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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-07-13

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Prime minister - emergency meeting - fires
  • [02] NBC delegation in Athens
  • [03] Foreign Exchange Rates-Friday
  • [04] Weather Forecast-Friday
  • [05] ASE-listing candidates
  • [06] Greece-merchant marine
  • [07] PriceWaterhouseCoopers-Greece-real estate
  • [08] ASE-close
  • [09] KLT-ASE listing
  • [10] Greece-Euro-Solbes
  • [11] Foreign Exchange Rates-Thursday
  • [12] Weather Forecast-Thursday
  • [13] Alpha Bank-network expansion
  • [14] ASE-prospects-warning
  • [15] EAB - Privatisation - Eurofighter
  • [16] ASE-close
  • [17] Greece-budget surplus
  • [18] Loulis Group-Cyprus expansion
  • [19] Drowning-Statistics
  • [20] Greece-merchant marine
  • [21] Terrorism-Minute of silence
  • [22] Fires-Samos

  • [01] Prime minister - emergency meeting - fires

    13/07/2000 22:46:13

    An emergency government meeting chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Thursday night, attended by senior ministers and the leadership of the army and fire brigade, decided on a series of drastic measures for dealing with the spate of forest fires all around the country.

    After the meeting, which lasted an hour and 15 minutes, Interior Minister Vasso Papandreou said these measures included:

    Putting the armed forces on full alert to free up fire-fighting forces, asking for help from abroad, hiring more fire-fighting aircraft and the emergency hiring of seasonal staff with previous experience in fighting forest fires.

    After an earlier meeting this afternoon, again chaired by Simitis, the prime minister had described the situation in Greece as "particularly dangerous, exceptionally dangerous."

    Interior Minister Papandreou noted that the next few days would be difficult because of the extreme weather conditions. Fire-fighting forces needed reinforcing, she added, since "their constant, superhuman efforts had pushed them beyond their limits and they are now in danger of collapsing from exhaustion".

    The minister said that recruitment of 1500 extra fire-fighters would begin on Friday, and that they would be chosen from the lists of the Supreme Council for Staff Selection (ASEP).

    [02] NBC delegation in Athens

    13/07/2000 20:53:29

    A delegation from the American television network NBC, which has bought the television rights to the Olympic Games for North America, was in Athens on Thursday to visit the sites where the Games would be held.

    Led by the network's president Randy Falco, the delegation will hand over $850 million, or 280 billion drachmas, to the "Athens 2004" Organising Committee via the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

    The NBC executives were welcomed by Organising Committee chairwoman Yianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, who said she hopes for a close and fruitful cooperation over the next four years for the best promotion of the Games, while she also wished NBC the best of luck in Sydney.

    After being shown around the Panathenian Stadium and the Olympic Athletic Centre of Athens (OAKA) facilities, the NBC president said only that he was absolutely satisfied with the overall picture he formed after his meeting with the members of the Organising Committee.

    [03] Foreign Exchange Rates-Friday

    13/07/2000 20:07:09

    Following are indicative foreign exchange rates released by the central bank for the next working day.

    Fridays rates (buying)

    Euro 334.026

    U.S. dollar 356.624

    [04] Weather Forecast-Friday

    13/07/2000 19:18:20

    Sunny weather is forecast throughout the country on Friday, with scattered cloud in the north from late afternoon. Winds northwesterly, moderate to very strong.

    [05] ASE-listing candidates

    13/07/2000 16:39:48

    More than 200 companies are seeking listing on the Athens Stock Exchange, a report by the Union of Institutional Investors said on Thursday.

    The report said that a percentage of 70-80 percent of them were seeking listing on the parallel market for smaller capitalisation stocks while only the remaining 20 percent were seeking listing on the main market.

    Spyros Kouniakis, the Athens Stock Exchange's chairman, recently said that only 50 new companies will be listed on the market by the end of the year.

    The rest are expected to be listed in 2001.

    [06] Greece-merchant marine

    13/07/2000 16:28:49

    A meeting between Merchant Marine Minister, Christos Papoutsis, Union of Greek Shipowners' chairman, Yiannis Lyras and seamen's union secretary G.Halas, on Thursday agreed the agenda of a dialogue to promote Greece's shipping sector's competitiveness.

    The talks' agenda includes: taxation, seamen training, the composition of crews, seamen social security, the restructuring of seamen registry and the operation of a sea-trade job placement office.

    Papoutsis said that the dialogue, begining next Monday, was expected to be completed by the end of September.

    [07] PriceWaterhouseCoopers-Greece-real estate

    13/07/2000 16:19:57

    PriceWaterhouseCooopers, the world's largest business services organisation, on Thursday announced its expansion into Greece's real estate market with the creation of a group of experts on the sector.

    The group will offer integrated solutions both in the private and the public sectors to help in a more efficient use of their real estate assets.

    Services will include the valuation of property, feasibility reports, search and ensuring of funding.

    PriceWaterhouseCoopers operates in 150 countries around the world with a workforce of more than 155,000 employees.

    [08] ASE-close

    13/07/2000 16:02:41

    Equity prices ended Thursday's session narrowly mixed with the Greek market easily absorbing a wave of early share offer which pushed the general index as low as 3,878.61 points, to finally end above the 3,900 support level.

    Traders said the recovery of the market was a result of selective buying in bank shares while smaller capitalisation stocks continued losing ground.

    The general index ended at 3,926.73 points, up 0.16 percent with turnover a low 69 billion drachmas.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for smaller capitalisation stocks rose 0.62 percent to 2,186.82 points, while the FTSE/ASE 40 index fell 0.36 percent to 563.01 points.

    Analysts expect the market to remain rangebound in the new few days awaiting fresh news and incentives to take a clear lead.

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended 1.88 percent lower at 726.25 points.

    [09] KLT-ASE listing

    13/07/2000 14:59:55

    KLT, an integrated cooling and heating systems company, will seek listing on the parallel market for smaller capitalisation stocks of the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The company plans to file a listing application in the next few days.

    Omega Securities will act as a consultant to the listing while National Bank of Greece will be the main underwriter to the deal.

    KLT reported a turnover of around 5 billion drachmas last year and pre-tax profits of 220 million drachmas.

    Turnover is expected to reach 6.5 billion drachmas and profits 650 million drachmas this year.

    The company reported that sales jumped by 43.5 percent in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 1999.

    [10] Greece-Euro-Solbes

    12/07/2000 21:53:02

    BRUSSELS (ANA-B.Demiris) - Greece is ready for introduction of the euro as a day-to-day currency on January 1, 2002 along with the euro zone's other members, EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pedro Solbes said on Wednesday.

    Solbes was replying to a reporter's question at a news conference held in the Belgium capital on the EU's readiness for introduction of the single currency, which has not so far circulated although it is traded and used in paper transactions.

    "Preparations begun in Greece on transfer to the euro are adequate and I am absolutely certain that on January 1, 2002 Greece will be suitably prepared," Solbes said.

    He added that the government had briefed the EU's executive Commission and European Central Bank of the extent of its preparations before a summit of EU leaders in June approved the country's entry into the euro-zone on January 1, 2001, ahead of the euro's circulation.

    Greece's belated entry as the twelfth member of the euro zone had not led to problems of readiness. Conversely, the country was at an advantage for the euro's introduction as it would avoid certain practical difficulties faced by the zone's older members, Solbes added.

    [11] Foreign Exchange Rates-Thursday

    12/07/2000 20:49:30

    Following are indicative foreign exchange rates released by the central bank for the next working day.

    Thursdays rates (buying)

    Euro 334.036

    U.S. dollar 351.991

    German mark 170.790

    [12] Weather Forecast-Thursday

    12/07/2000 20:38:49

    Sunny weather in most parts of the country on Thursday, with cloud in northern Greece turning to rain and storms and then easing off.

    [13] Alpha Bank-network expansion

    12/07/2000 16:56:32

    Alpha Bank announced on Wednesday the launch of seven new branches around the country and said its network would exceed 500 by the end of the year.

    The new branches are located in Karpenissi, Kea island, Malia, Spetses island, Tinos island, Hydra island and Athens and offer all the bank's products and services.

    Following completion of a merger deal with Ionian Bank, Alpha Bank now is the second largest Greek financial institution with an asset share of 20 percent.

    The group also holds a leading position in the domestic mutual funds, leasing and factoring sectors with a market share of 50 percent.

    [14] ASE-prospects-warning

    12/07/2000 16:52:02

    Dimitris Chalikias, a former Bank of Greece's governor, warned on Wednesday that unless measures were taken to restore confidence among small investors on the Athens Stock Exchange, the country's capital markets faced the danger of a capital flight to foreign markets.

    Presenting his new book on "Greece in EMU - Challenges and necessary adjustments", Chalikias said that a gradual fall of the general index in the last few months could risk not only the inflow of foreign capital in the market but also the outflow of domestic capital to foreign markets.

    "Greek banks don't even suspect the changes on the banking system following our participation in EMU," Chalikias said.

    The former central banker said that economic benefits from the country's entry in the eurozone would not be automatic. "They will depend on the country's ability to exploit all advantages and minimise costs related to the fact that EMU participation means loss of basic policy tools," he said.

    Professor Nikos Karamouzis, Eurobank's deputy chief executive, in his speech said that Greek banks faced six big challenges from the introduction of the euro currency: costs, technology, size, quality, network and effective crisis management.

    "The hardest years are yet to come for Greek banks," Karamouzis said.

    [15] EAB - Privatisation - Eurofighter

    12/07/2000 16:21:31

    The government on Wednesday announced that binding offers for a partial privatisation of the state-run defence aviation industry (EAB) would be submitted in early September.

    Following a high-level government meeting in Athens, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou told reporters that a strategic investor with the ability to transfer know-how and hi-tech technology is sought for the Hellenic Aerospace Industry.

    In a related development, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos afterwards commented on the resurgent interest by a French consortium headed by aviation giant Dassault to sell the Hellenic Air Force with its ?Rafale" warplane despite a decision in January by Greece choosing the ?Eurofighter?, built by a four-nation European consortium.

    "At the moment negotiations with the Eurofighters representatives are underway ... so that by next fall the contract is concluded... the Eurofighter affair is closed," the defence minister said.

    [16] ASE-close

    12/07/2000 16:18:52

    Equity prices resumed their downward trend on Wednesday, reversing an early advance, as investors preferred to take short-term profits on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The general index ended at 3,920.57 points, down 0.83 percent, off the day's highs of 3,979.73 and the day's lows of 3,910.41 points. Turnover was a low 60 billion drachmas.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended at 2,173.57 points, off 0.84 percent and FTSE/ASE 40 index fell 1.29 percent to 565.04 points.

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 740.20 points, losing 3.09 percent of its value.

    [17] Greece-budget surplus

    12/07/2000 15:46:54

    Budget revenues rose 12.3 percent in June compared with the same month last year, reflecting higher receipts from income taxes and VAT payments, Greece's finance ministry said on Wednesday.

    The regular budget's revenues rose 12.6 percent in the first half of the year, sharply up from an official target of a 3.5 percent increase, to show a surplus of 451 billion drachmas.

    Income tax revenues increased 16.4 percent in June, VAT revenues were 13 percent higher and revenues from other sources rose 21.6 percent in the month.

    Tax agencies' revenues rose 17.9 percent in June and 17.2 percent in the January-June period. Customs revenues rose 5 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively, while VAT revenues increased by 5.5 percent and 13 percent over the same period.

    [18] Loulis Group-Cyprus expansion

    12/07/2000 14:28:54

    Loulis Group on Wednesday announced the purchase of a 5.0 percent stake in Mitsidis Flour Mills in Cyprus, a company seeking listing on the Cyprus Stock Exchange.

    A company statement said that Mitsidis holds more than 50 percent of the Cypriot market with a turnover of 11 million euros and net profit of 1.2 million euros last year.

    Loulis Group was founded in 1933.

    [19] Drowning-Statistics

    12/07/2000 14:24:02

    A total of 129 people have drowned in Greek beaches since the beginning of the year, most of them over the age of 50, merchant marine minister Christos Papoutsis said Monday.

    Releasing harbour corps statistics, Papoutsis said of the 129 people who had drowned in Greece since the beginning of the year, 27 percent, or 33 people, were under the age of 50, while the overwhelming majority of 73 percent, or 89 people, were aged over 50.

    [20] Greece-merchant marine

    12/07/2000 14:20:33

    Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis will meet with the chairman of the Union of Greek Shipowners, Yiannis Lyras, and representatives of seamen union on Thursday to discuss ways to strengthen the country's shipping sector.

    "I will make it clear that competitiveness is not only the composition of a ship's crew. We have to offer solutions and move fast. Greek shipping needs solutions both in the international shipping and the domestic coastal shipping sectors to remain strong. We need to give equal opportunities to all. The dialogue will not last more than two months and it will be transparent and essential. The Greek flag will be more competitive and strong," Papoutsis said on Wednesday.

    He announced that a Committee of Personalities, chaired by Vassilis Sarantitis, would meet for the first time on Friday.

    "I expect the Committee to submit its proposals on the domestic coastal shipping sector in the next three months," Papoutsis said.

    [21] Terrorism-Minute of silence

    12/07/2000 13:23:47

    Public and government services throughout Greece and parliament observed a minute of silence at noon on Wednesday in memory of the victims of terrorism in Greece.

    At the same time, local television and radio channels broadcast a brief public awareness message condemning terrorism and called on the people to help wipe out such phenomena.

    [22] Fires-Samos

    12/07/2000 13:23:41

    A huge forest fire on the holiday island of Samos has been contained, while only "one small front" on Mt. Karvouni continued to blaze, Fire Brigade chief Panayotis Fourlas said Wednesday. The fire chief said back-up firefighters and army units were continuing to arrive on Samos to help patrol the fire-devastated areas so as to be in a position to immediately extinguish new flare-ups due to the weather conditions.

    Patrols were also to continue of all the extinguished fires throughout the country to prevent rekindling caused by rising temperatures and high winds that have been forecast for the next few days, according to a Ministerial Coordinating Committee on the fires.

    Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Dutch Embassy in Athens denied that a "travel directive" had been issued by the Dutch government for tourists, calling on them to hasten their departure from Samos.


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