, adding that there was a possibility of the group buying out a Cypriot insurance firm so as to enhance its package of services on the island.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Contraband cigarettes, synthetic alcohol

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    A finance ministry crimes squad announced yesterday that it had discovered three containers at the port of Piraeus containing a total of approximately 450,000 packets of contraband cigarettes.

    Acting on a tip, authorities located the containers at Neo Iconio, Perama on Oct. 15. According to the shipping documents, they supposedly contained sheets and towels.

    A search yesterday however revealed 900 cases of British-made "Regal" cigarettes and 160 200-litre barrels of alcohol.

    According to documents accompanying the containers, the illegal cargo had come from Rotterdam, but an investigation revealed that it had originally come from Alexandria, Egypt via Cyprus.

    The duty which would normally be paid on such a quantity of cigarettes and alcohol is estimated at 400 million drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Equities rise

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities resumed their upward trend to end higher yesterday led by strong buying interest in Leasing stocks and other small and medium-sized listed companies.

    The general index ended 1.15 percent up to 2,051.19 points with turnover at 34.6 billion drachmas.

    Sector indices scored gains. Banks rose 1.15 percent, Insurance ended 0.48 percent up, Investment jumped 2.46 percent, Leasing soared 8.0 percent, Industrials were 1.0 percent higher, Construction increased 2.57 percent, Miscellaneous ended 1.23 percent higher and Holding rose 1.31 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.67 percent up.

    Volume was 10,056,000 shares. Mytilineos, Strintzis, Boutaris and Hellenic Telecoms were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 138 to 92 with another 22 issues unchanged.

    Commercial Invest, Alpha Finance, Varyte, Attical Aluminium, Alpha Leasing, ETBA Leasing, Alte, Piraeus Leasing, Ridenco and Bank of Attica scored the biggest percentage gains hitting the daily 8.0 percent limit up.

    Lanakam, Athens Bank, Viosol, Elfico, Thessaliki, Etma, Mesohoritis, Daring and Kalpinis suffered the heaviest losses. National Bank of Greece ended at 37,060 drachmas, Ergobank at 23,700, Alpha Credit Bank at 20,570, Ionian Bank at 10,195, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,395, Delta Dairy at 3,130, Intracom at 10,140, Titan Cement at 17,350, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,405 and Minoan Lines at 5,480.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Second sale of bourse shares

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    A second equity sale of a 10-15 percent stake in Athens Stock Exchange is expected to be launched early in December, ASE chairman Spyros Kouniakis said.

    Following the new equity sale the Greek state will be a minority shareholder in ASE.

    ETEBA and Alpha Finance will act as underwriters to the sale.

    ASE's shares will be offered to institutional investors, banks, stockbrokers, listed companies, insurance, mutual funds, pension funds and other investment trusts.

    However, stock market authorities and national economy ministry officials expressed concern that the Athens bourse cannot maintain its regulatory authority and at the same time trade its share on the market. An earlier sale offered a 39.7 percent stake in the Athens Stock Exchange to Greek institutional investors.

    The Greek state now controls 60.33 percent of ASE equity, stockbrokers hold 3.08 percent, financial institutions 22.70 percent, listed companies 5.55 percent, insurance firms 1.58 percent, mutual funds 2.36 percent, pension funds 3.04 percent and invest ments firms 1.35 percent.

    The Athens Stock Exchange reported net profit totalling 3.022 billion drachmas in 1997, in turnover of 4.369 billion. Forecasts for 1998 see net profits falling to 2.649 billion drachmas and turnover rising to 4.495 billion.

    Forecasts are more optimistic for 1999 with net profits rising to 2.744 billion drachmas and turnover to 5.997 billion.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Bill capital markets ratified

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    Parliament has passed a new bill on capital markets signalling the start of a new era for the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The new bill calls for a satisfactory assets structure as the only precondition for companies seeking entry on the Athens bourse.

    Analysts expect a wave of foreign multinational companies operating in Greece, Greek shipping firms and other companies with great growth potential to seek listing on the market.

    Panafon, the country's largest mobile telephone operator, and Interamerican, one of the biggest insurance firms in Greece, are expected to lead the way to ASE.

    ASE's board has already approved 10 new listings including Lambrakis Press Organisation, Druckfarben Hellas, Infoguest, Despek Hellas, Pantechniki, Karamolegos and Kyriakidis Marbles-Granites.

    Other candidates, including International Insurance, Keterin, Sigma Stockbrokers, Tegopoulos, Active Invest and Mevaco, have submitted entry applications. According to ASE's figures, in the year 1990 the total value of public offerings and capital increases in the Athens Stock Exchange was 190 billion drachmas. That figure fell to 142 billion in 1991 and to 40 bln in 1992.

    A year later, the total reached 101 billion drachmas. In 1994 new capital totalled 258 billion drachmas and next year it fell to 83 bln.

    The figure soared to 841 billion in 1996. New capital totalled 586 billion drachmas in the first seven months of 1998.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Greek jewellery market in stagnation

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    The Greek jewellery market's decade of stagnation was due to the lack of infrastructure in the sector, lack of competitiveness and low production, industry representatives told a news conference in Thessaloniki yesterday.

    They attributed their problems to domestic economic hardship, a crisis in the small and medium-sized enterprises' sector and the government's policy towards the industry.

    The news conference was held ahead of a jewellery trade fair, "Kosmima '98", beginning in Thessaloniki Friday.

    Stavros Zaharelis, vice-president of the Greek Jewellers' Union, said that domestic gold demand fell to 13.2 tonnes in 1996 from 15.5 tonnes in 1995 but was expected to return to 15.5 tonnes in 1997 due to domestic speculative buying.

    Greek jewellery production shrank 50 percent in the period 1986-96 compared to European production, halving its European share from 4.0 to 2.0 percent.

    The country's global share in gold and silver jewellery production fell to 0.5 percent from 1.0 percent.

    Greece's two major competitors, Italy and Turkey, doubled their production in the same period.

    Greek jewellery exports remained stagnant in the same period, while imports increase by 30-35 percent annually.

    Almost 7,500 jewellery shops and 2,200 workshops operate in Greece, employing 40,000 people. Annual turnover, although yet to be recorded, exceeds 100 billion drachmas.

    A total of 397 exhibitors from Greece and foreign countries will participate in the trade fair.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Titan announces intent to buy shares of Bulgarian cement company

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    The Titan cement company has informed the Athens Stock Exchange of its intention to buy-out shares of the Bulgarian cement company Plevenski.

    The Greece-based Titan, already possessing 48.75 per cent of the Bulgarian cement company and participating in the privatisation process proclaimed by the Bulgarian government, submitted a bid for the purchase of shares representing 34 per cent of all of Plevenski's shares.

    Draft agreements were also signed with the Bulgarian company's employees and pensioners for the sale to Titan on their behalf of the shares they are entitled to receive from the Bulgarian state, and which amount to 5-6 per cent of the total figure.

    Athens News Agency

    [24] 'Reverse auction' for state securities

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    A reverse auction for state securities of a seven-year duration and a fluctuating interest rate was held yesterday in a series of 1997 and 1995 issues. Bids amounting to 194.9 billion drachmas were submitted for all issues, while bids for 80 billion drach mas were accepted (equalling the amount being auctioned).

    The highest prices acceptable for the bonds were 98.40 for the Sept. 30 1997 issue (the total amount accepted was 27 billion drachmas), 98.75 for the January 28 1997 issue (33 billion drachmas) and 100.83 for the Dec. 27 1995 issue (20 billion drachmas) .

    Athens News Agency

    [25] Intertrust AEDAK mutual fund offers

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    Intertrust AEDAK, part of the Interamerican group, yesterday launched four new mutual funds products.

    An Intertrust executive said further development of mutual funds in Greece was associated with a reduction in interest rates, a gradual deregulation of insurance firms' money market funds, the expansion of retirement portfolios and tax incentives.

    Athens News Agency

    [26] Themeliodomi refers to agreement with Vardinoyiannis group

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    Themeliodomi AE, a construction compnany listed in the Athens bourse, announced that an initial agreement has been reached with a Vardinoyiannis group for purchase a 15 per cent stake in the former's share capital.

    An official announcement is expected soon, after all the details of the deal have been finalised. Themeliodomi AE posted revenues of 6.9 billion drachmas in the first half of the year, an increase of 35.4 per cent compared with the corresponding period a year earlier.

    Athens News Agency

    [27] Gov't, insurance company reps meet

    Athens 21/10/1998 (ANA)

    A number of proposals submitted by private insurance companies to the government were the focus of a meeting last night between Development Undersecretaty Mihalis Chrysohoidis with insurance company representatives.

    According to sources, companies would not object to freezing premiums in 1999, as part of the government's anti-inflation policy, however, this would have to be in return of certain other proposals, which the development ministry sees favourably.

    Specifically, some of these include changes to the way car insurance damages are paid, namely, that a driver's own insurance pays for an accident instead of the driver responsible for the accident; an increase in the tax deductible of life insurance pre miums and accelerated procedures to link transport ministry and insurance company computer systems.

    Athens News Agency

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