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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-02-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Simitis: '15' EU leaders demand fair, open trial for Ocalan
  • [02] Athens dismisses latest Ankara barbs following Ocalan 'confessions'
  • [03] Three Ocalan aides to hold press conference today
  • [04] Cypriot spokesman denies any involvement by Nicosia in Ocalan affair
  • [05] Tsohatzopoulos: Greece has not consented to NATO intervention in Kosovo
  • [06] Annual State Dept. critique of other countries' human rights released
  • [07] Israeli public security delegation in Greece
  • [08] US-Greek Economic, Commercial Cooperation Commissionmeeting in Wash.
  • [09] Support for Britain-Hellenic Culture Foundation branch in London
  • [10] Final decisions on 'Agenda 2000' agricultural policy pending
  • [11] Piraeus Bank-Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi cooperation agreement
  • [12] Gazprom officials in Athens for talks on natural gas issue
  • [13] M3 money supply jumps in January
  • [14] ABN-Amro sees Greece's EMU goal intact
  • [15] Stocks end slightly up after dizzy week
  • [16] Bonds slump in line with European markets
  • [17] Greece announces securities for issue
  • [18] Ionian Bank posts higher 1998 profits
  • [19] Hellenic Aerospace reports deal with Italian firm
  • [20] National Bank of Greece to propose Dr 325 dividend
  • [21] Black Sea Bank to be launched in June
  • [22] Hellenic Bottling marks 6.5 pct rise in 1998 profit
  • [23] Sanyo Group reports Dr 1.16 bln profit in 1998
  • [24] Eurobank shareholders approve merger with Bank of Athens
  • [25] Goody's profits increase
  • [26] Alpha Credit Bank increases consolidated pre-tax profits in '98
  • [27] Athens Foreign Exchange

  • [01] Simitis: '15' EU leaders demand fair, open trial for Ocalan

    BONN (ANA - M. Spinthourakis) P Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday that he raised the issue of implementing decisions taken at a recent Council of Ministers' meeting regarding the detention of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan in Turkey.

    Speaking after a special EU summit in Petersberg, outside of Bonn, he said the "15" had agreed that Ocalan's trial should be open, based on the principles of the rule of law, with a free selection of his lawyers and with full respect for human rights.

    The Greek PM made the statement at a press conference shortly after the end of the summit, where the main issues discussed were the Ocalan affair and the Union's fiscal prospects within the framework of "Agenda 2000".

    "The course of Turkey's relationship with Europe will largely depend on the stand it will adopt on the Ocalan issue," he said, stressing that this view prevailed among the other EU leaders, and that they would stress to Ankara at both the Community and bilateral level the need to respect the principles of the rule of law.

    "The European Union is a Community not only of interests but also of values, irrespective of the fact that national expediencies often determine the policies of statesIOca-lan's trial should be treated by the EU on the basis of political, democratic and humanitarian principles on which the edifice of the European Union was established," he added.

    The Greek prime minister held separate meetings with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, French President Jacques Chirac, as well as the prime ministers of Italy, Massimo d' Alema and Spain, Jose Maria Aznar.

    He announced that Mr. Aznar replied that he had already contacted Turkish President Suleyman Demirel, stressing the need for a fair judicial procedure for Ocalan. Regarding discussions on "Agenda 2000", the Greek premier stressed that the basic qu estion was what resources should be devoted to the Community budget and how faster growth rates would be achieved.

    With particular reference to the issue of reforming CAP, Mr. Simitis stressed Greece agreed with the view that spending in the agricultural sector could be restricted.

    "However, this must not take place at the expense of small holdings or non- surplus products, like most Mediterranean products," he said.

    He also stressed Greece was completely opposed to ideas for joint financing of CAP through national funds, and that it faced no dilemmas in opting between agricultural and structural fund spending. He further noted that differing views continued to exis t among EU states and that the Greek position was in favour of an enrichment of the Union's policies with a view to growth and reducing unemployment, rather than stabilisation and restriction of Community resources and credits.

    Finally, he said Athens was in favour of negotiations on the Community's fiscal prospects, closing at the special summit in Berlin next month.

    Meanwhile, sources said the German presidency's proposal for the EU budget for the 2000-2006 period is considered unacceptable by the economically weaker countries, namely, Greece, Spain and Portugal.

    According to the proposal, reflecting a particularly restrictive German view on the size of EU budgets, expenses for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will amount to 283 billion euros, while the expenses for structural policies will be in the region of 220 billion euro for the period. France, which is partially in agreement with the proposals, has called for the avoidance of "generous" cutbacks in CAP funds.

    In addition, according to an ANA dispatch from Brussels, the EU farm ministers were awaiting the results of the Petersberg summit in order to continue their marathon sessions on the revision of CAP. Discussions, which began on Monday, were interrupted e arly yesterday without the reaching of an accord. The suspension is due to disagreements regarding in particular milk and agricultural spending. Regarding milk, on which the last compromise proposal of the German presidency envisaged an increase in th e Greek quota by 70,000 tonnes, there were major differences between ministers, with some calling for the abolition of quotas and others their maintenance at present levels. Concerning agricultural spending, the ministers did not agree on a freeze at 40.5 billion euros through a reduction of direct subsidies.

    The French agriculture minister expressed full satisfaction with the suspension of negotiations, insisting that an agreement on CAP cannot be achieved separately from the entire Agenda 2000 package on enlargement, fearing it would end in joint financing of CAP.

    The farm ministers' council will convene again on Tuesday.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Athens dismisses latest Ankara barbs following Ocalan 'confessions'

    Athens emphasised yesterday that Ankara was exploiting the so-called 'Ocalan confessions' to the fullest, although its latest verbal attacks against Greece would only serve to do harm to itself.

    "Turkey's psychosis about supposed Greek-PKK relations is not new," acting government spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said.

    "It is attempting to exploit the situation... This is not Ocalan talking but Turkish propaganda".

    The pro-government Turkish press reported yesterday that Ocalan had 'confessed' that the Greek Orthodox Church and businessmen had financed the Kurdish rebel struggle. One confession claimed that the Greek defence minister was leaking NATO secrets to Ru ssia.

    "We will be hearing a lot more," Mr. Athanassakis predicted. He called the allegations about the defence minister "laughable".

    He noted that Ankara's claim that there was a training camp in the Lavrion refugee camp had been rejected by the UN High Commission for Refugees given that the camp was under permanent inspection by the Red Cross and the UN. G. Papandreou: Foreign Minister George Papandreou told reporters later that Ankara's attempts to make Greece a scapegoat would fail and Turkey had to begin to deal with the Kurdish problem with European values.

    "The Kurdish issue is not a Greek issue nor a Greek-Turkish issue. It is a European issue," he said.

    He was speaking after a meeting with Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis on the latest developments over the Ocalan affair and on discussions underway at the European Union.

    The Greek FM said he was keen to pursue wider cooperation and consensus on an inter-party level in foreign policy even through a foreign policy council. Church reaction: The Autocephalus Orthodox Chur-ch of Greece reacted strongly to the Turkish press reports, carried by the semi- official Anadolu agency, that the PKK had received support from Greek churches.

    "These are pre-packaged fabrications of Turkish propaganda," a statement from the Holy Synod read.

    "They do not touch, nor will they concern in the future, the Church of Greece, which is a church of love, peace and tolerance."

    "The Church is aware of its mission and is not involved in political or other issues which divert it from this mission. Its voice and activities have their roots in love, peace and calmness. The only weapon the Church has is the Word and Conviction."

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Three Ocalan aides to hold press conference today

    A Kurdish National Liberation Front (KNLF) spokesman said yesterday that a cancelled press conference by the three female aides to rebel Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan would be held today at noon at their downtown Athens hotel.

    The three woman called off a news conference scheduled for yesterday following talks with Kurdish representatives in Athens, according to reports.

    Roshat Laser denied reports that the government had pressured the three to call off yesterday's news conference, saying that the decision had been made by those Kurdish officials responsible.

    The trio was brought to Greece on Thursday night after being evacuated from the Greek embassy in Nairobi, where they had sought refuge after Ocalan was captured and transferred to Turkey on Feb. 15. A public order ministry official said one of the wome n would receive political asylum in Greece yesterday. The issue, he said, was discussed in talks with the women yesterday morning by himself, the foreign ministry's secretary-gene-ral, Pavlos Apostolidis, as well police officials.

    One of the women was stateless, another has a Belgian passport and the third woman already has political refugee status in Greece.

    Also discussed during the morning meeting, he said, was their security needs and their residency status.

    The Kurdish women said they hoped to stay at the hotel at least until Monday.

    The official clarified that the three women, and the Greek intelligence agent who accompanied them back to Greece, were free to move around as they wished.

    The three Kurdish woman are also expected to see the Athens court prosecutor holding an inquiry into the circumstances of Ocalan's arrival in Greece today.

    Meanwhile, acting government spokesman Nikos Athanassakis confirmed later that there was no restriction on any of the four but that the government felt it advisable that the three women be provided with accomodation at a hotel "to avoid any unpleasant o ccurence".

    "We believe that there is a need for their protection, which cannot be imposed, it is available to them if they accept it. If they do not accept they are free to move around as they like, but on their own undertaking," he said.

    Greek intelligence officer Savvas Kalenteridis is also not under any restriction but chose to return to a family member's home instead of his own last night, he added.

    He denied reports that Mr. Kalenteridis had met or requested to meet with National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and said the government was not aware of whether he had been called to testify in a court inquiry currently under way into the Ocalan affair.

    Mr. Athanassakis said the evacuation launched on Thursday had been successful and that the government was satisfied at the results.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Cypriot spokesman denies any involvement by Nicosia in Ocalan affair

    Nicosia has no involvement whatsoever in the Ocalan affair despite claims by some to the contrary, Cypriot government spokesman Christos Stylianides said in Athens yesterday.

    "Cyprus is always a strong supporter of the defence of human rights and the cultural identity of each people and supports the demand for just trial for Abdullah Ocalan," he told reporters at a press conference.

    He said, however, there was a possibility that the Ocalan affair could be "used as an alibi for a lack of developments" in resolving the issue of the Turkish occupation of a third of Cyprus.

    "The intransigence of the Turkish side is not at all helpful," he said.

    Turkish officials said they found a Cypriot passport on Ocalan when he was arrested in Nairobi.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Tsohatzopoulos: Greece has not consented to NATO intervention in Kosovo

    Greece has not consented to a NATO intervention in the troubled Yugoslav province of Kosovo, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said in Parliament yesterday.

    Responding to a question tabled by a Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy, Mr. Tsohatzopulos said that, quite the contrary, Athens "has made it clear that the Kosovo issue requires a peaceful, political and diplomatic solution."

    "We accept the use of NATO as a means of pressure, but if the international community decides to authorise the alliance to intervene for implementation of the Rambouillet agreement, Greece will not participate," the Greek defence minister emphasised.

    He added that a 1,500-strong force dispatched to FYROM via Thessaloniki was being deployed to protect international observers in Kosovo.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Annual State Dept. critique of other countries' human rights released

    WASHINGTON (ANA - T. Ellis) - This year's US State Department report on human rights, unveiled yesterday, cites progress on individual issues concerning human rights in Greece.

    The report, compiled by the US federal government regarding human rights in other countries, lists the abolition of Article 19 of the Greek citizenship code, promotion of alternate service for conscientious objectors and an improvement of living standar ds in Greek prisons as being "positive developments in the country."

    Dedicating 28 pages to Greece, the US State Department report stresses that Athens respects the human rights of most of its citizens although, as it claims, certain problems continue to exist. The report alleges that on certain occasions police mistreat ed suspects and illegal immigrants. However, it stresses that the Greek government continues to take measures to improve living conditions in prisons, promoting the renovation of existing facilities and the building of nine new ones, while the building of a detoxication centre for 350 people is being completed.

    On the question of Article 19, the report claims that the Greek state took "an important step in abolishing Article 19 of the citizenship code, which was used to deprive citizens who were not of Greek origin of Greek citizenship."

    It said that following the new settlement, quite a few members of the Moslem minority regained Greek citizenship.

    "Despite the recognition from religious leaders of an overall improvement regarding the state's tolerance, certain restrictions in religious freedoms continue to exist," the report claims.

    "Mosques operate freely in western Thrace and the islands of Rhodes and Kos, where most Muslims (in Greece) live. There are differences between the state and the Muslims community, as well as within the community, on the way muftis are selected. Some Mu slims accept the jurisdiction of the two muftis appointed by a committee of Muslims chosen by the government, while other Moslems supported by Turkey 'elected' two other muftis," it added.

    Muftis are mostly appointed by the state, particularly in the Islamic world.

    The US report further claims that the Greek state continues to not recognise other ethnic minorities, apart from the Muslims one, which is referred to explicitly in the Lausanne Treaty, "as a result, certain members of minorities are faced with difficul ties in the free expression of their identity," according to the State Department researchers' opinion.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Israeli public security delegation in Greece

    A high-ranking delegation from the Israeli public security ministry begins a visit to Greece on Monday to explore methods for greater bilateral cooperation.

    The delegation will be led by the ministry's secretary-general, Avraham Kohav. It includes police officials Yehuda Bahar and Natan Rotenberg.

    Greece and Israel signed a police cooperation agreement in 1995 during a visit to Athens by the Israeli public security minister. The agreement was part of the general common policy of the European Union for cooperation with non-EU countries in various fields.

    The Israelis are expected to meet with public order ministry secretary- general, Dimitris Efstathides, and the leadership of Greek Police (EL.AS).

    Athens News Agency

    [08] US-Greek Economic, Commercial Cooperation Commissionmeeting in Wash.

    The second annual meeting of the US-Greek Economic and Commercial Cooperation Commission is scheduled for March 4 and 5 in Washington, the US embassy in Athens announced yesterday.

    According to a US Information Service press release, the upcoming conference will be co-chaired by the Greek national economy secretary general Stephanos Avgouleas and US Commerce Department Undersecretary David Aaron.

    The press release also stated that Greek ambassador to the US Alexandros Philon and US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns will be vice-chairmen of the conference.

    The Commission provides a framework for ministerial-level economic officials to meet and discuss regional economic issues. The first meeting was in Athens last year.

    According to the press release, the commission is not just a forum for problem solving, but rather it is a tool for highlighting potential areas of cooperation and mutual benefit.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Support for Britain-Hellenic Culture Foundation branch in London

    Several prominent British professors and academics have addressed a letter to Foreign Minister George Papandreou calling for the overturn of a decision suspending operation of a Hellenic Culture Foundation branch in London.

    The group claims that the branch's closure "will significantly weaken the presence of Greek culture in Britain."

    The letter was signed by professors from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and from London University's Kings College.

    In a similar letter to the Greek FM, the president of the London-based Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee, Ioannis Hatzipateras, called the move a "grave mistake" and said its closure would "deprive" the British capital of a highly interesting Greek presence.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Final decisions on 'Agenda 2000' agricultural policy pending

    Decisions on the agricultural sector of "Agenda 2000" were postponed for next week following yesterday's proposal by Greek Agriculture Minister George Anomeritis.

    During an EU farm ministers' meeting in Brussels, Athens apparently achieved a 70,000-ton increase for Greece's milk production quota and secured an exception of 80 per cent for a Greek farmers' subsidy reductions.

    Further increases on cattle subsidies were allowed to Greece, as the quota for veal feeding cows was increased by 7,000 and bulls were raised by 4,000.

    Athens also secured an increase by 1,732 hectares of grapevine cultivations.

    Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler submitted final economic proposals containing three scenarios all aiming at gradual subsidy decreases, with a ceiling of 40.5 million euros for subsidies plus a 2 per cent deflation rate.

    The scenarios include an across-the-board 3 per cent decrease for all subsidies or a 3-to-1 per cent cut in subsidies with the exception of farmers with an income of less that 5,000 euros.

    Greece rejected the first plan and proposed a combination of the second and third, while the Greek farm minister questioned a ceiling of 40.5 million euros.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Piraeus Bank-Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi cooperation agreement

    Bank of Piraeus and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, one of the largest international finance groups, signed a cooperation agreement yesterday.

    The agreement anticipates that Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi will cooperate exclusively with Piraeus Prime Bank (former Credit Lyonnais Hellas, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Bank of Piraeus until now).

    According to the agreement, the Japanese bank intends to also proceed with participation in the Prime Bank's share capital with a considerable minority stake.

    Cooperation between the two banking groups, an announcement said, confirms the positive expectations for the development of the Greek market in light of Greece's projected accession to Economic and Monetary Union.

    The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi was created through a merger between the Bank of Tokyo and Mitsubishi Bank in April 1996. It is currently one of the three biggest banks in the world from the point of view of assets.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Gazprom officials in Athens for talks on natural gas issue

    Natural Gas Enterprise (DEPA) officials yesterday met with a Russian Gazprom delegation in Athens, discussing issues raised during a visit to Moscow by a development ministry delegation earlier this month.

    According to press reports, the Russian side raised the issue of a natural gas price increase to the tune of 30 per cent. More discussions are expected to resume next week.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] M3 money supply jumps in January

    The M3 money supply, which includes private deposits, repos and bank bonds, rose sharply by 15.4 percent in January against the same month of 1998, following an 8.9 percent rise in December, the Bank of Greece said in a statement yesterday.

    The central bank said it was planning to revise composition of the key M3 indicator in order to reflect more accurately shifts in liquidity, and the precise amount of liquidity.

    January's increase was attributed to portfolio restructuring by investors following the abolition of a tax on repos last September.

    However, despite the indicator's jump in absolute terms, money supply actually declined against December due to a shift of funds into derivatives, which fails to appear in the M3 figure.

    In addition, a major inflow of funds was noted in January resulting in a 3.4 billion dollar jump in foreign currency reserves.

    Private deposits dropped by 151 billion drachmas in January. Repos increased by 364 billion drachmas to total 1.95 trillion drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] ABN-Amro sees Greece's EMU goal intact

    Greece's goal of entering the euro zone by January 1, 2001 remains unchanged and the Greek bond market is still attractive despite increased political risk, ABN-Amro Bank of the Netherlands said in a weekly report.

    The report said that the government appeared resolved to keep to its target and "any alternative political scenario would leave Greece dedicated to the EMU target."

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Stocks end slightly up after dizzy week

    Share prices ended the last trading session of a highly volatile week slightly higher on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday.

    The general index ended 0.24 percent up at 3,377.58 points for a net gain of 3.96 percent on the week.

    The index broke through the 3,400-point level early in the session but fell later on profit-taking.

    Turnover was 123.8 billion drachmas and volume 26,027,645 shares.

    Activity focused on small and medium-sized capitalisation stocks and shares in the textiles sector with nine stocks hitting the daily 8.0 percent limit up.

    Sector indices scored gains.

    Banks rose 0.49 percent, Leasing fell 1.88 percent, Insurance was 0.87 percent up, Industrials eased 0.03 percent, Miscellaneous increased 0.50 percent, Holding rose 1.26 percent, Construction jumped 4.44 percent and Investment soared 3.13 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 4.95 percent up, while the FTSE/ASE 20 index dropped 0.01 percent to 2,109.37.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 167 to 111 with another 16 issues unchanged.

    Macedonian Spinning Mills, Strintzis, Eskimo and Hellenic Telecoms were the most heavily traded stocks.

    A total of 46 stocks hit the daily 8.0 percent limit up. Among them were Strintzis, Delta Dairy, Atemke, Gek, TEB, Terna, Attica Aluminium, Naoussa, Fanco, Nematemboriki, Doudos, Britannia, Klonatex and Ideal.

    Klaoudatos, Sato, Mesohoritis, Viosol, Halyps Cement, Elfico, Levenderis and Keranis suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 21,440 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 33, 650, Ergobank at 23,800, Ionian Bank at 17,150, Titan Cement at 22,800, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,640, Intracom at 21,150, Minoan Lines at 7,720, Panafon at 9,350 and Hellenic Telecoms at 7,720.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Bonds slump in line with European markets

    Long-term bond prices yesterday fell 60-70 basis points in the secondary market in line with a sell-off in European markets after investors bought into US paper on expectations that rates will not drop in the short term.

    The 10-year bond expiring in 2008 was trading around 116.15-116.35, accounting for 23 billion drachmas out of a total of 54 billion drachmas for the whole market.

    In the foreign currency market, demand was seen for the drachma, which strengthened against the euro.

    The central bank bought 100 million euros at the fix to curb the rise of the drachma, which was 321.950 against the euro.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Greece announces securities for issue

    The finance ministry will issue eight securities in the next two months in order to cover the public sector's borrowing requirements.

    Deputy Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said yesterday that the ministry will also take measures to facilitate access for private investors to the domestic derivatives bond market.

    The government's borrowing programme for the next two months includes 15- year bonds worth 220 billion drachmas on March 2, 10-year bonds on March 9 and three-year bonds on March 16.

    Also for issue are three- and six-month Treasury bills on March 23 and 12- month T-bills and tax-free savings bonds on March 30.

    The finance ministry plans to issue five-year bonds on April 6 and 7-year bonds on April 20.

    One week later, on April 27, it will issue 12-month T-bills and tax-free savings bonds.

    Finally, 20-year bonds are to be issued in the second half of the year.

    Mr. Christodoulakis said that a wave of profit-taking in European bond markets and capital flight into the US dollar would not negatively affect the country's bond yield levels in terms of meeting the Maastricht treaty's long-term interest rate criterio n.

    He noted that domestic 10-year bonds yielded 5.91 percent, while the average yield in the three EU member-states with the lower rates was currently 4.01 percent.

    The spread is smaller than the two percentage points envisaged in the Maastricht criterion, Mr. Christodoulakis said.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Ionian Bank posts higher 1998 profits

    Ionian Bank yesterday reported an increase in its profits for 1998.

    It said in a statement that net profits before tax and provisions rose 134 percent to 17.3 billion drachmas from 7.4 billion in 1997.

    Following provisions for bad loans, net pre-tax profits rose to 12.6 billion drachmas from 1.1 billion the previous year.

    The Ionian Group's 1998 profits before tax and provisions totalled 24.6 billion drachmas, up 98 percent from 12.4 billion in 1997.

    The bank noted that the above results did not include portfolio gains, and that they excluded interest expenses for 1994 totalling 4.3 billion drachmas.

    Lending totalled 605.1 billion drachmas, a rise of 8.7 percent, and domestic deposits rose 8.8 percent to 1.53 trillion drachmas.

    Liabilities to customers fell to 1,567 billion drachmas in 1998 from 1,785 billion the previous year.

    The bank attributed the fall in liabilities to a 300 billion drachma decline in its London-branch deposits. The net profits of the Ionian Bank Group's companies totalled 7.3 billion drachmas last year, an increase of 48.6 percent from 1997.

    Ionian Investments reported net pre-tax profits of 1.3 billion drachmas, a rise of 116 percent. Ionian Securities showed profits of 1.1 billion drachmas, up 88.6 percent; Ionian Mutual Funds 4.1 billion drachmas, up 59 percent; and Ionian Finance 673 mil lion drachmas, up 127 pct.

    Ionian Hotels reported profits of 500 million drachmas last year, its first since 1988, while Ionian Leasing reported losses totalling 355 million drachmas despite a 19 percent increase in turnover.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Hellenic Aerospace reports deal with Italian firm

    Hellenic Aerospace Industry (EAB) yesterday announced a strategic alliance with Italy's Alenia Aerospazio.

    Under the terms of the contract, EAB will join future projects, including construction programmes for the C-275 transport plane and Typhoon Eurofighter, a joint European project including Alenia.

    The agreement includes cooperation in the sectors of space technology and aerospace research.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] National Bank of Greece to propose Dr 325 dividend

    National Bank of Greece is to propose to shareholders a dividend of 325 drachmas per share after its stock split, it said in a statement yesterday.

    National Bank's net profits were 130.2 billion drachmas in 1998 after provisions of 57.5 billion. Assets totalled 12.1 trillion drachmas on December 31, and equity capital on the same date was 460 billion drachmas.

    Deposits totalled 10.4 trillion drachmas and loans 3.6 trillion.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Black Sea Bank to be launched in June

    An inauguration ceremony for the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, which is based in Thessaloniki, will be held in June, its board of directors decided yesterday.

    A board meeting in Thessaloniki also approved the bank's emblem and decided to hold the next meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, on April 4-5. The board also discussed financing policy, rules covering project and commercial finance, risk management and investment policy.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Hellenic Bottling marks 6.5 pct rise in 1998 profit

    Hellenic Bottling Company yesterday reported a 6.5 percent increase in its 1998 consolidated pre-tax profit to 43.5 billion drachmas and a 14 percent rise in consolidated sales.

    The company released a geographical distribution of profits. Domestic profits totalled 30.8 billion drachmas, up 16 pct from 1997.

    In Ireland, the company reported profits of 11.7 billion drachmas, up 20 pct, and a 10 pct increase in sales. In Bulgaria, profits totalled 2.6 billion drachmas following a 3.0 billion drachma redemption.

    In Romania, the company's profits rebounded following a first-half loss. No figures were given.

    In Moldova, losses totalled 420 million drachmas due to a local currency devaluation.

    In Armenia, losses totalled 200 million drachmas.

    In Yugoslavia, profits totalled 1.3 billion drachmas, lower than 1997, because of an 81 percent devaluation of the local currency last April.

    In Nigeria, profits totalled 4.4 billion drachmas.

    In Russia, the country's financial crisis inflicted losses of 8.0 billion drachmas.

    In the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia profits totalled 500 million drachmas.

    Frigoglass contributed 800 million drachmas to Hellenic Bottling's consolidated profits.

    The company has repeatedly denied talk that it is planning to sell a stake to the Coca Cola Company with which it has a bottling and distribution agreement.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Sanyo Group reports Dr 1.16 bln profit in 1998

    Sanyo Hellas Holding yesterday reported consolidated profits in 1998 of 1.16 billion drachmas after minorities.

    The figure includes its Sanyocom and Bartex subsidiaries. The parent company posted profits of 372.4 million drachmas, down 32 percent from 547 million in 1997.

    Athens News Agency

    [24] Eurobank shareholders approve merger with Bank of Athens

    A general assembly of Eurobank shareholders yesterday approved the bank's merger with Bank of Athens.

    Eurobank will be absorbed by Bank of Athens, already listed on the Athens Stock Exchange through consolidation of assets and liabilities, as reflected on balance sheets as of July 31, 1998.

    The merger will be officially completed in early March, while the new bank will be called EFG Eurobank S.A.

    The general assembly of preferred shareholders yesterday unanimously approved the merger.

    After the merger, and in order for the new bank's stocks to enter the bourse for trading, sufficient share distribution must be achieved through a public offer.

    According to a timetable, the public offer will open between March 16-19, under terms to be announced.

    Bank of Athens stocks trading will be postponed for 15 days to allow the completion of the public offer.

    Athens News Agency

    [25] Goody's profits increase

    The Goody's group announced an increase of 15.1 per cent in pre-tax profits for 1998, with profits reaching 2.94 billion drachmas compared to 2.56 billion drachmas the previous year.

    The group's consolidated turnover, including subsidiaries, rose by 23.87 per cent, reaching 30.6 billion drachmas in 1998 compared to 24.7 billion drachmas a year earlier. Share capital increased to 13.698 billion drachmas from 11.966 billion in 1997.

    With the completion of a merger between Goody's and Touristiki Ependytiki, the group's shares will increase to 10,144,063 with 144,063 new issues.

    The group operates 135 restaurant outlets in Greece, with another 10 expected to open this year. Ten outlets operate in Cyprus, one in Bulgaria and two in Portugal.

    Athens News Agency

    [26] Alpha Credit Bank increases consolidated pre-tax profits in '98

    Alpha Credit Bank is to announce a 31 per cent increase in consolidated pre- tax profits in 1998, or roughly 126 billion drachmas, in its balance sheet to be published tomorrow.

    The bank's assets as of Dec. 31, 1998 rose 30 per cent to 4.55 trillion drachmas compared to the previous year, while its share capital in the same period increased by 41 per cent to 395 billion drachmas. Alpha deposits totalled 3.486 trillion drachmas, an increase of 36 per cent.

    Athens News Agency

    [27] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: February 26, 1999
    Banknotes         Buying    Selling
    US Dollar          289.714   296.431
    Can.Dollar         191.277   195.712
    Australian Dlr     179.577   183.740
    Pound Sterling     463.621   474.370
    Irish Punt         405.522   414.924
    Pound Cyprus       549.032   561.762
    Pound Malta        712.794   742.494
    Turkish pound (100)  0.070     0.073
    French franc        48.688    49.817
    Swiss franc        200.850   205.507
    Belgian franc        7.917     8.101
    German Mark        163.293   167.079
    Finnish Mark        53.715    54.960
    Dutch Guilder      144.926   148.286
    Danish Kr.          42.964    43.960
    Swedish Kr.         35.478    36.300
    Norwegian Kr.       36.700    37.551
    Austrian Sh.        23.210    23.748
    Italian lira (100)  16.494    16.876
    Yen (100)          241.254   246.848
    Spanish Peseta       1.920     1.964
    Port. Escudo         1.593     1.630
    Foreign Exchange    Buying   Selling
    New York           289.714   296.431
    Montreal           191.277   195.712
    Sydney             179.577   183.740
    London             463.621   474.370
    Dublin             405.522   414.924
    Nicosia            549.032   561.762
    Paris               48.688    49.817
    Zurich             200.850   205.507
    Brussels             7.917     8.101
    Frankfurt          163.293   167.079
    Helsinki            53.715    54.960
    Amsterdam          144.926   148.286
    Copenhagen          42.964    43.960
    Stockholm           35.478    36.300
    Oslo                36.700    37.551
    Vienna              23.210    23.748
    Milan               16.494    16.876
    Tokyo              241.254   246.848
    Madrid               1.920     1.964
    Lisbon               1.593     1.630
    Athens News Agency

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