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Athens News Agency: News in English, 01-01-25
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 2004 preparations - Daskalaki - ATHOC - Security25/01/2001 18:57:22
The high-profile head of Athens 2004 Olympics organising committee on Thursday reiterated that she remains satisfied with the Greek governments commitment to finish a handful of Olympic venues the so-called ?orphan projects? on time and according to specifications.
?Were pressuring and we will continue to pressure. Additionally, weve recently set up an in-house monitoring system to provide us with weekly reports on the (projects) progress,? organising committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said during a luncheon in downtown Athens.
Angelopoulos-Daskalakis statements come less than three weeks before a top International Olympic Committee (IOC) returns to Greece to survey organisers progress.
IOC executives expressed satisfaction in Athens early last month over stepped-up completion dates for several 2004 projects and preparations, nearly seven months after IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch issued an unprecedented and direct warning towards 2004 organisers to get things moving -- sharp criticism that caused a leadership reshuffle at ATHOC.
The all-important issue of security for the 2004 Games was also raised at the luncheon, in light of a bomb attack against a main opposition Parliament deputy four days earlier, an incident that again highlighted the frustration of being unable to catch a handful of urban terrorists over a 25-year span in a country that still sports one of the lowest crime rates in Europe.
 Piraeus Bank-ASE25/01/2001 17:00:52
Mihalis Sallas, Piraeus Bank's chairman, said he saw better days ahead of the Athens bourse and Greek banks following the country's entry in the eurozone.
"The Athens bourse does not reflect the positive situation in the Greek economy. We will enter a new better course, as a member of the eurozone," Sallas said presenting the bank's results for 2000.
He predicted that Greek banks would have a better year in 2001 following a period of restructuring, mergers and takeovers in the previous two years.
Sallas said the domestic banking system was unfairly hit in 2000 by a series of "analysis and talk" over lower profitability.
Sallas said that Greek interest rates were fully competitive with European rates.
 Weather Forecast-Friday25/01/2001 16:51:35
Cloud is forecast throughout the country on Friday, turning to showers in the west, centre and north. Winds variable, light to strong, with gale force winds in parts of the Ionian. In the north, temperatures will range from 1C to 9C; in the Ionian and on the rest of the mainland from 7C to 15C; and in the Aegean from 9C to 17C. Cloud over Athens with temperatures between 8C and 15C. Showers in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 5C to 9C.
 ECB-foreign exchange25/01/2001 16:42:23
The European Central Bank on Thursday set its reference foreign exchange rate for the euro/dollar rate at 91.46 cents, down from 92.94 cents the previous day, pushing the US dollar/drachma rate to 372.56 drachmas.
The ECB also set the euro/yen rate at 107.15 yen (3.18 drachmas), the euro/sterling at 63.04 pence (540.52 drachmas), the euro/Swiss franc rate at 1.5247 (223.48 drachmas) and the euro/Cyprus pound rate at 0.5780 (589.53 drachmas).
 Helexpo SA-results25/01/2001 16:34:46
Helexpo SA on Thursday reported pre-tax profits of 1.0 billion drachmas and turnover of 5.0 billion drachmas in the period June 1999-December 2000.
Helexpo's chief executive officer, Chrysostomos Geroukis, presenting the company's results said that its turnover would exceed 7.0 billion drachmas and its pre-tax profits 1.5 billion drachmas in 2001.
Geroukis said Helexpo plans to expand its range of exhibitions with the organisation of "Metallon", a metals trade fair, at the Athens Exhibition Centre, May 9-13, and trade fairs on security systems, pharmaceuticals, special equipment for disabled people, and wine.
Helexpo will organise 16 exhibitions this year from 13 in 2000.
Geroukis said he expected a private investor who would buy a 30 percent equity stake in Helexpo, taking over the company's management as well, would maintain and expand even more Helexpo's exhibition programme.
A deadline to submit technical bids in the tender was extended until February 12.
 Greece-Christmas sales25/01/2001 16:11:08
The Christmas retail sales were lower than expected and significantly lower from the same period in 1999, a survey by the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce revealed on Thursday.
The survey said that even in cases where businesses reported a higher turnover in the Christmas season, the increase was small.
The majority of retail businesses said that Christmas sales were lower or stable compared with the previous year, with the clothing sector particularly hit.
The survey focused on clothing, footwear, gifts, small electrical appliances and other categories traditionally with increase activity in the Christmas season.
 Grigoris Snacks-shareholders' meeting25/01/2001 16:01:59
A Grigoris Snacks general shareholders' meeting on Thursday decided to cancel a share capital increase and a share split plan because of a negative climate on the stock market.
The company, however, is rapidly implementing its investment programme envisaging the opening of 42 new shops in 2001 raising its total network to 142.
Grigoris Snacks will open two shops in a new international airport at Spata from March 2001, with an expected turnover of 700 million drachmas this year.
The company expects its next sales to total 4.6 billion drachmas and its net pre-tax profits at 720 million drachmas in 2000.
 ASE-close25/01/2001 15:45:01
Equity prices ended Thursday's turbulent session higher on the Athens Stock Exchange helped by a wave of late selective buying in construction shares.
The market came under pressure initially, hit by selling activity from investors who "see" the market below the 3,000 support level, but recovered spectacularily later on strong buying in smaller- and medium-capitalisation stocks.
Traders said there was a war going on in the market between those pushing the index below the 3,000 level and those who wish to end the market's plunge at this level.
The general index ended 1.16 percent higher at 3,068.16 points, after falling by 1.43 percent to 2,989.58 points in early trade. Turnover was a low 146.08 million euros, or 49.777 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.74 percent higher at 1,798.51 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index jumped 2.23 percent to 319.37 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended 4.0 percent higher at 250.35 points.
 Piraeus Bank-2000 results25/01/2001 15:31:17
Piraeus Bank Group on Thursday announced improved figures for the year 2000 and said it expected its net profits to rise by 20 percent.
The bank's assets totalled 3.7 trillion drachmas (10.9 billion euros), up from 2.5 trillion (7.3 billion euros) in the previous year, for an increase of 48 percent compared with the figures from the three banks (Piraeus-Macedonia Thrace-Xiosbank) before their merger last year.
Pre-provision loans totalled 1.5 trillion drachmas (4.4 billion euros), up from 978 billion (2.9 billion) in 1999, an increase of 53 percent.
Deposits and repos totalled 2.7 trillion drachmas (7.9 billion euros), up 42 percent.
Piraeus Bank saw its domestic market share rising to 7.5 percent, based on preliminary estimates, and plans to raise its share to 8.5-9.0 percent this year.
Piraeus Bank's network totals 183 branches in Greece and abroad. The bank launched 26 new branches in Greece and one in Frankfurt in 2000.
The group also launched Winbank, the first electronic banking platform in Greece, with currently 15,000 customers.
Piraeus Bank is expected to complete a merger deal between Sigma Securities and Xios Securities in the next few weeks, creating the biggest securities firm in Greece.
 Silver & Baryte-German acquisition25/01/2001 15:05:52
Silver & Baryte, a listed Greek mining group, on Thursday announced the purchase of a remaining 25.1 percent equity stake in IKO-Erbsloeh Industriemineralien und Kohlenstoffe GmbH for 28.1 million DMarks, raising its stake to 100 percent.
The Greek company had acquired a 74.9 percent stake in the company in March 2000 through its German subsidiary S&B Minerals Beteiligungs GmbH.
IKO-Erbsloeh has five factories in Germany and two in France and specialises in the supply of betonite, coal and other materials to western and central Europe's foundries, servicing the German and French auto industry.
The German company reported consolidated sales of 138 million marks and pre-tax profits of 7.4 million marks last year.
Silver & Baryte said the purchase would help in the creation of a supply network, from the mine to the industry, without the use of any intermediaries, offering the Greek company a big comparative advantage in the European market.
 Aspis Bank-CEO resignation25/01/2001 14:55:02
Aspis Bank on Thursday announced the resignation of its chief executive officer, Stathis Papageorgiou, also chairman of the board, and his replacement by Costas Karatzas.
In his letter of resignation, Papageorgiou said "the wider developments in the European and domestic area make it necessary the bank's adjustment to a course where housing credit will be one its offered services".
Aspis Bank's network totals 27 branches. The bank has doubled its total network in the last two years as part of a strategy to dynamically expand in retail banking.
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