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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-10-31

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] New cabinet members sworn-in, PM emphasises gov't goals
  • [02] Int'l community urges Albania to fight corruption, restore law and order
  • [03] Athens concerned over ethnic Greek community institutions in Turkey
  • [04] Burns: Greece, Turkey not really interested in armed conflict
  • [05] EU informal council of interior, justice ministers focuses on security issues
  • [06] Dermatologist: Most hair loss therapies useless
  • [07] European Journalists` Union conference in Athens
  • [08] Greek Red Cross fund-raising drive begins today
  • [09] Greek Atomic Energy Committee to participate in int'l exercise
  • [10] Gov't outbidded of Archimedes` palimpsest
  • [11] Greenpeace calls for action at upcoming Buenos Aires ecological conference
  • [12] Theologian favours women's ordination
  • [13] 'Greek Night' on Viking cruise ships this month
  • [14] Farmers' mobilisations in the works
  • [15] Apostolidis
  • [16] Major seizure of contraband cigarettes in Piraeus
  • [17] Eurostat: Greece last in EU regarding social insurance spending
  • [18] Economic News

  • [01] New cabinet members sworn-in, PM emphasises gov't goals

    Athens, 31/10/1998 (ANA)

    Seven new ministers and deputy ministers were sworn-in yesterday after Prime Minister Costas Simitis announced a minor cabinet reshuffle Thursday evening and sought a Parliamentary vote of confidence. The swearing-in ceremony before President Kostis Stephanopoulos and the premier was followed by the first meeting of the Cabinet with its new composition.

    Addressing the cabinet, Mr. Simitis reiterated the three major targets which the government would be striving to attain during the coming period.

    The first, he said, was to maintain and increase the pace of the upward and developmental course of the Greek economy, the ultimate objective being the country's entry into EMU.

    While underlining the importance of EMU accession for the Greek economy, Mr. Simitis observed that the social dimension of EMU should not be overlooked.

    The second target, Mr. Simitis said, was to strengthen Greece's role on the international scene.

    While this role has already been boosted by the major initiatives taken by Greece, the premier added: "We must intensify our efforts".

    The premier said the third target was to improve the quality of life and deal with citizens' daily problems, particularly unemployment, crime and issues related to the country's health services.

    The mini reshuffle, the premier said, means the continuation of the government's task but at a more intensive pace, with greater attention to problems, speed, efficiency as well as "comradeship and cooperation".

    Meanwhile, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas reiterated that the government was resolved to seek a Parliamentary absolute majority of at least 151 votes in the confidence vote on Tuesday night. Asked if the government would go to elections if this did not materialise, he said such a course should be considered as a given. Obtaining an absolute majority but less than the number of PASOK deputies would be an internal party matter, to be tackled by party organs, he added.

    "It is one thing to secure 151 votes, which concerns the government and the country, and another being the internal party matter," said Mr. Reppas.

    He specified that the prime minister had asked for a vote of confidence because the country was in a crucial phase, and the unimpeded exercise of policy largely depended on solid political backing by Parliament.

    "We are seeking a clear and indisputable backing," he said.

    Referring to the also forthcoming vote on the budget, Mr. Reppas said the government will be pleased to have, within a short space of time, a double approval of its policy, a prospect which left its opponents somewhat surprised and a little panic-strick en.

    He declined to comment on critical comments on the new composition of the government, voiced by certain ruling party deputies.

    Meanwhile, the newly appointed ministers and deputy ministers took over their ministries.

    Welcoming George Anomeritis to the agriculture ministry, outgoing minister Stephanos Tzoumakas claimed that during his term he had resisted strong pressures from various interests and quarters in almost all sectors.

    "We resisted and sent 70 cases to justice," he said.

    The handing over of the public order ministry by George Romeos to Philippos Petsalnikos was marked by the outgoing minister's rather emotional speech, which included several snipes against the leadership of the government.

    With a voice wavering from emotion in several instances, Mr. Romeos said he was leaving behind an unfinished task, while he castigated those who sought his removal from the ministry.

    "I am leaving this ministry and government bearing my head high, believing that I have done positive work and served the government conscientiously. I thank the prime minister for his confidence. However, the circumstances of recent months have not help ed me," he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Int'l community urges Albania to fight corruption, restore law and order

    TIRANA, 31/10/1998 (ANA-Reuters)

    European leaders urged Albania yesterday to restore law and order, fight corruption and smuggling as well as to take steps to promote foreign investment.

    They also underlined the need for a new constitution and appealed to the country's opposition Democratic Party to participate in a referendum, called for Nov. 22.

    The calls came at an international donors' conference arranged by the Albanian government to allow its main western partners to take stock of progress since a similar conference a year ago, following widespread civil unrest.

    "The conference urged the government of Albania to take concrete measures to restore law and order throughout the country, including the protection of private investments and foreign personnel," they said in a statement.

    In his speech to the conference, Greek Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said it underlined the firm commitment of EU states and international organisations to help Albania achieve political stability and economic rehabilitation, while contin uing the process of economic and social reforms. He also stressed Greece's contribution to the process.

    "I assure you that my country will continue to help Albania on its road to stability and prosperity. Greek-Albanian relations are characterised by strong cooperation in a multitude of fields: security, defence, economic, cultural, etc.

    "In March 1996, an Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation, Good Neighbourliness and Security was signed. A string of bilateral agreements on various sectors followed up to last month's protocol for Greece's assistance in Albania's efforts for integration into Euro-Atlantic structures," said Mr. Papandreou.

    He added that agreement had also been signed in the fields of transport and public order, and that a programme for the legalisation of approximately 400,000 Albanian workers in Greece had begun in January 1998.

    Free care was provided in Greek hospitals for Albanian citizens suffering from severe illnesses, while Greece also contributed greatly to the restructuring of the Albanian armed forces through a Greek military mission, he said.

    He urged the Albanian people to participate in the greater degree possible in the country's institutions, including the new constitution, which are currently in the process of formation.

    "No grievance justifies the boycott of democratic institutions, such as Parliament, by the official opposition. This practice is one which certainly does not have the approval of the international community and does not contribute to a smooth transition to stable democratic institutions in Albania. We therefore call upon all Albanians to participate in the process of adopting the new constitution," he said.

    The conference is being attended by foreign ministry officials, including ministers, from 36 countries and by a number of international organisations.

    The conference was opened by Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo. Albanian Prime Minister Pandeli Majko who spoke of the difficulties facing the Albanian government.

    "We will continue on the same road trying to bolster institutions. It is to be expected that we would be in this difficult position as a country," Mr. Majko said.

    He said the priorities of his government were to strengthen the economy, restore public order, fight corruption and smuggling and reform judicial institutions.

    The conference is expected to end later on Friday with the issuing of a joint communique.

    Mr. Papandreou was expected to meet with Mr. Majko and members of opposition parties during his trip to Tirana for the conference.

    He has also met with Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios, and told reporters after the meeting that the Orthodox Church and Anastasios had done great work for the country.

    Anastasios said he had discussed humanitarian aid for the some 7,000 refugees from Kosovo, currently in Albania.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Athens concerned over ethnic Greek community institutions in Turkey

    Athens, 31/10/1998 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis met yesterday with Turkish ambassador in Athens Ali Tinaz Tuygan, to whom he expressed Athens' concern about the tactics adopted by Ankara in recent years concerning the administration of institutions in the eth nic Greek community of Turkey.

    Mr. Kranidiotis called the envoy's attention to the fact that these tactics would lead to the disappearance of the last remaining element of Hellenism in Istanbul.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Burns: Greece, Turkey not really interested in armed conflict

    WASHINGTON, 31/10/1998 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    US ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns said here yesterday that he was convinced that Greece and Turkey did not want to be involved in an armed confrontation.

    However, he added that warplane engagements over the Aegean increased the danger of such a prospect. The US envoy, who was speaking during events organised by two Greek-American organisations, stressed that despite concerns raised through tensions from time to time P such as engagements and violations of Greece's national airspace P had considerably diminished over the past year.

    Regarding the Cyprus issue, Mr. Burns said that Washington did not object to Cyprus' right to bolster its defence, adding that if the Russian-made S- 300 anti-aircraft missile system was deployed on Cyprus, regardless of US objections, no country would h ave the right to use military action to destroy the missiles.

    Mr. Burns, though, appeared somewhat reserved with regard to the prospects for a solution to the Cyprus problem, saying he "was not expecting any dramatically positive developments" over a Cyprus solution in the near future.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] EU informal council of interior, justice ministers focuses on security issues

    VIENNA, 31/10/1998 (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis)

    The European Union must not only be an economic union, but also a security union, Austrian Interior Minister and Council President Karl Schlegl said here yesterday.

    He was speaking at the end of a two-day session of the EU's informal council of interior and justice ministers.

    The guidelines for such a development were set at the informal council, while the Austrian EU presidency's plan of action regarding the establishment of an "area of freedom, security and justice" was also examined.

    The interior and justice ministers participating in the session (Greece was represented by Foreign Ministry Secretary General Stelios Perrakis) agreed in principle on the need for a common strategy on asylum and immigration issues, but without their pos itions coinciding on the individual issues of such a strategy.

    Positions were very divergent on the issue of the allocation of refugees or economic burdens between the EU's member-states.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Dermatologist: Most hair loss therapies useless

    Athens, 31/10/1998 (ANA)

    A Greek dermatologist warned yesterday that many of the recommended therapies for hair loss are not only ineffective, but they may also cause significant skin problems.

    Speaking at the 49th International Cosmetics and Health Congress in Athens, Dr. Athanasios Papachristopoulos said that "therapies based on vitamins, amino acids and trace-elements do not contribute to hair growth, while frequent use may cause major pro blems."

    "Surgical hair transplants are scientifically proven solutions that have taken on huge dimensions for the past two decades," he added.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] European Journalists` Union conference in Athens

    Athens, 31/10/1998 (ANA)

    A European Journalists' Union two-day conference on human rights began yesterday in Athens, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Council of Europe and the Nov. 3 inauguration of the New European Court.

    The permanent representative of Greece to the Council, Ambassador Dimitris Konstas, addressed the issues that the Greek presidency promoted, one of which he said, was the new human rights court.

    He added that both citizens and states will be able to seek recourse to this 40-member justice body, which will be the largest in Europe.

    Mr. Konstas also said that the inistitution of the human rights commissioner was promoted by Greece during its presidency, despite reactions. In addition, Greece, only four days ago, presented a declaration on political refugees and those seeking politi cal asylum, which was accepted by all member countries.

    On his part, the Council's press director Jack Hanning addressed the need for restructuring the mechanisms for the protection of human rights.

    Focusing on the reasons for the need of such a restructuring, he said that there is a delay in adjudication of case and the change of the European map after 1989.

    Mr. Hanning said that Article 10 of the European Convention for Human Rights covers the problems of journalists by delineating the freedom of expression.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Greek Red Cross fund-raising drive begins today

    Athens, 31/10/1998 (ANA)

    Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis attended yesterday an event at the Andreas Papandreou Foundation, entitled ``Culture of the Greek Nation``.

    Mr. Arsenis said, among others, that the ``Greek nation is once more summoned to play its perpetual role in history, since what is called globalisation in our day was the achievement of the Greek spirit and culture``.

    Mr. Arsenis also referred to the network of 2,000 Greek educators in 50 foreign countries with 26 coordinators.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Greek Atomic Energy Committee to participate in int'l exercise

    Athens, 31/10/1998 (ANA)

    The Greek Atomic Energy Committee will participate in an Internaional Readiness Exercise on tackling the consequences of a possible nuclear accident, to be conducted on Tuesday.

    The OECD's Nuclear energy Organisation has planned a series of international exercises. The first took place in the spring of 1993 with the participation of 16 countries and a series of exercises was planned afterwards which is developing in four phases .

    The first phase was held on Nov. 17, 1996 with a hypothetical nuclear accident in Switzerland and about 40 countries participated, including Greece. The second phase was held on April 17 1997 and focused on Finland with the participation of about 30 cou ntries, including Greece. The third phase will be held on Nov. 3 with a hypothetical nuclear accident in Hungary.

    The purpose of the exercises is the timely briefing of international organisations and countries participating in the exercise, the suitable preparation and the achievement of the speedy taking of decisions to tackle an emergency, the ascertainment of t he timely activation of all the parties involved and the informing of relevant state services, the mass media and the population.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Gov't outbidded of Archimedes` palimpsest

    Athens, 31/10/1998 (ANA)

    The government said yesterday it was outbidded in its attempt to purchase a priceless 12th century palimpsest containing a letter from ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes, during an auction in New York on Thursday.

    "The culture ministry cannot compete with a rich American investor," Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said yesterday.

    The palimpsest was sold to an unnamed US collector for 2.2 million dollars. Bidding began at between $800,000-1.2 million.

    The Greek government bid for the palimpsest after calling for donations.

    Mr. Venizelos said the two million dollars collected "could be gainfully used in research, maintenance and publishing documents of the Jerusalem Patriarchate kept at the National Library".

    He said that some of these documents could prove to be more valuable than the palimpsest.

    Last week, Greece stated that the palimpsest was legally the property of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and filed a suit with a U.S court on behalf of the Patriarchate to stop the auction.

    The injunction was denied.

    Mr. Venizelos said investigations by the ministry into the ownership status of the palimpsest showed that it had been in the possession of a French family for 75 years, which had acquired it from a monastery in Istanbul.

    However, Mr. Venizelos said, the manuscript originally came from the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and Patriarch Diodoros had informed his ministry that there was no record of it ever having been sold.

    Mr. Venizelos said the legal bid to return the palimpsest to the Patriarchate would continue.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Greenpeace calls for action at upcoming Buenos Aires ecological conference

    Athens, 31/10/1998 (ANA)

    A Greenpeace spokesman in Athens yesterday said that "climatic conditions and recent increases in extreme weather phenomena are too grave to be ignored by governments or industries".

    Costas Georgas, referring to the upcoming international ecological conference in Buenos Aires, warned that "strong financial interests will try to cancel everything positive contained in the protocol presented last year in Kyoto".

    The Buenos Aires conference, which will be held from Nov. 2-13, will focus on four major issues: efficiency of the Kyoto agreements, the thriving coal trade (a heavy pollutant), mechanisms for transferring know-how to developing countries and the role of forests in averting weather conditions.

    The Greenpeace spokesman called on the Greek government to "immediately proceed to an emissions-elimination programme, abandoning the unacceptabe and obsolete right to emissions increases".

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Theologian favours women's ordination

    Athens, 31/10/1998 (ANA)

    A memorandum submitted to the Holy Synod by theologian Giorgos Moustakis calls on the Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Greece's leadership to consider a proposal for the ordination of women.

    Speaking during a press conference yesterday, Mr. Moustakis explained that he was asking for the ordination of women in the lower ranks of the clergy, "where they could prove of great assistance with worship and religious life", as he said.

    A Roman Catholic clergyman in Athens shared the Orthodox theologian's views.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] 'Greek Night' on Viking cruise ships this month

    HELSINKI, 31/10/1998 (ANA)

    The Viking cruiseline operator yesterday announced that it will offer Greek music, dances and cuisine to its passengers this month.

    Folk groups from Rhodes and Kos are scheduled to appear, while two Greek chefs will oversee culinary preparations for the Scandinavian tourists aboard the cruise ships.

    The Greek National Tourism Organisation (EOT) is cooperating in the effort.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Farmers' mobilisations in the works

    Athens, 31/10/1998 (ANA)

    Farmers are determined to continue mobilisations against government policy on agriculture, with a first rally being scheduled for Tuesday in Farsala, central Greece.

    The Pan-Thessaly Farmers' Coordination Committee, which met yesterday, did nothing more than reaffirm its willingness to maintain the struggle for farmers' demands. On the contrary, farmers' groups believe that things in the agricultural sector have det eriorated, owing to EU directives and government policy.

    The rally, during which several farmers are likely to block roadways with their tractors as they did last year, is regarded as the first in a series of mobilisations.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Apostolidis

    SOFIA, 31/10/1998 (ANA - B. Borisov)

    Greek deputy Loukas Apostolidis yesterday headed a Parliament delegation that visited the Bulgarian Parliament.

    After the meeting, he said that "we are on a very good and correct road. Greek-Bulgarian relations are especially positive and their development forecasts that the borders between the two countries will only be symbolic."

    Athens News Agnecy

    [16] Major seizure of contraband cigarettes in Piraeus

    Athens, 31/10/1998 (ANA)

    The finance ministry's economic crimes squad (SDOE) seized four containers of contraband cigarettes at the port of Piraeus yesterday, in the largest single haul of smuggled cigarettes ever in Greece.

    A statement said the four containers held some two million packets of Super King and Regal cigarettes.

    The containers had been sent from the United Arab Emirates on the MSC Huston and arrived in Piraeus on Oct. 12. The bill of lading said the containers held grills.

    SDOE officers kept a watch on the containers and finally moved when an as- yet unidentified person presented himself to take delivery of the containers.

    Authorities said a stolen or fake identity card was used by the person.

    Some 14 million packets of contraband cigarettes have been confiscated since the beginning of the year in Attica alone. The income to the state in lost duties payable on the cigarettes is thought to run in the hundreds of millions of drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Eurostat: Greece last in EU regarding social insurance spending

    BRUSSELS, 31/10/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Expenditures for social insurance in Greece are the lowest in the European Union, both in absolute figures and as a percentage of GDP, according to statistical figures on the EU's member-states unveiled yesterday by the

    Union's statistical service - Eurostat.

    According to Eurostat estimates, the main conclusion reached on the expenditure of each country per capita in the social insurance sector is that in Greece this expenditure represents a percentage which is clearly less than 50 per cent of the average EU expenditure.

    The estimates were based on Purchase Value Units (PVU), namely an "artificial currency" used by Eurostat to enable it to compare expenditures made by EU countries.

    According to these estimates (with 1995 being the year of reference), Greece spends 2250 PVU per person annually to cover social insurance, while the corresponding average EU expenditure is 4831 PVU.

    Apart from Greece, other countries having below EU average expenditures are Portugal (2313), Spain (2914), Ireland (3165), Italy (4491) and Britain (4543). Luxembourg heads the list with 7725 PVU.

    Although the expenditures of the EU's 15 member-states as a percentage of GDP increased on average between 1990 and 1995 (25.4 per cent of GDP in 1990 and 28.4 per cent of GDP in 1995) a decrease was observed in Greece and to a lesser extent in the Neth erlands. In 1990 social insurance expenditures covered 22.6 per cent of GDP in Greece compared to 20.7 per cent of GDP in 1995, while in the Netherlands they decreased from 32.5 per cent in 1990 to 31.6 per cent of GDP in 1995.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Economic News

    Athens, 31/10/1998 (ANA)

    Alpha Credit slashes interest rates in surprise move: Alpha Credit Bank, Greece's largest private commercial bank, yesterday surprised markets with a decision to lower its lending interest rates by one to 2-1/2 percentage points.

    The decision sparked a similar move by other Greek commercial banks.

    Alpha Credit Bank lowered its prime lending rate from 16.25 to 15.25 percent, its mortgage floating rate from 16.75 to 15.75 percent and its credit lending rate from 20 to 19 percent.

    The bank left its credit card interest rates unchanged. The Bank of Piraeus quickly followed the move announcing one percentage point cut in its lending rates to 14 percent and a two percentage points cut to its mortgage rate to 8.75 percent. The ba nk's deposits rates remained unchanged.

    Drys: 'No new taxes in 1999': The government is not planning any new taxes in 1999, Finance Deputy Minister George Drys told an Economist conferences event on tax harmonisation, held in Athens yesterday.

    "The 1999 budget does not include any new taxes, nor a rise in existing taxes, that's why it is not accompanied by a tax draft bill," Mr. Drys said.

    He underlined that next year's budget was the most important in recent years because it would lead the country into the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Mr. Drys said that 1999's regular budget revenues will rise by 6 percent compared with this yea r's budget to 10 trillion drachmas.

    He said this target could be achieved through successfully containing the informal market and tax evasion with no need of intervening on the existing tax system.

    The finance ministry is currently pursuing a modernisation of the country's tax system through measures including: full operation of a tax reference system called TAXIS, constant training of the finance ministry's personnel, strengthening the operation of new inspection centres and adopting IRS (the infamous US tax agency) proposals on better tax collection.

    Mr. Drys predicted that this year's budget revenues surplus would fall to a total of 100 billion drachmas, from 280 billion currently.

    Bourse rallies following Alpha Credit announcement: A surprise decision by Alpha Credit Bank to lower its interest rates sparked a rally in share prices in the last half-hour of trading on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday.

    Greek equities ended sharply higher helped also by the new government's determination to follow the same economic policy.

    The general index ended 2.75 percent higher to 2,162.93 points, in heavy turnover of 48.2 billion drachmas.

    Sector indices scored gains. Banks soared 4.07 percent, Insurance rose 1.93 percent, Investment ended 1.16 percent higher, Leasing increased 2.82 percent, Industrials rose 2.25 percent, Construction edged 0.34 percent up, Miscellaneous was 1.04 percent higher and Holding rose 1.38 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.08 percent off.

    Volume was 10,693,000 shares. Strintzis, Mytilineos, Boutaris, Bank of Piraeus and Hellenic Telecoms were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 167 to 68 with another 22 issues unchanged.

    Development Invest, Galis, Boutaris, Intracom, Dimitriadis, European Credit, Fanco and General Warehouses hit the daily 8.0 percent limit up. Lanacam, Technodomi, Parnassos, Athinea, Alcar-Aemet, Eltrak, Etma, Mesohoritis, Papoutsanis and Radio Athina s uffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 40,000 drachmas, Ergobank at 25,000, Alpha Credit Bank at 22,495, Ionian Bank at 10,850, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,400, Delta Dairy at 3,305, Intracom at 11,740, Titan Cement at 17,400, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,290 and Minoa n Lines at 6,050.

    Incentives for ASE investors: A surprise move by major Greek commercial banks to lower their lending interest rates offered new incentives to the Athens Stock Exchange in the last trading session of a positive week.

    Traders said the move, combined with the euphoria from a successful third flotation in Hellenic Telecoms, has created a new more positive outlook for the market, which ended the week 4.15 percent higher.

    The Greek market stands 46.18 percent higher from the beginning of the year, although it remains 23.45 percent down from its July record peaks.

    The week's turnover totalled 170.97 billion drachmas to a daily average of 42.7 billion drachmas, up from 37.9 billion the previous week.

    Analysts said that a monetary battle has already started in Greek markets in an effort to cut long-term interest rates by four percentage points by the end of 1999, to converge with German long-term Bund rates, currently at 4.0 percent.

    Domestic markets were discounting a drop in the inflation rate to 4.7-4.8 percent in October, while national economy ministry officials forecast inflation at 3.0 percent early next spring.

    Foreign investors firmly believe that Greece was an attractive investment, both in the stock market and in state securities.

    They acknowledge that Greek markets can offer higher returns than any other European market in the next 18 months and following the country's entry in EMU.

    Merrill Lynch, the US investment bank, suggests increased placements in Greece, Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) sees a positive outlook in Greece, the Czech Republic and Poland and Morgan Stanley forecasts Greek inflation at 2.4 percent.

    Heightened interest in third phase of OTE flotation: Bookbuilding and subscriptions abroad were due to come to a close late last night officially, but according to reports there is a clear picture concerning the success of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation's (OTE) third flotation phase.

    Both in Greece and abroad great interest was shown and as a result subscription was covered in Greece by about two times and by one and a half abroad.

    Out of a total of 50.4 million OTE shares to be provided, one third will go to Greeks and the two-thirds to foreign investors. The unified sale price will be determined over the weekend after data concerning demand registered in bookbuilding will be joi ntly assessed. OTE's price was set at 6,400 drachmas at the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday.

    OTE's managing director George Chrysolouris will sound the bell at Wall Street on Monday, according to custom, declaring the opening of the meeting. For the first time a Greek share, that of OTE, will constitute an object of negotiation at the New York Stock Exchange.

    The initial sponsorship amount of the Agricultural Bank of Greece (ATE), which participated in the processes of OTE's third flotation phase, was covered by about two times.

    The amount finally gathered by ATE amounted to 8.5 billion drachmas. An estimated 80 per cent of the amount was covered by the participation of private persons and 20 per cent by institutional investors.

    Sanyo Hellas approves share capital increase: A general assembly of Sanyo Hellas decided yesterday to increase the company's share capital by issuing new shares with a right of preference for old shareholders.

    Two shares will be issued for every 10 old ones and at a sale price of 750 drachmas each, while capital emanating from the issue will amount to 1.7 billion drachmas.

    Out of the new capital, 850 million drachmas will be provided to cover 50 per cent of the price of buying out 26 per cent of the Ukrainian firm C.C. Plast, involved in the exploration and exploitation of natural gas deposits in the Ukraine. The total co st of buying 26 per cent of the company amounts to US$5.5 million and is being paid off gradually in 1998.

    Moreover, 400 million drachmas will be provided for the building of new storage space for the company.

    Sanyo Hellas Symmetochiki AEBE, which is listed on the Athens Stock Exchange's main market, is expanding into the mobile telephony and natural gas sectors, apart from its traditional activity in the electrical appliances sector.

    Improving turnover for Plastika Makedonias: The Plastika Makedonias company yesterday announced a continuing recovery in its balance sheet during the first nine months of the year as compared to the same period in 1997.

    During this period total turnover reached five billion drachmas, a 14-per cent increase, while pre-tax profits reached 267 million drachmas, compared to 103 million drachmas during the corresponding period last year.

    According to company officials, the 159-per cent increase in profits was due to the drachma's devaluation, a 12.5-per cent decrease in operating expenses and 6.2 per cent in distribution costs.

    The company also announced that exports to Balkan countries continued to grow. The company wants to increase exports during the 1999-2001 period, while also eyeing joint ventures with companies in the region.

    Gener construction notifies bourse of activities: The Gener construction company has notified the Athens Stock Exchange of its intent to expand activities in the energy production and telecoms sectors.

    A general assembly earlier this month approved the creation of two subsidiaries, "Gener Energiaki SA" and "Gener Telecom".

    Gener Energiaki will focus on domestic electricity production in cooperation with Public Power Corp. (DEH), while Gener Telecom will further expand the company's telecoms construction activities abroad.

    The notification included the problems the firm confronted during the ongoing talks with Albania for the construction of road projects, while the Lavrio marina project is almost complete.

    Athens News Agency

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