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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-05-05

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] Gov't to reduce tax on low, middle incomes
  • [02] FM Papandreou: Diplomacy now at the forefront in Kosovo crisis
  • [03] Stephanopoulos: Greece must be prepared to defend its nat'l interests
  • [04] Tsohatzopoulos talks with SAE presidium over Balkan issues
  • [05] Greek medical team heads for Kosovo,FYROM
  • [06] Athens, Skopje focus on bilateral cooperation in transports,telecoms
  • [07] Kranidiotis in London for CoE anniversary
  • [08] Constantopoulos begins visit to Albania
  • [09] Gov't vehemently denies any confiscations of Greek farm products
  • [10] Violations by Turkish warplanes reported
  • [11] 'Ta Nea' poll shows difference between ND, PASOK closing
  • [12] Karamanlis touches on local gov't issues in Thessaloniki tour
  • [13] PASOK announces rallies prior to Euroelections
  • [14] Manos outlines his new party's positions
  • [15] Commission campaign for renewable energy sources
  • [16] Greek delegation to Special Olympics presented
  • [17] Tsovolas invited to Iraq
  • [18] No decision on strike by local gov't employees
  • [19] Bomb hoax arrest
  • [20] Gov't sends energy liberalisation bill to EU
  • [21] Stocks end down in technical correction
  • [22] 15-yr bond yield drops in auction
  • [23] Government meeting tomorrow on Kosovo's economic impact
  • [24] Corporate governance to begin at Athens bourse
  • [25] National Bank of Greece to hold AGM on May 26
  • [26] Hellenic Petroleum, Metka sign refinery repair deal
  • [27] Bank workers, employers still in pay deadlock
  • [28] Athens Foreign Exchange

  • [01] Gov't to reduce tax on low, middle incomes

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    The government will reduce tax on low and middle incomes and boost job creation through tax breaks, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday.

    Addressing an inauguration ceremony for the finance ministry's information systems division, the premier noted that the changes would take into account the impact on the economy from the Kosovo crisis. He did not elaborate.

    Mr. Simitis repeated that the government's main objective was to ensure the country's entry into the euro zone by January 1, 2001, as planned. He indicated that the government would refrain from pre-election handouts.

    Among reforms to the tax system, the government will abolish base assessed tax as soon as the finance ministry completes installation of a new computer system, due by the end of the year, the prime minister said.

    Technological and organisational reform within the finance ministry aimed to boost transparency in dealings between the state and the public; reduce tax evasion; strengthen fiscal restructuring; and pave the way for lower taxes, he added.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] FM Papandreou: Diplomacy now at the forefront in Kosovo crisis

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou said yesterday he was "reserved, but optimistic" about the outcome of his recent talks with officials in Moscow over a political settlement to the Kosovo crisis.

    "Diplomacy is now in the limelight. Greece's activity as well as Russia's - with the visit to Washington - have left their mark on this attempt," Mr. Papandreou told reporters after a meeting with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    Mr. Papandreou said US President Bill Clinton's visit to Europe would bolster diplomatic efforts for a resolution from the United Nations, which would have the agreement of all parties.

    Greece, he added, has been in talks with Russia and Switzerland to coordinate efforts for the dispatch of humanitarian aid to Yugoslavia.

    Mr. Papandreou briefed President Stephanopoulos on current diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis and the dispatch of humanitarian aid to the region.

    Athens welcomes Prodi proposal : Meanwhile, the government yesterday applauded a proposal by European Commission president-designate Romano Prodi for the convening of an international conference to examine ways of bringing lasting peace to the Balkans.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Prime Minister Costas Simitis had been in touch with Mr. Prodi on the issue.

    Mr. Prodi intimated in an address to the European Parliament yesterday that the EU should take the initiative for convening the conference and take greater responsibility in general for resolving the Yugoslav crisis.

    Asked by reporters how near a political solution to the crisis was, Mr. Reppas replied that "as time passes, the side which from the outset came out in favour of a political settlement becomes stronger".

    The government spokesman described Mr. Prodi's proposal for a conference as "a very positive development", adding that there were a number of "indications and conditions" which were boosting hopes that a political solution might be attained.

    "We have already mourned enough and it is time for work, aimed at a political solution," he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Stephanopoulos: Greece must be prepared to defend its nat'l interests

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos warned that Greece and the wider region were going through many difficulties, and that the country must be prepared to defend its national interests if necessary.

    "The difficulties our country and the wider Balkan region are going through are numerous, and that is why we must be prepared to safeguard our national interests if necessary," Mr. Stephanopoulos said Monday night at the opening of the 'Fragista-Argolis '99' agricultural trade fair in Argos.

    Turning to political life in Greece, Mr. Stephanopoulos said the country, the people and the political parties had "matured" and realised that they were not "self-existent organisms that can survive without the support of the people".

    However, he added, frequently the people spoke badly about the politicians and politics and this vreated a negative climate for the country's political life.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Tsohatzopoulos talks with SAE presidium over Balkan issues

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday met with the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) presidium in Thessaloniki, where efforts by Greek expatriates to assist Balkan countries facing current problems were discussed.

    Talks focused on initiatives by expatriates to mobilise international non- governmental organisations in support of a massive aid package for Yugoslavia, including Kosovo, and neighbouring Balkan countries.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Greek medical team heads for Kosovo,FYROM

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    A team of 41 physicians, organised by the Athens Medical Centre, left for Skopje and Pristina on yesterday to provide medical treatment for children in refugee camps of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the children's hospital in Pristina.

    Accompanying the medical team are five ambulances, staffed by trained personnel and a mobile hospital unit.

    They will provide health services for refugees in camps in Skopje and logistical support to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) health ministry.

    They will then proceed to the children's hospital in Pristina, while if any of the children are in need of special treatment they will be brought to the Athens Medical Centre.

    The mission is expected to be completed in 10 days' time.

    Major UNICEF donation for children of Yugoslavia : UNICEF's Greek committee yesterday announced a 50-million-drachma donation for the immediate relief of Yugoslavia's children, collected during a radio marathon sponsored by the agency.

    The aid will be equally divided to purchase vaccines for refugee children in Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and restoring the health of children in Yugoslavia.

    UNICEF also announced the initiation of a three phase vaccination in the refugee camps of FYROM.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Athens, Skopje focus on bilateral cooperation in transports,telecoms

    SKOPJE, 05/05/1999 (ANA - M. Vihou)

    Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mantelis held talks with officials here yesterday focusing on bilateral cooperation in the transports and telecoms sectors.

    "Cooperation in those sectors will assist in the development of ties between the two countries and will contribute to the maturing of a solution for the name issue", Mr. Mantelis stressed.

    Better transport of goods and people, duty-free land transportation, development of a railway connection between Skopje and Florina, a regular railway connection between Skopje and Thessaloniki as well as an air connection between Skopje and Athens were some of the issues discussed. In addition, privatisation of FYROM's telecommunications sector with the participation of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) was also brought up.

    The Greek minister said the meetings were "productive" while he stressed that Greece was willing to support FYROM in the context of multilateral cooperation. Finally, he cited Skopje's consideration to assign construction of FYROM's main highway sections to Greek firms.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Kranidiotis in London for CoE anniversary

    LONDON, 05/05/1999 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis arrived here yesterday for celebrations commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Council of Europe.

    Mr. Kranidiotis held separate meetings with Russian envoy to London Vladimir Gigov, with whom he discussed the Kosovo crisis, and Britain's special envoy for the Cyprus issue Sir David Hanney, with whom he discussed developments regarding the Cyprus problem.

    The ceremony will be held at the Westminster Palace, followed by a dinner hosted by British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Constantopoulos begins visit to Albania

    POGRADEC, 05/05/1999 (ANA - P. Haritou)

    Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos began a two-day visit to Albania yesterday as part of his tour of Balkan countries.

    "At a moment of war, we are travelling and conveying the message and hope of peace," Mr. Constantopoulos told the prefect of the town of Pogradec on the first stop of his visit to Albania.

    He also visited refugees housed at a settlement created by a Greek military force. On his part, the Albanian prefect expressed satisfaction over Greece's position during the latest crisis.

    Mr. Constantopoulos will meet the President and Prime Minister of Albania today, as well as other members of the Albanian government.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Gov't vehemently denies any confiscations of Greek farm products

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    The government yesterday categorically denied any confiscations of Greek agricultural products anywhere in Europe for allegedly containing toxic substances generated from NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia.

    "No European customs authorities rejected or confiscated any (Greek) produce cargo and no state authority ever raised an issue of toxic substances in Greek products," Agriculture Minister George Anomeritis said, adding that "the only issue was the probl em caused by the war to our exports," for which Greece is claiming compensation.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Violations by Turkish warplanes reported

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    Athens yesterday attributed recent violations of Greek air space by Turkish warplanes to a continuation of Ankara's provocations.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said in all cases the Turkish fighter jets were intercepted by Hellenic Air Force aircraft.

    "This behaviour of Turkey does not help it, because it reveals the face of a troublemaker. Ankara should at long last realise this and cease its provocations," he added.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] 'Ta Nea' poll shows difference between ND, PASOK closing

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    Ruling PASOK cadres said they were confident of winning June's European Parliament elections, following the publication of another opinion poll showing the gap between PASOK and the main opposition closing.

    "We will keep victory at the polls for ourselves and the others can keep victory at the opinion polls," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

    The latest figures, published in the Athens daily "Ta Nea" yesterday, showed that New Democracy was still ahead in voters' preferences but with a slightly smaller gap of 5 per cent.

    The V-PRC poll put support for ruling PASOK at 27.1 per cent, with support for New Democracy at 32.5 per cent.

    The last V-PRC poll in January had returned a difference of 11 per cent in the opposition's favour.

    In addition, yesterday's poll gave the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) 5.8 per cent, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) 5.1, the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) 4.6 and Political Spring (Pol.An) 1.6 per cent.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Karamanlis touches on local gov't issues in Thessaloniki tour

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday addressed issues related to local government during a visit to the Thessaloniki area.

    Speaking to the municipal council of Triandria, Thessaloniki, Mr. Ka- ramanlis said the structure and operation of the Greek state is the same with that of the first half of the century, while its "effective-ness is outrageously low".

    Mr. Karamanlis said the current government bears a large responsibility for the existing corruption and high centralisation of funding and decision- making.

    Mr. Karamanlis also accused the government over the more than two-year delay in the operation of the new Papageorgiou Hospital in western Thessaloniki.

    The main opposition leader also addressed a rally of supporters last night.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] PASOK announces rallies prior to Euroelections

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    Ruling PASOK's executive bureau yesterday decided that the party will hold seven rallies in light of June's Euroelections.

    The meeting was presided over by party president and Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    It was decided that Mr. Simitis will address all seven rallies, while the official kick-off of the election campaign will take place in Elefsina, western Attica.

    Developments on the war in Yugoslavia were also discussed, as Mr. Simitis, Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos briefed other executive bureau members on the ongoing Balkan crisis.

    Following the meeting, PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis said former FM Karolos Papoulias will visit Belgrade in his capacity as chairman of Parliament's standing foreign affairs and defence committee.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Manos outlines his new party's positions

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    Former New Democracy minister Stephanos Manos outlined the differences between his newly established "Liberals" party from ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy during an address in Athens yesterday.

    Mr. Manos, hosted at a luncheon organised by the Hellenic British Chamber of Commerce, focused on a series of crucial issues and criticised what he called the "partisan establishment of political favours", which he said is represented by the two major parties.

    He said that the structure of party mechanisms in Greece in all sectors of public life, constitutes the greatest scourge for the country, adding that for this reason the party will not take after the mainstream parties and will not participate in non-political confrontations. He also said his party will not have trade union, cooperative and student affiliations.

    "We will call on citizens to throw the parties out of social venues to let them work appropriately..." he said.

    Focusing on his political positions, Mr. Manos went on to say that "insurance reform must go ahead now, an end must be put to the scandalously free privileges of certain powerful groups and trade unions and, in parallel, part of revenues from privatisat ions must be utilised to support the humiliating pensions of elderly people more, who have no other resources for subsistence."

    In terms of the economy, Mr. Manos called for privatisations and other reforms to go ahead with "the criterion of the needs of the Greek economy and the Greek people and not on the basis of the interests of party mechanisms" and also blames ND for oppos ing whatever "mediocre and limp" efforts attempted by the government.

    On the question of cracking down on unemployment, Mr. Manos said it cannot be carried out with state interventions, such as the decrease in working hours and the enactment of state programmes and subsidies, but with the birth of new businesses which nec essitates "the encouragement of enterprise and interventions in the functioning of public administration and the legislative fra-mework."

    Referring to developments in Yugoslavia, Mr. Manos termed the position of both the Greek government and of main opposition ND as "crafty."

    Referring to the Kosovo crisis, Mr. Manos said the sole possibility the country has in the present international environment is to ally itself on every opportunity, within the framework of Europe and NATO, with those forces which desire a diplomatic sol ution to the conflict and an end to military operations and, at the same time, it must state its desire to participate with troops in the peacekeeping force which will undertake the supervision of the agreement to be achieved.

    Athens News Agency Athens 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    The "Hermes Expo '99" exhibition set for May 8 and 9 in New York will feature Thessaloniki as its focal point and Greek jewelry as the highlighted product.

    The exhibition will take place in Manhattan, where several Thessaloniki officials have already arrived along with a business delegation.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Commission campaign for renewable energy sources

    BRUSSELS, 05/05/1999 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    European Union services have issued a document containing details of a campaign proposed by the Commission in its "White Paper for Community Strategy and the Plan of Action-Energy for the Future: Renewable Sources of En ergy."

    It determines an indicative target of 12 per cent in relation to the participation of renewable sources of energy in the EU's energy consumption in 2010 and includes an overall strategy and plan of action in which the means of achieving this target are determined.

    The campaign constitutes a basic and indivisible part of the overall strategy on renewable sources of energy.

    "I am convinced that a successful campaign planned for the acceleration of the adoption of basic technologies in the sector of renewable sources of energy in the first years of the EU's strategy can constitute an important motivation and help in the ach ievement of the white paper's overall target, " EU Commissioner Christos Papoutsis said.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Greek delegation to Special Olympics presented

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    Greek delegation to the 10th Special Olympics, set to take place in North Carolina between June 25 and July 5, was presented yesterday at the Zappeion Hall in Athens.

    Sports Deputy Minister Andreas Fouras and US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns attended the event.

    "I think that the Special Olympics is one of these really great organisations that unites young people around the world...I want you to know that we are going to welcome you with open arms to North Carolina, Raleigh, in June. This is a big event in that state. They are waiting for you and I'm confident that Greece is going to send a very big team and one that will do very, very well", Mr. Burns said.

    Three Special Olympics athletes from North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New York will receive the Olympic flame on May 13 at Pnyx Hill opposit the Acropolis, in order to carry it to the other side of the Atlantic.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Tsovolas invited to Iraq

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas was invited yesterday by the Iraqi ambassador to Athens to visit the Mideast country.

    During their meeting, Mr. Tsovolas and Iraqi envoy Abdul-Muhsin M Said discussed conditions in Yugoslavia, while the DHKKI leader said he was pessimistic that an end to what he called the "bestial" incursion of NATO in Yugoslavia would soon appear.

    The two men said that democratisation and the protection of human rights are "the pretexts...so as to hide their real intentions, which are control of oil and the facilitation of geopolitical and strategical plans in the region (both) in the Balkans and the Middle East."

    Athens News Agency

    [18] No decision on strike by local gov't employees

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    The Panhellenic Federation of Local Authority Workers (POE-OTA) convened yesterday and reached no decisions on strike action and consequently the next few days will be free of strike action by the country's municipality and community employees.

    Employees are expected to determine their position during the federation's conference between May 11-14.

    According to reports, during the meeting POE-OTA President Nontas Lambrakakis had with Interior Minister Vasso Papandreou on Monday, the latter expressed her intention of meeting the request for an increase in working expenditures from 10,000 to 20,000 drachmas a month. However, she did not appear prepared to satisfy a claim for lumpsum electoral remuneration from 75,000 to 100,000 drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Bomb hoax arrest

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    Police said yesterday they had arrested a 14-year-old junior high school student on charges of making a bomb hoax that caused the evacuation of a local Athens school.

    They said the teenager, identified only as "K.E.", had telephoned a radio station and said he had planted a bomb at the Galatsi 4th Junior High School.

    He claimed to be a member of an ultra-rightist group.

    The telephone call caused the temporary suspension of lessons while police combed the building for any evidence of a bomb. None was found.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Gov't sends energy liberalisation bill to EU

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos said yesterday that the government had notified the European Union of its bill to liberalise the domestic energy sector.

    The bill includes legal changes lifting existing controls, and gives an outline of how the market will operate.

    In addition, there are plans for the Public Power Corporation to be partly floated on the Athens bourse.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Stocks end down in technical correction

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    Equities succumbed to early profit-taking to end moderately lower yesterday, reversing record gains in the previous session.

    The general index ended 0.79 percent lower at 3,776.18 points, off the day's lows but sharply down from an initial 1.76 percent rise. Turnover was 150.465 billion drachmas and volume at 31,996,530 shares.

    Traders said the market's underlying trend remained positive, and a minor correction was normal following the previous day's record close.

    Analysts said that if the market held above the 3,740-point support level today it could more easily move towards the next resistance level at 3,980 points. Construction shares remained at the focus of trade with 16 issues hitting the daily limit up.

    Sector indices ended mixed.

    Banks fell 1.21 percent, Leasing rose 0.02 percent, Insurance eased 2.90 percent, Investment fell 0.39 percent, Construction jumped 4.32 percent, Industrials ended 1.13 percent off, Miscellaneous dropped 1.03 percent and Holding rose 0.11 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 2.62 percent higher while the FTSE/ASE 20 index fell 1.10 percent to 2,330.27.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 161 to 125 with another 13 issues unchanged.

    Thessaliki, Altec, Intersat and Sysware were the most heavily traded stocks. Commercial Bank, Alpha Credit Bank, Altec and National Bank led the day's turnover.

    Altec, Attica Aluminium, Levenderis, Michaniki, Proodeftiki, Technodomiki, Agrinio Metalplastics, Esha, Eltrac and Ergas scored the biggest percentage gains hitting the day's 8.0 percent limit up.

    Ergodata, Ionian Invest, Lanacam, Duty Free Shops, St.George Mills, Dias, Minerva, Fintexport and Halyps Cement suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 21,775 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 21, 450, Ergobank at 28,200, Ionian Bank at 18,250, Titan Cement at 24,900, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,500, Intracom at 21,660, Minoan Lines at 7,400, Panafon at 8,260 and Hellenic Telecoms at 7,380.

    Bonds perk up in brisk trade : Most bond prices gained around 50 basis points in the secondary market yesterday in active trade fuelled by hopes the Kosovo crisis may be ending, and by a successful 15-year bond auction.

    Electronic trade was 128 billion drachmas from 19 billion drachmas in the previous session, boosted in the last hour of trade by profit-taking in 15- year paper.

    Demand was seen from institutional investors at home and abroad. The ten- year-bond was trading at 104.30, showing a yield of 5.71 percent. The yield spread with German bunds was just under 183 basis points.

    In the foreign currency market, the drachma edged up against the euro.

    At the central bank's daily fix, the euro was set at 325.200 drachmas from 325.460 drachmas in the previous session.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] 15-yr bond yield drops in auction

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    The 15-year bond's average weighted yield showed a major decline in an auction held yesterday by the finance ministry.

    The average weighed rate fell to 5.90 percent from 6.27 percent in the previous auction on March 2. Bids submitted totalled 577.7 billion drachmas, 2.9 times more than the 200 billion drachmas sought.

    The finance ministry finally accepted bids totalling 240 billion drachmas.

    The bond's average weighed price was 105.67 and the minimum accepted price 105.33.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Government meeting tomorrow on Kosovo's economic impact

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    Government ministers involved in the economy will meet tomorrow to discuss the impact of the Yugoslav war on the country's finances, Devlopment Minister Evangelos Venizelos said yesterday.

    Among topics on the agenda are proposals by the National Tourism Council on limiting repercussions on the sector.

    On May 19, Mr. Venizelos will visit the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in Skopje at the head of a business delegation from the private and public sector.

    He will meet senior government officials from Albania and FYROM for preliminary talks on Monday and Tuesday as part of visit by the two countries' prime ministers to take part in a Balkan forum.

    The embargo on Yugoslavia covering petroleum products had brought a adverse impact on Greek private and state sector firms, Mr. Venizelos said in reply to a reporter's question.

    Athens News Agency

    [24] Corporate governance to begin at Athens bourse

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    The capital markets commission yesterday announced plans to implement corporate governance practices and regulations in the domestic market.

    The plan was discussed last week at a seminar held by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development and the commission on international developments in corporate governance. The field covers transparency in societe anonymes, representatio n and protection for minority holdings in multi-share companies, and optimal corporate decision-making.

    The capital markets commission is to set up a panel of experts to draft a white paper on the introduction of corporate governance in Greece.

    Athens News Agency

    [25] National Bank of Greece to hold AGM on May 26

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    National Bank of Greece is to hold its annual general meeting on May 26, it announced yesterday.

    On the agenda are the dividend on 1998 profits, a share capital rise resulting from a 1991 convertible bond loan, and the approval of 1998 results.

    Mutual funds show 1.5 pct asset rise in April.

    Total assests of domestic mutual funds totalled 9.47 trillion drachmas at the end of April, an increase of 1.5 percent compared with the previous month, the Union of Institutional Investors said in a report yesterday.

    The monthly report attributed the rise almost exclusively to a rise by 138 billion drachmas in equity mutual fund assets in April to 979 billion drachmas, a 16.50 percent rise from March.

    The mutual fund market's composition in April by category was as follows:

  • Money market funds, 61.06 percent
  • Fixed-income, 19.46 percent
  • Equity funds, 10.77 percent
  • Combined funds, 8.71 percent.
    Athens News Agency

    [26] Hellenic Petroleum, Metka sign refinery repair deal

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    Metka announced yesterday that it had secured a contract to repair Hellenic Petroleum's Thessaloniki refinery after damage from a fire in February.

    The contract, worth 2.14 billion drachmas, envisages the completion of works in two months.

    Metka's chairman, Evangelos Mytilineos, said the company was signalling its return to construction following a 10-year absence from the refineries market.

    Metka, which is listed on the Athens bourse, has also signed a contract to build a new processing unit at the Thessaloniki refinery, worth 600 million drachmas.

    The firm was recently acquired by the Mytilineos Group.

    Athens News Agency

    [27] Bank workers, employers still in pay deadlock

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    Bank workers and employers again failed to reach agreement on pay rises for 1999 and a 35-hour working week, but the two sides are due to meet again today for fresh talks.

    According to trade union sources, management is opposed to a blanket 35- hour working week in all banks, but would allow individual banks to go ahead with the change in consultation with staff associations.

    Management also is keen to extend bank opening hours for the public to 1530 from the current 1400, with staff shifts lasting until 1730.

    Athens News Agency

    [28] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens, 05/05/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: May 4, 1999

    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes             Buying  Selling
    US Dollar             305.080 312.153
    Can.Dollar            210.205 215.078
    Australian Dlr        201.178 205.842
    Pound Sterling        491.536 502.932
    Irish Punt            409.616 419.113
    Pound Cyprus          558.198 571.141
    Pound Malta           727.050 757.344
    Turkish pound (100)     0.072   0.075
    French franc           49.179  50.320
    Swiss franc           200.225 204.868
    Belgian franc           7.997   8.182
    German Mark           164.942 168.766
    Finnish Mark           54.257  55.515
    Dutch Guilder         146.388 149.783
    Danish Kr.             43.406  44.412
    Swedish Kr.            36.053  36.889
    Norwegian Kr.          39.132  40.040
    Austrian Sh.           23.444  23.987
    Italian lira (100)     16.661  17.047
    Yen (100)             252.186 258.033
    Spanish Peseta          1.938   1.983
    Port. Escudo            1.609   1.646
    
    Foreign Exchange      Buying  Selling
    New York              305.080 312.153
    Montreal              210.205 215.078
    Sydney                201.178 205.842
    London                491.536 502.932
    Dublin                409.616 419.113
    Nicosia               558.198 571.141
    Paris                  49.179  50.320
    Zurich                200.225 204.868
    Brussels                7.997   8.182
    Frankfurt             164.942 168.766
    Helsinki               54.257  55.515
    Amsterdam             146.388 149.783
    Copenhagen             43.406  44.412
    Stockholm              36.053  36.889
    Oslo                   39.132  40.040
    Vienna                 23.444  23.987
    Milan                  16.661  17.047
    Tokyo                 252.186 258.033
    Madrid                  1.938   1.983
    Lisbon                  1.609   1.646
    
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