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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-12-28

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] Alpha Credit buys bank in FYROM
  • [02] Greek-Albanian cooperation in energy sector highlighted
  • [03] Poll on Y2K `fears` published
  • [04] Main points of bill regarding repatriated ethnic Greeks presented
  • [05] Papantoniou: No elections before application for EMU
  • [06] Alexandroupoli Metropolitan hands out holiday gifts to Moslem families
  • [07] Economic News
  • [08] New organisation chart for TIF
  • [09] To the subscribers of the ANA's "Bulletin" and Special English Service:

  • [01] Alpha Credit buys bank in FYROM

    Athens, 28/12/1999 (ANA)

    Alpha Credit Bank, Greece's second largest commercial bank and the largest private bank, said yesterday that it had acquired a bank in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    The agreement to incorporate Kreditna Banka ad Skopje into the Alpha Credit Group was signed last Thursday in Skopje, the capital of FYROM, the Greek bank said in a statement.

    Alpha will hold a 65 percent stake in Kreditna Banka, which has three branches - in Skopje, Tetovo and Stroumitca.

    The acquisition, announced in late September, is part of Alpha Credit Bank's Balkan expansion strategy. It is already present in Romania, Bulgaria and Albania.

    Kreditna Banka posted profits of 1.56 million deutschemarks in first half 1999, a 60 percent increase over the same period last year.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Greek-Albanian cooperation in energy sector highlighted

    Athens, 28/12/1999 (ANA)

    Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday announced several initiatives and economic cooperation in the energy sector between Greece and Albania.

    They concern decisions coming in the wake of the recent meeting between Mr. Venizelos and Albanian Prime Minister Ilir Meta last week.

    It was decided that in the power sector, after the recent agreement on the sale at a favourable price of quantitites needed by the Albanian side by the Public Power Corp. (DEH) to the Albanian power utility (KESH) for 2.85 cents per kilowatt, while Gree ce will undertake all necessary actions for the overall upgrading of the distribution network in the Korce region (budgeted at about five billion drachmas, which will be developed over a period of three years) and paying all the relevant expenditures whic h will be covered by development aid funds and will be included in Athens' Balkan reconstruction plan.

    An acute problem exists in the region of Korce with continuous stoppages in electric power supply.

    The Albanian government expressed its satisfaction over the Greek offer, also in the framework of the relevant memorandum signed between the administrations of DEH and KESH in Thessaloniki in September.

    It was also agreed that a delegation of Development Ministry and DEH officials will visit Albania again in January for an on-the-spot inspection of technical issues related to the management of water resources and the building of hydroelectric plants.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Poll on Y2K `fears` published

    Athens, 28/12/1999 (ANA)

    More than 70 per cent of Greeks believe that the "millennium bug" will have an adverse effect on public utilities as computers try to change over to the year 2000, according to a poll published in "Ta Nea" yesterday.

    According to the poll, taken by the 'Year 2000' working group set up by the government, seven in 10 Greeks fear that the Y2K bug would cause outtages in power, water and phone lines as 1999 ended.

    The respondents also believed that payment of wages and pensions would also be affected.

    Although the Bank of Greece announced a cut in its Lombard rate on Christmas Eve to facilitate commercial bank liquidity in the event that clients withdrew large amounts of money for fear of Y2K glitches, only 12 in 100 respondents said they would be ta king their money out ahead of the New Year. Greece has spent an estimated 15 billion drachmas on dealing with the millennium bug.

    Last month, Interior Minister Vasso Papandreou said Greece was fully prepared to deal with any problems caused by Y2K in computer and electronic systems in the public sector at the end of the year.

    Ms Papandreou said all the procedures required to make systems year 2000 compliant have been taken by the Public Power Cor., Public Gas Corp. and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation.

    Data current to end-October showed that Olympic Airways was 99 per cent "year 2000" compliant, as was Greek Railways, the Athens and Piraeus Water and Drainage Co., the stock market and public administration.

    Ms Papandreou said there had been some delays in dealing with the Y2K problem in the private sector and in some smaller size organisations, such as small pension funds which is why Greece had been placed by international organisations in the second cate gory of countries in regard to action taken to combat the problem.

    The Athens Stock Exchange has also said it is "year 2000" compliant and has been ready since September to deal with any glitches in the changeover in dates.

    The ASE plans to hold a mock trading session on Sunday, Jan. 2, to take the system through its paces before the market opens for trade on the first working day of the new year.

    The ASE, and all central financial and credit institutions in the country, will be closed for business as a precautionary measure on Dec. 31, 1999.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Main points of bill regarding repatriated ethnic Greeks presented

    Athens, 28/12/1999 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoris Niotis presented the main points of a bill regarding repatriated ethnic Greeks, during a meeting yesterday in Alexandroupoli.

    Mr. Niotis said the new bill promotes a package of special benefits for thousands of repatriated Greeks, defines preconditions for obtaining citizenship, housing, the possibility of granting public of land and housing loans.

    The possibility of obtaining Greek citizenship is anticipated for ethnic Greeks having the citizenship of a country from the former Soviet Union, or have lived or are living in one of them for at least 10 years. They must also be at least 18 years of ag e.

    The provision of a special ID card for ethnic Greeks facing difficulties in obtaining Greek citizenship is also anticipated.

    In addition, Mr. Niotis spoke at length on housing programmes which are underway, underlining that the issue of housing for repatriated ethnic Greeks is proceeding at a speedier rates.

    He said that even before the bill has been ratified, the government has approved 4,000 housing loans for ethnic Greeks living in eastern Macedonia, Thrace and the northern Aegean.

    The loans, which start from 11 million drachmas, will be paid off interest- free in 15 years, while 30 per cent of the amount constitutes free subsidisation by the state.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Papantoniou: No elections before application for EMU

    Athens, 28/12/1999 (ANA)

    General elections will be held after next spring and not before the country's formal application for Economic and Monetary Union entry in the first two weeks of March, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday. He declined, however, to give any possible election dates.
    Athens News Agency

    [06] Alexandroupoli Metropolitan hands out holiday gifts to Moslem families

    Athens, 28/12/1999 (ANA)

    Metropolitan of Alexandroupoli Anthimos on Saturday handed out some 200 Christmas parcels to several needy Moslem families in the area as a token of solidarity between the Christian and Moslem communities in Evros prefecture.

    The bishopry's budget for the gifts and cash donations to the Moslem and Christian communities in the border city reached 4.5 million drachmas this holiday season, which coincides with the Moslem feast Ramadan holiday.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Economic News

    Athens, 28/12/1999 (ANA)

    Equities rebound on institutional buying: Greek stocks changed direction to end sharply up yesterday as a wave of institutional buying lifted the stock market above the 5,000 level, ending a recent free fall in prices.

    The general index ended 4.98 percent higher at 5,040.95 points with turnover rising to 300 billion drachmas, reflecting block trades in Hellenic Sugar, Duty Free Shops and Agricultural Insurance.

    Buying focused on blue chip stocks initially but gradually spread to smaller capitalisation shares.

    NSector indices ended as follows: Banks (+3.50 pct), Leasing (+7.99 pct), Insurance (+5.88 pct), Investment (+6.56 pct), Construction (+7.87 pct), Industrials (+6.16 pct), Miscellaneous (+7.16 pct) and Holding (+6.00 pct).

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks soared 7.33 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks jumped 4.14 percent to 2,713.68 points, while the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 7.26 percent to 842.65 points.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 293 to 19 with another 10 issues unchanged.

    A total of 100 shares ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up. Hadzikranioutis Sons saw its shares jump 97.14 pct on the company's first trading day in the market.

    Microland jumped 38.35 pct and Electroniki soared 13.21 pct.

    Vis (pref), Giannousis, Lanakam (pref), Doudos, Gallis and Athinea ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit down.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 23,250 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 25, 090, Commercial Bank at 23,940, Hellenic Petroleum at 5,000, Intracom at 13, 385, Minoan Lines at 7,570, Panafon at 3,845 and Hellenic Telecoms at 7, 215.

    Gov't okays bonds for lottery proceeds: Greek banks will issue bonds against future proceeds from state lotteries, the government said yesterday. (Continued on page 6)

    (Continued from page 5) Under a plan approved at a meeting chaired by National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, commercial banks will pre- pay state lottery organisations part of the revenue they expect to receive through the issue of bonds, mainly to institutional investors .

    The first issue of bonds will be for 35-40 billion drachmas. Proceeds will go towards national debt repayments.

    GNTO to lease Nafplio Xenia Hotel in January: The Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) said yesterday that it had received the green light to award a 40-year lease to the winner of an international tender for its Xenia hotel complex in the historic port of Nafplion.

    GNTO said the Mantonanakis Group of Tourist Enterprises would pay an annual lease of 450 million drachmas under a contract recently approved by the State Audit Council. The contract is due to be signed on January 14.

    The Mantonanakis Group will also make a 2.2 billion drachma investment in the properties, GNTO Secretary General Evgenios Yianakopoulos said.

    The Nafplion complex comprises a luxury hotel building and bungalows named the Xenia Pallas; and two A-class hotels, the Xenia and the Amphitryon. The 400-bed complex covers an area of some 23,000 square metres.

    GNTO had set a minimum annual lease in the tender of 265 million drachmas.

    Apart from the Mantonanakis Group, the bidders were Electra Hotels, which offered 1.3 billion drachmas every five years and investments of 2.17 billion drachmas; and the Mousama brothers, owners of the Athens Holiday Inn, who offered 315 million drachma s annually and investments of 3.3 billion drachmas.

    Bonds flaccid in holiday trade: Bonds in the domestic secondary market ended mixed in thin, lacklustre trade, traditional over the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

    The benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.50 percent, the same as in the previous session, from 6.46 percent on Thursday.

    The yield spread over German bunds was 125 basis points, the same as on Friday, from 123 basis points at Thursday's close.

    Turnover through the Bank of Greece's electronic trading system was 11 billion drachmas, sharply down on last week.

    In yesterday's trade, buy and sell orders were roughly equal. Buying focused on seven-year paper.

    The market brushed off a 0.75 percentage point cut in the Lombard rate on Friday in the wake of another 0.75 point reduction in the central bank's intervention rates in the previous week that spilled into the commercial bank market.

    The forward spread for 12 months between Greek benchmark 10-year bonds and equivalent German paper has been estimated at 50 basis points, coinciding with Greece's planned entry into the euro zone.

    The spread over bunds at the end of this year has been forecast to drop to between 100 and 120 basis points, analysts said.

    Drachma rises vs euro, dollar: The drachma yesterday nosed up against the euro and the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market.

    The central bank did not step into the market in the wake of repeated interventions over the last couple of weeks.

    At the central bank's daily fixing yesterday, the euro was set at 330.300 drachmas from 330.620 drachmas in the previous session.

    Also at the fixing, the dollar was set at 326.250 drachmas from 326.410 drachmas on Friday and 327.740 drachmas on Thursday.

    Citibank in Greece to lower rates: Citibank in Greece announced yesterday that it would lower its base lending rates by up to 1.5 percentage points and its deposit rates by 0.50 percentage point, effective on January 1.

    The bank said in a statement that its base rate for working capital loans will drop to 13.75 percent from 14.75 percent, secured mortgage loans (floating rate) to 13.0 percent from 14.0 percent, and its base savings rate to 7.50 percent from 8.0 percent .

    Water board IPO ends today: An initial public offer by the Athens Water Supply and Drainage Board (EYDAP) ends today in a bid to enter the main market of the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Under the part-privatisation, the government will end up with just over 70 percent of EYDAP's stock.

    The price of shares is 2,500 drachmas each.

    Petzetakis completes share cap rise: A G Petzetakis, a listed manufacturer of plastic pipes, announced yesterday that it had completed a share capital increase of nearly 27 billion drachmas.

    The company will use the proceeds of the share capital rise to expand its activities in Greece and abroad, it said in a statement.

    Karamanlis chairs meeting over situation on bourse: Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis chaired a meeting of ND cadres yesterday focusing on the decline in the stock exchange over the past days and, according to reports, what the party called "unfortunate moves" by the government which c aused nervousness.

    ND officials also mentioned that the course of inflation is creating problems for the economy since it appears to have got out of government control recently. The cadres further stressed that the promotion of an immediate solution to the problem of pena lty interest on overdue loans is necessary.

    Banknotes Buying Selling: US Dollar 323.640 331.144 Can.Dollar 219.907 225.005 Australian Dlr 208.419 213.252 Pound Sterling 522.526 534.641 Irish Punt 416.039 425.685 Pound Cyprus 569.388 582.590 Pound Malta 748.643 779.837 Turkish pound (100) 0.052 0.054 French franc 49.951 51.109 Swiss franc 204.154 208.887 Belgian franc 8.122 8.311 German Mark 167.529 171.413 Finnish Mark 55.108 56.385 Dutch Guilder 148.685 152.132 Danish Kr. 44.108 45.131 Swedish Kr. 38.250 39.136 Norwegian Kr. 40.414 41.351 Austrian Sh. 23.812 24.364 Italian lira (100) 16.923 17.315 Yen (100) 315.664 322.983 Spanish Peseta 1.969 2.015 Port. Escudo 1.635 1.673

    Foreign Exchange Buying Selling New York 323.640 331.144 Montreal 219.907 225.005 Sydney 208.419 213.252 London 522.526 534.641 Dublin 416.039 425.685 Nicosia 569.388 582.590 Paris 49.951 51.109 Zurich 204.154 208.887 Brussels 8.122 8.311 Frankfurt 167.529 171.413 Helsinki 55.108 56.385 Amsterdam 148.685 152.132 Copenhagen 44.108 45.131 Stockholm 38.250 39.136 Oslo 40.414 41.351 Vienna 23.812 24.364 Milan 16.923 17.315 Tokyo 315.664 322.983 Madrid 1.969 2.015 Lisbon 1.635 1.673

    Athens News Agency

    [08] New organisation chart for TIF

    Athens, 28/12/1999 (ANA)

    The Thessaloniki International Fair's (TIF) board of directors yesterday announced it will begin formulation of a new organisational chart for the state-run enterprise.

    A press release noted that the new chart is needed following the establishement of a "Hellenic Exhibitions - HELEXPO", which will undertake the organisation of sector trade exhibitions.

    The new TIF structure aims at facilitating the organisation of the major September international trade fair, exhibitions around the country as well as abroad.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] To the subscribers of the ANA's "Bulletin" and Special English Service:

    Athens, 28/12/1999 (ANA) As of today, and for five weeks (until the end of January 2000), you will be able to access the on-line English Service on a trial basis at http://ns.ana.gr with the following universal access code P username: bull marketing department if you wish to continue to receive the on-line English Service alone, the "Bulletin" alone (in its electronic form), or both, so that you may be issued a personal access code, as the universal access code will be abolished.

    We would also like to remind you of the special offer the ANA is offering to those subscribers who wish to receive both services.

    SPECIAL OFFER ANA's bulletin subscribers will be able to receive, as of Jan. 2: a) the Special English Service of news items on-line and as the news is breaking 500,000 drachmas annually and, b) the next day's "Daily Bulletin" on their screens at midnight, with the ability for print-out if desired 110,000 drachmas annually. ANA is offering a special package discount subscription of 500,000 drachmas for both services.

    For further information, please call the marketing department between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. at 6400560.

    Athens News Agency

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