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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-12-17

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

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

NEWS IN ENGLISH

ATHENS, GREECE, 17/12/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Industry sees healthy outlook for 2000
  • Athens stock Exchange sees no Y2K disruption
  • Gov't to sign digital TV deal
  • Equities nosedive in moderate turnover
  • Cosmote gets one million customers
  • First two 'Super Puma' helicopters received
  • OTE initiatives for Y2K problem
  • ANA SPECIAL OFFER
  • Seminar focused on role of Greek NGOs
  • Hyatt share capital increase
  • To the "Daily Bulletin" subscribers
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Industry sees healthy outlook for 2000

Industrialists are optimistic about the future of the economy and their sector a year before Greece is to join the 11-member euro zone, the ICAP business research group said in an annual survey released yesterday.

"Greek industry is in the best position to deal with the challenges of the future, and the prospects for companies in the sector are the best in 35 years," ICAP Managing Director Dimitris Maniatakis told a news conference.

Held in the November 8-30 period, the survey of industry's assessment of 1999 and expectations for 2000 used a representative sample of 250 companies.

It showed that industrialists believed inflation and interest rates would drop and that the procedures required to obtain a loan would be simplified.

The industrialists had already discounted that Greece would join the euro zone, becoming its 12th member, the survey said.

The companies surveyed were relatively optimistic about employment in industry in 2000 in the wake of a year of stagnation in 1998.

Optimism over job creation was expressed primarily in profitable medium- sized companies, most of which were active in paper, publishing and printing, metal products, electrical and electronic materials, and appliances.

The European Union's decision at the Helsinki summit this month to award Turkey candidate status had ushered in a new era, according to ICAP president A. Kyriakopoulos, who is also general director of Alpha Credit Bank, the country's largest private com mercial bank.

Athens stock Exchange sees no Y2K disruption

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) has been Year 2000 compliant since September and is also ready to handle any glitches in the computer changeover to a new date, it said in a statement yesterday.

The ASE-Y2K Programme to tackle the problem was developed in 1998 on the basis of international norms and practices, the statement said.

Further information on the project is available on the ASE's website at www.ase.gr

The ASE has also developed contingency plans for the capital market in case there are unforeseen malfunctions due to the millennium problem.

The bourse plans to hold a mock trading session on Sunday, January 2, to take the system through its paces before the market opens for the first trading session of the millennium on Monday, January 3.

The ASE and financial and credit institutions will be closed for business on December 31 as a precautionary measure.

Gov't to sign digital TV deal

The government on Monday will sign a contract with Multichoice for the provision of digital television services, Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

There were two bids, and details of the deal would be released after the signing on Monday, Mr. Reppas said.

Equities nosedive in moderate turnover

Equities continued to slump on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday with the general index dropping below 5,200 points, the lowest level since 27 August of this year.

The general index ended 4.44 percent down at 5,190.99 points. Turnover was 202.3 billion drachmas.

The parallel market index for small capitalisation stocks was down 7.67 per cent at 1,716.25 points.

The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 3.73 per cent lower at 2,665.31 points.

Sector indices ended as follows: Banks (-3.08 pct), Leasing (-6.6 pct), Insurance (-7.86 pct), Investment (-4.04 pct), Construction (-6.79 pct), Industrials (-5.11 pct), Miscellaneous (-5.13 pct) and Holding (-7.08 pct). Of 320 shares traded decliners led advancers at 304 to 13 with 3 issues remaining unchanged.

National Bank of Greece ended at 22,860 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 24, 940, Titan Cement Company (common) at 37,190, Hellenic Petroleum at 4,625, Intracom at 12,985, and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 6,690 drachmas.

Cosmote gets one million customers

Cosmote, the Hellenic Telecommunication Organisation's mobile phone subsidiary, yesterday gained its millionth customer.

The firm said in a statement that the achievement came after only 20 months of commercial operation.

One of the fastest growing mobile operators in Europe, the company had met most of the targets it had been set, the statement said.

First two 'Super Puma' helicopters received

Two of four all-weather "Super Puma" helicopters were incorporated into the Hellenic Air Force's 358th search and rescue squadron yesterday during a ceremony at the Elefsina air base. Both Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis and Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said in their addresses that acquisition of the aircraft ends a 10-year process for the right helicopter.

The French-made helicopters can cover an area of 180 nautical miles and fly around the clock regardless of most weather conditions. They are equipped with a special radar system which allows them to be able to detect human life in the sea, even at night .

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also announced plans to acquire another four such helicopters, with the relevant contract to be signed in February 2000 with a delivery date in 2001.

OTE initiatives for Y2K problem

In an attempt to eradicate possible repercussions from the "Y2K" problem, the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) will be in a state of increased readiness on upcoming crucial dates to handle possible problems stemming from whatever cause.

The entire effort will be coordinated by a centre of operations organised at the state-run utility's headquarters.

On Dec 31, Jan. 1-2, 2000, Feb. 28-29 and March 1, customers will be able to contact the following services around the clock:

1500 - Announcement of faults for special clients

9225199 announcement of faults for private telephone centres

0801-20001 an open line specially for the bug 2000 problem

6108198 or 8060299 central coordinating agency

0870-761913351 telephone linkage via satellite

6111145 or 47 office for the "project 2000".

ANA 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, as the news is breaking 500,000 dr. annually, and, b) the next day's "Daily Bulletin" on their screens at midnight, with the ability for print-out if desired or simply view on screen 110,000 drachmas annually

ANA is offering special package discount subscription of 500,000 drachmas for both the above services.

For further information, please call the marketing dept. at 64.00.560.

Seminar focused on role of Greek NGOs

The Kosovo crisis earlier in the year provided several Greek non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with valuable training in providing aid, although the region is plagued by a lack of advanced planning that is hampering the advent of long-term stability a nd prosperity, speakers at an Institute for International Economic Relations seminar said on Wednesday.

Up until the mid-1980s, Greece was a country which received aid; it has now become a member of the 'club' of developed nations that are in a position to extend humanitarian, economic and development aid to crisis areas and fields, Athens university prof essor and president of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy Thanos Veremis said.

However, Mr. Veremis noted, since the Kosovo problem was no longer on the priority list for the west, the aftermath had been plagued by a lack of planning affecting economic and development prospects. "Since the war, there has been no movement on the economic or investment level and this is a negative factor, as the amounts needed by both Serbia and Kosovo to revert to their pre-war situations comes to some dozens of billions of dollars," Mr. Veremis said.

Journalist Tassos Telloglou said that stability in the region was in Greece's interest, as only through stability would there be a fall off in the numbers of people fleeing the area to reach Greece, which could quickly evolve into a haven for young econ omic migrants. Stability in the region would also provide Greece with an opportunity to show what a strong political and economic role it could play, one leading to greater security, he said.

The overwhelming problem at the moment in Kosovo was the safety of civilans from armed and organised gangs active in the region. According to Mr. Telloglou, there is an entire generation of civilians there under the age of 20 who know nothing but how to fight.

A culture of marketplace haggling is the only economic activity in Kosovo right now, Mr. Telloglou said.

Greece, through its participation in the FOCUS programme, a humanitarian project coordinated by Switzerland, Austria, Russia and Greece has been a part of the few constructive aid efforts. FOCUS has, in a short time, repaired damage to seven schools, distributed 250 tonnes of food, provided vocational training to young people and generally assisted in the raising of living standards of residents.

Hyatt share capital increase

The Hyatt company's Greek subsidiary, which runs the Thessaloniki casino and adjacent hotel, will increase its share capital by 6.4 billion drachmas.

Addressing an extraordinary general assembly of shareholders yesterday, board president Giorgos Galanakis announced that the company will issue three new shares for every old one which will be given free to shareholders.

Mr. Galanakis also referred to the company's economic results. A total turnover of 43.7 billion drachmas and pre-tax profits amounting to 11.3 billion drachmas are expected for the current fiscal year. Compared to figures in 1998, turnover will increase 21.7 per cent and pre-tax profits by 80 per cent.

To the "Daily Bulletin" subscribers

Dear friends, As you are aware, technological developments in the mass media sector are rapid. Today, all the news services are offered online. The "electronic newspaper" supplements, and in many cases replaces, the printed newspaper. Contact via e-mail also affords the ability for direct communication.

These developments, as many others, have also influenced our own work here at Athens News Agency (ANA), which is adapting all its services to the new technology. In the framework of these changes, the "Daily Bulletin" will - as of Jan. 2, 2000 - be converted from a printed to an electronic medium for our subscribers.

With this change, our subscribers will: a) receive our news items online, at the moment the news is breaking. b) receive the next day's "Daily Bulletin" on their screens at midnight, with the ability to print it out if they wish or simply view on screen. c) receive the "Bulletin" either via the paid ANA services on the Internet, or via e-mail sent to a subscriber's e-mail address. d) also have the ability, for a small surcharge, to utilise the ANA's English-language data bank, which contains all the news items appearing in the "Daily Bulletin" since 1992.

We believe that these changes, which correspond with the new function of the international and national news agencies, will satisfy subscribers' needs for immediate and credible information. In order to subscribe to this service, you must have a PC and a modem, or an e-mail address.

All who wish to continue receiving our services must prepare for these changes which, as stated, will commence on Jan. 2, 2000.

Takis Mantis, the director of ANA's informatics and telecommunications department, is at your disposal for any technical information on tel: 64.00.560 and 64.00.038.

I sincerely hope all our subscribers will adapt to these necessary technological changes.

Andreas Christodoulides ANA General Director

WEATHER

Partly cloudy weather with sunny spells will prevail in most parts of Greece today. Scattered showers in western Greece, the islands of the eastern Aegean Sea, the Dodecanese and possibly in the north. Winds southerly, strong to gale force. Mosrtly sunny in Athens with temperatures from 16-19C. Possibility of rain in Thessaloniki 6-18C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          323.035
Pound sterling       522.209
Japanese yen (100)   313.631
French franc          49.933
German mark          167.467
Italian lira (100)    16.916
Irish Punt           415.888
Belgian franc          8.119
Finnish mark          55.088
Dutch guilder        148.630
Danish kr.            44.021
Austrian sch.         23.803
Spanish peseta         1.968
Swedish kr.           38.045
Norwegian kr.         40.335
Swiss franc          204.689
Port. Escudo           1.634
Can. dollar          217.645
Aus. dollar          206.207
Cyprus pound         566.432
Euro                 327.539
(C.E.)
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