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Athens News Agency: News in English, 01-01-31
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Greece-Albania-Economic cooperation31/01/2001 20:30:34
TIRANA (ANA I. Patso) - The Greek plan for the reconstruction of the Balkans will be first implemented in Albania and the funds allocated to that country will total 50 million euro, to be spent over the next five years, Greek National Economy Deputy Minister Yiannis Zapheiropoulos said on Wednesday.
Zapheiropoulos is on a visit in Albania to participate in the 8th conference of the joint ministerial committee on the economic, industrial and technical cooperation between the two countries that concluded on Wednesday.
The implementation will begin with Albania as it is the only country of the region to have submitted complete plans. ?These plans are the result of frequent contacts and bilateral cooperation of the two governments,? Zapheiropoulos said.
Greece and Albania concluded this round of contacts with the signing of a joint cooperation protocol on the economic and industrial sector.
 Athens Bourse-Outlook31/01/2001 20:19:44
The outlook for the ailing Athens Stock Exchange is robust with institutional investors from abroad showing interest in selected, quality stocks that are currently underpriced, Ion Steriotis, president of the Association of Athens Bourse Listed Companies, said on Wednesday.
The investment houses abroad had already begun to advise their customers to buy into the paper, Steriotis told a news conference.
He said that the Athens general share index could come close to 5,000 points in two months from around 3,000 points at present, if bourse authorities took the right measures for the market and completed their planned reorganisation.
 Spata Airport-Opening31/01/2001 19:31:45
A new international airport being built for Athens is still set to open in March, despite minor setbacks that will be resolved, government, airport and civil aviation officials said after a meeting on Wednesday.
Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis declined to confirm a rumoured opening date of March 28 in reply to a reporter's question, saying that the airport would open, as announced, in March.
Laliotis and Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis are due to meet again in coming days, when an official starting date is due to be announced.
 Secondary Bond Market-Close31/01/2001 19:22:30
Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Wednesday finished slightly higher in moderate trade with interest again focusing on 15-year paper, dealers said.
The new Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.36 percent from 5.39 percent a day earlier.
The yield spread over German bunds was 56 basis points from 58 basis points in the session before.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 760 million euros (around 180.5 billion drachmas) from 530 million euros (about 180.5 billion drachmas) in the trading day before.
Buy orders accounted for around 65 percent of turnover.
 Taxis-Fares-Increase31/01/2001 19:05:04
Taxi fares will increase on Thursday with the base tariff increasing to 80 drachmas per kilometre from 76, while the starting charge remains 250 drachmas. The double tariff at night remains 150 drachmas since it increased on January 1 this year.
People coming from ports, bus and train stations will pay an additional 200 drachmas instead of 150 and people going to or coming from an airport will pay an additional 400 drachmas instead of 300.
Each piece of luggage carried in a taxi will cost 100 drachmas instead of 50, the minimum fare remains 500 drachmas and the double night fare applies from midnight until 5 a.m.
Fares on inter-city buses will also increase 5 percent as of Thursday.
 Kyriakidis Marble-Expansion31/01/2001 18:58:16
Shareholders of FHL Kyriakidis Marble & Granite on Wednesday approved a management plan for an expansion in the range of products distributed by the Thessaloniki-based company.
Kyriakidis plans to launch sales of non-durable machine parts and marble quarrying and processing equipment, it said in a statement.
It will also sell the goods to its subsidiary in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mermeren Kombinat.
In 2000, the Greek firm's profits totalled 700 million drachmas on turnover of 5.0 billion drachmas, the statement said.
 Investment Firms-Assets31/01/2001 18:41:22
The country's 17 portfolio investment firms showed a decline in their net asset value to 852.6 billion drachmas on January 26, 2001 from 961.9 billion drachmas on December 29, 2000, the Union of Institutional Investors said on Wednesday.
The index for portfolio investment firms showed a drop of 7.7 percent between December 29,2000 to January 26, 2001, against a fall of 9.4 percent on the Athens Stock Exchange's general share index, the union said in a statement.
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Thursday31/01/2001 18:16:56
Thursday's buying rates
U.S. dollar 363.738
German mark 172.829
French franc 051.531
Pound sterling 530.903
Irish punt 429.202
Belgian franc 008.379
Luxembourg franc 008.379
Dutch guilder 153.389
Italian lira (100) 017.457
Austrian schilling 024.565
Danish kroner 045.304
Swedish kroner 038.240
Finnish mark 056.852
Spanish peseta 002.032
Portuguese escudo 001.686
Japanese yen (100) 313.362
Swiss franc 220.907
Norwegian kroner 041.197
Cyprus pound 584.036
Canadian dollar 242.233
Australian dollar 198.445
 CoE photo exhibition - Greece - Holocaust31/01/2001 18:07:02
STRASBOURG (ANA) A unique photo exhibition entitled ?Holocaust of the Greek Jews The Persecuted and Saviours? will premiere here next month at the 'Palais de l' Europe'.
The prolific exhibition organised by the press ministry in cooperation with the Jewish Museum of Greece will be presented in Strasbourg from Feb. 12-26 by the press office of Greeces Permanent Representation to the CoE, before traveling to other cities in Europe and North America.
The exhibition, comprised of 170 WWII-era photographs, is divided into 18 themes, with accompanying texts and captions in French and English, projected slides and modern artwork.
 Hellenic Securities-Corfu31/01/2001 17:48:30
Hellenic Securities, a subsidiary of Marfin investment services, said on Wednesday that it had forged an agreement to wholly acquire a local Corfu stockbroking agent.
Koskinas, the target of the friendly takeover, will become a branch of Hellenic Securities on completion of the share transfer and approval from regulatory authorities, the buyer said in a statement.
The acquisition marks the start of an expansion plan by Hellenic Securities, the statement added.
 Weather Forecast-Thursday31/01/2001 17:16:54
Unsettled weather is forecast throughout the country on Thursday with cloud, rain and storms. Snow is expected on high ground in the north, shifting to low ground later in the day. Winds southwesterly, light to strong. In the north, temperatures will range from 4C to 10C; on the rest of the mainland from 8C to 16C; and in the Aegean from 1C to 19C. Unsettled in Athens with temperatures between 10C and 16C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 6C to 10C.
 Alpha Trust-Asset Manager Fund-results31/01/2001 17:04:53
Alpha Trust-Asset Manager Fund's board on Wednesday will seek approval by a general shareholders' meeting on a proposal to distribute 38 percent of its 2000 profits to its shareholders.
The investment company's board said last year's profits totalled 1.377 billion drachmas and planned to distribute 525 million drachmas back to its shareholders, or 100 drachmas per share.
Alpha Trust's internal share value totalled 1,464 drachmas on December 31, 2000, and its market share value 1,510 drachmas.
The company's assets was invested by 64 percent in equity and 36 percent in money. Its equity portfolio included 85 percent in foreign stock shares (55 percent of assets) and 15 percent in domestic shares (9.0 percent of assets).
 ECB-foreign exchange31/01/2001 16:55:06
The European Central Bank set its euro/dollar reference rate at 92.93 cents on Wednesday, up from 91.63 cents the previous day, pushing the US dollar/drachma rate to 366.67 drachmas.
The ECB also set the euro/yen rate at 107.87 yen (3.15 drachmas), the euro/sterling at 63.67 pence (535.18 drachmas), the euro/Swiss franc at 1.5302 (222.68) and the euro/Cyprus pound rate at 57.87.
 Commercial Bank-institutional investors31/01/2001 16:45:13
Commercial Bank will focus its activities in sectors where it has a singificant comparative advantage against its competitors in the Greek banking market, such as mortgage and small- and medium-sized enterprises, its chairman Yiannis Stournaras told an Institutional Investors Union presentation on Wednesday.
Presenting the bank's strategy plan, Stournaras said the bank would obtain presence into new sectors with high growth and profitability, either through its strategic partner, French bank Credit Agricole, (bankassurance, asset management, investment banking), or on its own and with other partners.
Stournaras said the bank would also focus on actions to enhance and restructure companies in the group, aiming to integrate similar activities and promote combined sales.
Commercial Bank will also seek expansion in selected foreign markets.
Stournaras said the bank's profits are expected to rise by 28 percent last year to 115 billion drachmas, paving the way for higher divident payment to shareholders.
Commercial Bank's equity capital totalled 645 billion drachmas in 2000, while return on asset and equity capital rose to 2.3 percent and 19.0 percent, respectively.
 ASE-investor services31/01/2001 16:24:08
The Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday launched an investor services centre aiming to better inform investors over the market's operations and to promote a stock market culture in the country.
Investors will be offered information covering the market's institutional and regulation framework, securities' transactions, brokerage firms and listed companies' obligations towards the public and the work of a Capital Markets' Committee.
The call centre will operate on a daily basis, including the weekends, from 900 pm to 2100 am.
Investors can seek information by telephone, fax, mail or e-mail.
 ASE-close31/01/2001 16:15:07
Equity prices jumped 3.98 percent higher on Wednesday reflecting a substantial rise in turnover and the reappearance of domestic institutional investors in the market.
Traders said a rise in turnover above 60 billion drachmas was evidence of an improving climate in the market in the last two sessions and noted that gains were evenly spread among market sectors.
The general index ended 3.98 percent higher at 3,264.76 points, with turnover at 188.51 million euros, or 64.236 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 3.93 percent up at 1,905.15 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index jumped 3.55 percent to 341.50 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 260.88 points, up 1.38 percent.
 Greece - India - PM's visit31/01/2001 15:56:05
Indias ambassador to Athens on Tuesday briefed reporters on the biblical destruction in his countrys Gujarat state following a massive earthquake that struck Indias southwestern corner on Friday, and in light of a five-day visit to Delhi by Greeces premier next week.
According to Ambassador Gurdip Singh Bedi, postponement of a planned visit by Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and a high-level delegation of ministers and entrepreneurs was considered and rejected, ?the business of government must continue?, he stressed.
He also thanked the Greek government, opposition parties and local citizens for their solidarity to Gujarats quake stricken, citing the dispatch of two plane-loads of humanitarian aid, worth 300 million drachmas, and a commitment for another 100 million in aid (?1 equal 340.75 drachmas).
 PM - plans for Ellinikon airport - park31/01/2001 15:49:53
The old Athens airport at Ellinikon is to be turned into a park when the new international airport at Spata goes into operation, Prime Minister Costas Simitis confirmed on Wednesday after a government meeting attended by all the ministers involved.
"We have decided that there will be a Metropolitan greenspace there. It will be a big park. The largest in Europe, I believe," the prime minister said.
The 480 hectares of open space that will be freed up when the old airport is scrapped, combined with improvements to the sea front from Piraeus to Vouliagmeni, will transform the present aspect of Greece's capital, Simitis added.
He clarified that certain areas would be set aside for specific Olympic sports facilities until 2004 and during the Olympic Games in Athens, but that these would be temporary and would not interfere with the park's recreational uses.
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