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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-11-18

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] Greece says Ocalan an issue for all of Europe
  • [02] Mostly peaceful commemorations for Polytechnic anniversary held
  • [03] Chorus of support rises for PKK leader
  • [04] Tsohatzopoulos says text on WEU's strengthening ratified
  • [05] Kranidiotis talks in Cuba
  • [06] EU figures on average Greek citizen's profile
  • [07] Greek army chief in Washington
  • [08] Classics prof: Ancient Greeks were environmentalists
  • [09] OECD draft report cites progress in Greek economy
  • [10] Administrative cost of Greek taxation double the OECD average
  • [11] Sanyo Hellas share capital
  • [12] Bond yields fall in auction
  • [13] Bourse ends slightly lower
  • [14] Serb bankers express satisfaction over meeting with business council
  • [15] Delta sales, profits increase in '98
  • [16] Astir group increases mixed profits
  • [17] OA embroiled in Australian court battle
  • [18] Katselis increases pre-tax profits
  • [19] Athens Foreign Exchange

  • [01] Greece says Ocalan an issue for all of Europe

    ROME 18/11/1998 (Reuters/ANA - S. Aravopoulou)

    Greece threw a lifeline to Italy yesterday, urging members of the European Union to acknowledge that the crisis over Kurdish leader Abdallah Ocalan was really a problem for all of Europe and must be tackled.

    Greek Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said Mr. Ocalan could have turned up in any of the 15 EU member-states, provoking the same standoff between allied countries that now confronts Rome and Ankara.

    The fact that he flew to Italy seeking political asylum should not be a pretext for Europe to turn its back and let Italy go it alone in a crisis of unpredictable dimensions, he said.

    The Italian and Turkish prime ministers have clashed verbally over Turkey's demands for the extradition of Mr. Ocalan to stand trial on terrorism charges, which carry the death penalty, and over Italy's warning that constitutionally it cannot do so.

    "It really is not an Italian problem or a question of Italian-Turkish relations. It is a European problem," Mr. Papandreou told Reuters in an interview during a meeting of European foreign and defence ministers in Rome.

    "It is our problem. It fell in our lap, not an Italian lap, a European lap, so we really have to deal with it."

    Many European countries are home to thousands of Kurdish refugees from Turkey.

    "We should also look at this (crisis) as an opportunity in our relations with Turkey," the Greek minister said.

    "If we are to act responsibly as the European Union, we do need to take this issue up and see if we can find ways with the Turkish government, to deal with this in a more appropriate manner according to our common values and common positions."

    EU-member Greece says it does not oppose Turkey's eventual membership bid in principle but insists that it cannot bully its way into the union on terms of its own choosing.

    All EU member states insist Turkey must radically improve its record on human and minority rights, on the rule of law and democratic institutions, and resolve its territorial disputes with Greece in the Aegean.

    Greece has resisted initiatives by its 14 partners to take the rancour out of a debate that led to a freeze in Turkish-EU relations earlier this year.

    "What we need to do is for both sides, Turkey and the EU, to say this (Kurdish minority) issue exists. We can't hide from it or solve it through mutual name-calling and recriminations," Mr. Papandreou said.

    It should be a constructive process "aimed at helping Turkey to adopt the necessary institutions and practices and legal frameworks which can allow for democratic resolution of the problems", he added.

    Today it was the Kurds. Tomorrow the problem might by with Turkey's Islamic parties or another minority or its journalists.

    "So, whether this was the right or the wrong timing, it's here. It's here to stay and so I think now is the time that we must make a concerted effort to really open up this dialogue with Turkey and I would expect this is something Turkey should do also - to say: 'Well, let's sit down and let's discuss this'."

    Mr. Papanderou agreed that the first reaction by Italy's EU partners to the Ocalan case was: "Thank God it wasn't us!"

    "However, I think the second, cool-headed thought from colleagues was that this is a problem we can't let Italy stand alone with," he added.

    "We must, in solidarity with Italy but also in solidarity with Turkey's European perspective, try to see how we can deal with this problem in a constructive way. And I would call on all and particularly on Turkey to see it in this light, not to make this an issue for polarisation."

    German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, whose country hosts thousands of Kurds and which has banned Ocalan's Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) said the crisis could be an opportunity to open up the whole question of Kurdish minority rights.

    Mr. Fischer said he had expressed this view to Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem on Monday in bilateral talks.

    WEU meeting in Rome : Speaking to reporters after attending a Western European Union (WEU) meeting here, Mr. Papandreou said the Ocalan issue had not been officially raised at the meeting.

    He added, however, that "all are familiar with the Kurdish problem", given that the EU has taken a position on the issue, linking it with democratic institutions in Turkey.

    Replying to other questions, Mr. Papandreou said although the issue formally concerned Italy and justice, "in essence it is an issue which concerns Europe and all of us, and it is a political issue of great dimensions to which we can no longer close our eyes."

    Tsohatzopoulos : Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday expressed the hope that the request for political asylum by Mr. Ocalan in Italy would open the way to a political solution of the Kurdish problem.

    Speaking in Rome, where he participated in a meeting of the defence ministers of the WEU, he described as "impossible" a military solution for the problem and condemned terrorist violence, whether it originates by individuals, organised groups or the state.

    The latest developments signal the definitive end to the military and terrorist conflict with Turkey and the beginning of an effort by the Kurdish people at a purely political level for self-determination and self- government in southeastern Turkey, he said.

    He also denied knowledge of a claim by Mr. Ocalan's diplomatic adviser in the Italian newspaper "La Repubblica" that Greece had refused to grant him asylum.

    "I know of no such thing and it seems to me inconceivable," he said.

    He added that the issue the PKK's leader demanded extradition to Turkey or Germany is of the exclusive competence of Italian justice.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Mostly peaceful commemorations for Polytechnic anniversary held

    Athens 18/11/1998 (ANA)

    Minor skirmishes between police and self-styled anarchists took place near Omonoia Square in central Athens yesterday afternoon, during the annual march to the US embassy, marking the 1973 students' uprising at the Athens Polytechnic against the military junta then ruling Greece.

    The event has in the past been blemished by serious riots and vandalism. Aversion of similar incidents this year is considered largely due to the effective presence of numerous students' groups and workers, as well as draconian security measures around the Polytechnic and other public buildings.

    Four thousand police officers were on duty for the march, along with three public prosecutors. The police had orders to act only if violence broke out.

    For security reasons, most of the police officers on duty remained in place long after the march was over.

    The march began at 4 p.m. with the gates to the grounds of the Polytechnic closing earlier, to prevent any incidents of vandalism later in the evening. On the grounds were students charged with guarding buildings, while police were stationed outside ent rances to prevent any unauthorised entry. At about 5 p.m., police swept through surrounding streets and cleared the area.

    The anarchist youths threw bottles, planks of wood, stones and other objects as well as two firebombs. There were no injuries and riot police were reported to have enclosed the group. Police said they had detained around 100 people when a fight broke ou t between anarchists and leftists on Stadiou Street.

    Four people were arrested for throwing stones and planks at police, as tear gas was used to break up the fight. Two people were taken to hospital for treatment of injuries.

    Political parties : Prime Minister Costas Simitis and other political figures were jeered and jostled on Monday as they arrived at the Athens Polytechnic to lay wreaths.

    Groups of students threw plastic bottles, eggs and bitter oranges at the premier's entourage and shouted slogans against the government's education policy.

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis laid a wreath at the Polytechnic monument yesterday morning, saying that the assembly honoured the ideals of the young people who stood up against the dictatorhsip for freedom, democracy and peace.

    A wreath was also laid by a representative of President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    Parliament honoured the anniversary in a special session later in the evening.

    Mr. Kaklamanis pointed out the responsibilities of Washington - which he said, at the very least, acquiesced to the dictatorial regime - stressing that it does not ensure implementation of its own decisions, and that Greece subsequetly paid a heavy price with the division of Cyprus.

    Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis said the sacrifice of November 17 is not a historical record for the archives but a living reality that obliged those in the present to stand in faith with the principles of that generation.

    Main opposition New Democracy deputy Anna Psarouda-Benaki called for the message of the Polytechnic for unanimity to be made practice.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Chorus of support rises for PKK leader

    Athens 18/11/1998 (ANA)

    Ten ruling PASOK deputies yesterday tabled in Parliament a request for discussion of the Kurdish problem, while they also issued a statement requesting the joint initiative of European governments to grant hospitality to Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan.

    The statement stressed that "the Greek government, even now...should by joint initiative with the Italian government, as well as the other governments of European countries (Sweden, Austria) to state that Europe grants hospitality to the leader of the Kurdish movement Abdullah Ocalan."

    The announcement added that Europe "should accept" Mr. Ocalan and "should reaffirm the priciples and values which comprised the foundations of their democracies."

    In addition, 20 prominent figures from the world of arts and letters, science and politics also announced the formation of a committee to support the asylum request of Mr. Ocalan, who is currently being detained in Rome

    Members of the committee said they believed Mr. Ocalan's request was "morally, politically and legally just and well-founded", while his extradition to Turkey "should unreservedly be viewed as complicity in the humiliation and eventual death of the lead er of a movement who is struggling for the right to live, dignity, human rights and individual liberties of his people which are being blatantly violated in Turkey".

    About 29,000 people have been killed in the long-running fight for self- rule between Kurds and Turkish security forces in the southeast of Turkey.

    On Saturday, Greece renewed its criticism of Turkey for its military operations against Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq, and reiterated its support for the self-deter-mination of the Kurds.

    "We have repeatedly and in great detail raised, at international fora, the problem posed by the crude violation of human rights in southeastern Turkey, as well as the problem created by Turkey's military operations in northern Iraq," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters.

    "It is clear that Greece does not support violence as a means of resolving political differences, and neither encourages nor covers armed activities against other countries...We respect international tre-aties and legality. This position is the axis and the foundation of our policy," he added.

    Hunger strike by Kurds : In Hania, 34 out of 270 Kurdish refugees rescued off the coast of Crete late last month said they had begun a hunger strike to support the campaign to extend asylum to Mr. Ocalan, saying the Kurdish leader could not be turned over to Turkey "like a lamb t o slaughter".

    "What we want is for political asylum to be given to our leader," one of the strikers said.

    The 270 Iraqi Kurds, including 130 children, have been staying at the Xenia hotel in Paleochora, Hania, since the Greek coastguard discovered the group crammed into the hold of Lebanese boat "Santa Maria" as it was sailing off the south-west coast of Crete.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Tsohatzopoulos says text on WEU's strengthening ratified

    ROME 18/11/1998 (ANA - S. Aravopoulou)

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said that a text has been ratified after decisions taken in Rhodes, where the need is confirmed for the substantive strengthening of the WEU.

    He spoke at a conference at the end of yesterday's Western European Union (WEU) session here.

    The Greek minister said the WEU's strengthening is achieved first by a basic institution for security and peace in the European Union had been included. Secondly, as an independent security and defence policy for the EU and, thirdly, as a role for effective cooperation with the NATO alliance.

    "We are before two main events. On the one hand, ratification by EU Parliaments with the Amsterdam Treaty and, on the other hand, the NATO summit which will be held in Washington in April," he said.

    He said that with the Amsterdam Treaty, and despite the fact that no conclusion was reached on promoting a common EU defence policy, the WEU was proclaimed the basic institution which will contribute towards shaping a security policy for the EU and will guarantee the EU the capability of the effective implementation of collective security the EU has.

    "This option was confirmed today in the framework of the WEU session with specific decisions leading to the strengthening and response of the WEU's operational and military capacity to undertake the carrying out of humanitarian missions, or of the Peter sbrack type, as has already been decided and the WEU to participate substantively in the implementation of the European security and defence identity as the EU's arm in the functioning of NATO," he said.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that with these developments the WEU's military structure, the functioning of the special staff, the shaping of mobilisation plans and practical implementations, and in conjunction with exercises anticipated by Rhodes, such as the one which will take place next November and the past decision for the preparation of a joint exercise between the WEU and NATO in the year 2000 the WEU's character is confirmed as the EU's organisation for security and operational and military capacity.

    He said that he could say for the first time that the correct path is being followed. Although different views exist a conception of collective defence, and not only security, for the EU will mature in the next 2-3 years.

    "Whoever speaks of security cannot ignore the defence industry since armaments are necessary. The EU went ahead at Monday's session of defence ministers, in the framework of the WEAR organisation, with a decision for the creation of a European Armaments

    Service. It is an important step whose implementation will be promoted with one decision at the finalised decision today with the purpose of promoting, on the basis of a specific plan, possibilities of cooperation between European countries in the framework of defence armaments, coordination of defence industries and procurements and programming procedures," he said.

    "It would be inconceivable for Europe, after the common currency, not to also say 'yes' to common defence at a time when the euro will be competing with the dollar, it would be inconceivable to leave its defence to its competitor," he added.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Kranidiotis talks in Cuba

    Athens 18/11/1998 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis held talks with his Cuban counterpart Isabelle Alliende yesterday regarding Havana's role in Latin American and Caribbean regional integration, as well as Cuba's progress in human rights issues and efforts to combat drug trafficking.

    During talks, Ms Alliende was briefed by Mr. Kranidiotis on Greek-Turkish relations, the Cyprus problem and developments in the Balkans.

    At a bilateral level, the two sides ascertained very friendly relations, as reflected by the two countries' cooperation in international organisations.

    Mr. Kranidiotis told Ms Alliende that Greece intended to support Cuba's participation in the European Union - Latin America - Caribbean summit meeting scheduled for June 1999 in Rio de Janeiro.

    Growing cooperation between Greece and Cuba includes a recent decision by Athens to grant development aid to Havana in the form of credit facilities totalling US$10 million, aimed primarily at promoting Greek exports to Cuba.

    Mr. Kranidiotis and Ms Alliende discussed bilateral economic and commercial ties against the background of an air transport agreement which paves the way for a direct air link between the two countries.

    A shipping agreement is also scheduled which will contain an article on the avoidance of double taxation from shipping profits.

    The accord is particularly important to Athens, given that 85 per cent of total trade with Cuba is realised by vessels belonging to Greek interests.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] EU figures on average Greek citizen's profile

    BRUSSELS 18/11/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Compared to the average European,Greeks smoke more but are plagued by cancer less; most Greeks are homeowners but live in crowded conditions and show less preference for part-time employment, while they increasingly send their children to universities.

    This was the social profile of the average Greek based on a survey on economic and social trends throughout EU member-states, presented yesterday by the European Commission in Brussels.

    The survey revealed that although two out of three Europeans generally stated that they "feel well", official data reflected that one in three men and one in four women were attacked by cancer before they reached 75.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Greek army chief in Washington

    WASHINGTON 18/11/1998 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    Hellenic army chief Lt-Gen. Manousos Paragioudakis is on a visit here through the end of this week, returning an official visit by his US counterpart, Gen. Reimer, who was in Athens last January.

    The two military leaders are scheduled to meet at the US Pentagon today to discuss prospects for the purchase of US-made weapons systems by Greek forces.

    Lt-Gen. Paragioudakis yesterday had a brief meeting with the US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Henry Shelton, focusing mainly on developments in the Balkans.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Classics prof: Ancient Greeks were environmentalists

    Athens 18/11/1998 (ANA)

    Ancient Greeks differed markedly from their descendants in one very contemporary area, a leading Greek academic said yesterday, namely, they cared for the environment.

    "I searched the ancient world for elements related to ecology and an initial conclusion is that the ancient world cared about nature - there was a clear ecological tendency in ancient religion," Ioannina University emeritus classics professor Fanis Kakridis told a conference on "Ecology and education in the Mediterranean".

    Ancient religion had gods which represented elements of nature as well as a protected physical region around each temple, the 'temenos', in which hunting and any form of intervention in the environment was banned.

    Prof. Kakridis said the ancients' 'temenos' was the present-day national forests and reserves.

    "But today while we infringe the rules in these areas, in ancient times the rules stood because the wrath of the gods would come down on those who exploited or destroyed their temenos," he said.

    The conference, organised by the Crete Orthodox Academy and under the aegis of the ministry for education and religious affairs, ends on Sunday.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] OECD draft report cites progress in Greek economy

    Athens 18/11/1998 (ANA)

    The Greek economy has made progress toward Maastricht Treaty criteria regarding Economic Monetary Union (EMU) accession, according to a draft report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

    The report, which was released yesterday, also noted the need for tighter fiscal policies in order to force inflation down to the levels prescribed by the Maastricht Treaty.

    The draft report stated that annualised inflation is expected to decrease to 3.1 per cent by the end of 1999. If the government follows an even more austere fiscal policy the country will meet Maastricht criteria by mid 2000.

    According to the report, the decrease in a special vehicle tax and Value Added Tax (VAT) on power bills will reinforce the decline of inflation. The report added that structural changes planned by the government are expected to contribute to inflation's drop.

    OECD also reported that Greece's GDP growth rate is higher than the average of OECD member-states, but it will be lower than forecast by the government.

    Specifically, the report expects a GDP growth rate of between 3 to 3.5 per cent, adding that this development is due to an international decrease in growth rates, which in turn will affect Greek exports.

    The report stated that Greece's budget deficit in the broader public sector will be slightly higher than the 2.5 per cent forecast by the government for 1999, mostly due to higher interest rates than projected.

    Furthermore, the report said that while the budget deficit decreased to levels under 3 per cent for 1998, it was achieved through the transfer of expenses, which are in accordance with Eurostat methodology.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Administrative cost of Greek taxation double the OECD average

    Athens 18/11/1998 (ANA)

    The administrative cost of taxation in Greece, the cost on the state budget imposed by the operational spending of tax agencies, is up to two times greater than other OECD countries, a report published yesterday said. The report, by the Centre of P rogramming and Economic Research (KEPE), revealed that the Greek tax system's administrative cost in relation to revenues totalled 1.61 per cent, a rate significantly higher than other developed countries.

    The corresponding rate in Canada was 0.86 per cent. The same rate covers the relative cost of indirect taxes in Greece compared with the rest of the developed world.

    Greece's administrative cost on direct taxation was more than double the cost on indirect taxation, the report said.

    The higher cost in direct taxation was found on taxes on third parties, inheritage taxes, fines and overdue payments, while the lower cost were recorded on income taxes, KEPE said.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Sanyo Hellas share capital

    Athens 18/11/1998 (ANA)

    Sanyo Hellas Holding announced a share capital increase scheme worth 1.72 billion drachmas.

    The company will issue 2,287,760 new shares at an offer price of 750 drachmas each. The majority of shares will be offered to existing shareholders at a ratio of 2 new shares to over 10 old ones.

    The rights issue will take place from Nov. 23 to Dec. 22. Piraeus Finance will act as a consultant, while Bank of Piraeus and Alpha Credit Bank will act as underwriters to the deal.

    New capital will be used to finance the purchase of a 26 percent stake in C.C. Plast, a natural gas company in Ukraine, expanding the company's storage facilities and strengthening the capital base of its retail network in Club Electric.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Bond yields fall in auction

    Athens 18/11/1998 (ANA)

    Bond yields fell further in yesterday's auction of three-year state securities by the finance ministry in the domestic market of primary dealers.

    The average weighted rate fell to 9.36 percent from 9.89 percent in the previous auction of Aug. 18.

    Bids submitted totalled 324.5 billion drachmas, 2.7 times more than the asked target of 120 billion. The finance ministry finally accepted bids totalling 144 billion drachmas.

    The bond's average weighted price was 99.85 and the minimum accepted price was 99.81.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Bourse ends slightly lower

    Athens 18/11/1998 (ANA)

    Profit-taking halted Monday's rally on the Athens Stock Exchange and pushed stock prices slightly lower yesterday.

    The general index ended 0.53 percent off to 2,303.86 points in moderate turnover of 44.3 billion drachmas. Volume was 10,672,000 shares.

    The market largely ignored a new fall in state bond yields and hopes of a further cut in interest rates by the Bank of Greece on Wednesday.

    Sector indices ended lower. Banks fell 0.49 percent, Leasing plunged 5.65 percent, Investment dropped 1.17 percent, Construction eased 1.22 percent, Industrials ended 0.52 percent off, Miscellaneous fell 1.26 percent, Holding dropped 2.05 percent, but Insurance bucked the trend to end 0.19 percent up.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.40 percent higher.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 143 to 97 with another 22 issues unchanged.

    Hellenic Telecoms, Gener, Sanyo and Strintzis were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Dimitriadis, Korinth Pipes, Bitros, Gener, Metrolife, Ergas, Eskimo, Viosol and Thessaliki scored the biggest percentage gains. Mouzakis, 3A, Benroubi, Tasoglou, Piraeus Leasing, General Warehouses, ETBA Leasing, Sato, Alpha Leasing and Boutaris suffer ed the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 44,600 drachmas, Ergobank at 26,570, Alpha Credit Bank at 24,600, Ionian Bank at 11,900, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,450, Delta Dairy at 3,725, Intracom at 13,200, Titan Cement at 18,100, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,355 and Mino an Lines at 6,340.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Serb bankers express satisfaction over meeting with business council

    BELGRADE 18/11/1998 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)

    Serb bankers participating in a Greek-Serb business council expressed satisfaction over a visit to Athens where they held talks and contacts at the National Bank, Commercial Bank, Bank of Piraeus and the Agricultural Bank, as well as at the national economy ministry.

    The president of the group of Belgrade banks Borka Vucic and the president of the Yugobanka group of banks Milos Milosavlievic, who headed the Serb delegation, told the Tanjug news agency that they were more than satisfied with their visit to Athens where they had the opportunity of discussing issues concerning the current financial and other cooperation and short- term credits for the Yugoslav economy.

    They also said that Greek banks showed great interest in widening financial cooperation primarily in the sector of cement industry denationalisation and in participation in the Serb banks' privatisation programmes.

    The Greek-Serb business council was established in 1998 and businessman Evangelos Mytilineos is president of the Greek sector and banker Borka Vucic president of the Serb one.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Delta sales, profits increase in '98

    Athens 18/11/1998 (ANA)

    Delta dairies yesterday announced positive results for the first nine months of 1998, with 17 per cent and 12 per cent increases in sales and profits, respectively.

    A company spokesman said that results were owed to limited increases in production cost and management expenses.

    Delta last week forged a strategic alliance with Chipita SA aimed at promoting Delta's activities in southeast European markets. It has already secured a 15 per cent stake in a buyout of two croissan production and distribution firms abroad - Star Foods Poland and Star Foods Romania - in which Chipita is involved.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Astir group increases mixed profits

    Athens 18/11/1998 (ANA)

    The Astir Hotel company increased its mixed profits by 60 per cent during the January-October period this year, while the increase was 53 per cent for the Asteras Vouliagmenis complex.

    Specifically, Asteras Vouliagmenis, the company's flagship, had mixed profits amounting to 2.5 billion drachmas during the above period, while the company had total profits amounting to 2.7 billion drachmas.

    General director Alexis Koimisis said that this positive result was achieved despite difficulties faced by luxury hotels in Athens.

    The Astir company has adopted an aggressive policy overseas. Among others, its management's main target is the attraction of tourists from China. In this framework, it participated with a pavilion in the Shanghai international tourism exhibition where important contacts were held with travel agents in the country.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] OA embroiled in Australian court battle

    MELBOURNE 18/11/1998 (ANA - S. Hatzimanolis)

    Trial costs in a lawsuit filed by Olympic Airways (OA) against a local tour agency have thus far reached eight million Australian dollars, some 1.4 billion drachmas.

    OA bought 50 per cent of Consolidated Travel shares in 1992 for 20 million dollars, however, a year later the state-run Greek carrier refused to pay off the balance of six million dollars, claiming it had been "misled" as to the real value of the agency .

    Consolidated Travel has countersued OA, demanding a minimum of six million dollars, accusing the airline of breach of contract.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Katselis increases pre-tax profits

    Athens 18/11/1998 (ANA)

    The Katselis company's pre-tax profits increased by 6 per cent and sales by 11 per cent over the January-September period this year compared to the corresponding period last year.

    Sales amounted to 6.7 billion drachmas as against 6 billion drachmas in the corresponding period last year and pre-tax profits totalled 941 million drachmas as against 891 million drachmas last year.

    Investments in fixed assets for the period amounted to 677 million drachmas as against 363 million drachmas last year.

    The Katselis company, which is involved in the industrial production and sale of bakery and confectionery products and foodstuffs, is listed with the Athens Stock Exchange's main market in the foodstuffs and beverages sector.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens 18/11/1998 (ANA)

                             ATHENS FOREIGN EXCHANGE
                Bank of Greece closing rates of: November 17,1998
                              Parities in Drachmas
    Banknotes                Buying     Selling
    US Dollar                277.740    284.180
    Can.Dollar               178.778    182.923
    Australian Dlr           176.011    180.091
    Pound Sterling           466.240    477.050
    Irish Punt               415.628    425.265
    Pound Cyprus             563.277    576.337
    Pound Malta              696.733    725.764
    Turkish pound (100)        0.085      0.089
    French franc              49.828     50.983
    Swiss franc              203.132    207.842
    Belgian franc              8.098      8.285
    German Mark              167.063    170.936
    Finnish Mark              54.955     56.229
    Dutch Guilder            148.180    151.616
    Danish Kr.                43.944     44.962
    Swedish Kr.               34.645     35.448
    Norwegian Kr.             37.498     38.367
    Austrian Sh.              23.746     24.297
    Italian lira (100)        16.881     17.272
    Yen (100)                231.136    236.495
    Spanish Peseta             1.965      2.011
    Port. Escudo               1.629      1.667
    For.Exchange
    New York                 277.740    284.180
    Montreal                 178.778    182.023
    Sydney                   176.011    180.091
    London                   466.240    477.050
    Dublin                   415.628    425.265
    Nicosia                  563.277    576.337
    Paris                     49.828     50.983
    Zurich                   203.132    207.842
    Brussels                   8.098      8.285
    Frankfurt                167.063    170.936
    Helsinki                  54.955     56.229
    Amsterdam                148.180    151.616
    Copenhagen                43.944     44.962
    Stockholm                 34.645     35.448
    Oslo                      37.498     38.367
    Vienna                    23.746     24.297
    Milan                     16.881     17.272
    Tokyo                    231.136    236.495
    Madrid                     1.965      2.011
    Lisbon                     1.629      1.667
    

    Athens News Agency

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