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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-08-29

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

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

Saturday, 29 August 2009 Issue No: 3283

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM meets unionists, social partners ahead of state-of-the economy address
  • [02] Gov't unveils special land use plan
  • [03] PASOK spokesman on economy, elections
  • [04] Papandreou in Paris for French socialist party con'f
  • [05] Education Ministry sends circulars on flu to all education levels
  • [06] US to deliver another 3 F-16s on Mon.
  • [07] NBG: 708mln euros net profit in H1
  • [08] MIG reports improved Q2 results
  • [09] Hellenic Postbank reports 123 mln euros profits in H1
  • [10] Aegean Airlines reports sharply improved H1 results
  • [11] PPI down 11% in July
  • [12] Kri-Kri reports improved H1 results
  • [13] Alumil Group reports lower H1 results
  • [14] Stocks end flat on Fri.
  • [15] ADEX closing report
  • [16] Greek bond market closing report
  • [17] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday
  • [18] Ieronymos begins visit to Thessaloniki
  • [19] Ermis e-governance candidate or EU award
  • [20] Protest rally in Athens for Attica wildfires
  • [21] Heroin dealing arrest in Athens
  • [22] Fair on Saturday
  • [23] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM meets unionists, social partners ahead of state-of-the economy address

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday received the board of the national confederation of commerce (ESEE) at his Maximos mansion office for talks on issues mostly concerning measures to boost domestic markets.

    After the meeting, ESEE president Dimitris Armenakis said the board asked the prime minister to accelerate procedures aimed at boosting liquidity by banks, adding that businesses are "suffocating" from a lack of cash.

    Additionally, unfair competition and better police protection of stores during demonstrations were also discussed.

    Armenakis said that the prime minister noted that no additional taxes will be levied on businesses, while agreeing that measures for "consecutive" social security pensions are socially just -- while a relevant amendment will soon be tabled in Parliament.

    Finally, the prime ministers also met with the board of Greece's civil servants' union, ADEDY, which represents a significant number of employees in the countries.

    Afterwards, ADEDY president Spyros Papaspyros said "nothing positive" emerged from the meeting for the country's numerous civil servants on issues involving pensions, salaries and labour relations.

    "The role of the labour unions is to be assertive. The role of the government is to provide the true dimensions of (the economy's) abilities and to determine what the priorities are," Interior and Public Administration Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said.

    [02] Gov't unveils special land use plan

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias has offered for public consideration the Special Land Plan for the Coastal Region and the Islands, stressing that it is another "very important structural intervention that is part of the great effort for the creation, for the first time in Greece, of an integrated land plan."

    The minister added that "with the specific Special Framework we are at last bringing order regarding what one can do and where, on the islands and our coastal region. We are restricting bulding, we are highlighting natural beauty, we are supporting sustainable development and we are handling the needs of local societies."

    [03] PASOK spokesman on economy, elections

    Main opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papaconstantinou said on Friday that "at a time when the Greek economy is sinking, that we have the tragic wildfires that we have experienced in the past days, that the citizen's problems are multiplying, it appears that the only thing that preoccupies the government is the infamous dilemma of a reshuffle or elections."

    The spokesman further said that "this dilemma is Mr. Karamanlis's and his own deadlocks, it is not the citizen's dilemma," for whom the dilemma is "if we shall continue in this direction or if we shall change direction."

    Papaconstantinou stressed that the dilemma is not "whether the deck will be shuffled and if we shall have three different ministers or if an Environment Mibistry will be created at last" but 'to what extent the opportunity will be provided for a new government to begin the major issue of our country's restructuring."

    [04] Papandreou in Paris for French socialist party con'f

    Main opposition PASOK leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou departed for Paris on Friday to attend the summer sessions of the University of La Rochelle and the French socialist party, party spokesman announced.

    Papandreou will address the event's plenary session on Saturday on the theme of "Geopolitics of the Crisis".

    [05] Education Ministry sends circulars on flu to all education levels

    The National Education Ministry sent separate circulars on Friday concerning measures to prevent the spreading of flu to all levels of education.

    According to an announcement by the Education ministry, following instructions from Education Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos, the ministry's relevant departments have taken initiatives and have scheduled action for information regarding the new flu and its curbing.

    All the necessary action will have been taken before the beginning of the new school year on September 11.

    [06] US to deliver another 3 F-16s on Mon.

    The US Air Force is scheduled to deliver three F-16 warplanes, part of the "Peace Xenia IV" programme, to the Hellenic Air Force on Monday, according to a press released issued on Friday by the US embassy in Athens.

    The new F-16s will join 10 others delivered earlier this year and that are already in service. Another 17 more aircraft are due to be delivered to Greece by the end of 2009 as part of a US Air Force foreign military sales programme.

    Financial News

    [07] NBG: 708mln euros net profit in H1

    National Bank Group on Friday said its net profits totaled 708 million euros in the first half of the year, up 13 pct from the same period in 2008, while net profits in the second quarter totaled 391 million euros, up 23 pct.

    Commenting on the results, Takis Arapoglou, the bank's chairman and chief executive, said a medium-term strategy followed by the bank - boosting revenues, cutting spending and prudent risk management - has established National Bank's position among the top European banks on capital adequacy and quality, liquidity and operating profitability.

    "Our second quarter results and first half results are proof of our capabilities," the Greek banker said, adding that National Bank would focus on establishing its leading position in Southeastern Europe.

    Net profits from activities in Greece grew 41 pct to 249 million euros in the second quarter, with first half profits totaling 426 million euros. Finansbank reported a 10-pct increase in its second quarter results (from the first quarter) with first half profits totaling 219 million euros despite higher provisions. Finansbank accounted for 31 pct of National Bank Group's profits.

    Activities in southeast Europe fell 40 pct in the first half compared with the same period in 2008 to 64 million euros, accounting for 9.0 pct of the Group's profits.

    National Bank's equity capital return rate was 24 pct in the second quarter, two percentage points above the first quarter figure. Provisions totaled 494 million euros (of which 260 million euros in the second quarter), up from 180 million euros last year.

    Despite adverse conditions, National Bank said its loan portfolio totaled 68.5 billion euros in the first half, reflecting a 5.0 pct increase in lending in Greece so far this year, for annual growth rate of 11 pct compared with the same period in 2008.

    Retail banking loans totaled 31.5 billion euros in the January-June period, for an annual growth rate of 13 pct. Mortgage loans grew 12 pct to around 20 billion euros, while consumer and credit card growth was 12 pct to 7.0 billion euros.

    Saving deposits totaled 71 billion euros, 10 pct higher from the first half of 2008.

    [08] MIG reports improved Q2 results

    Marfin Investment Group (MIG) on Friday said its consolidated after tax and minorities earnings totaled 4.2 million euros in the first half of the year, with parent profits at 13.5 million euros in the same period, while the group's net position (NAV) totaled 3.6 billion euros or 4.82 euros per share.

    MIG said a cost-cutting program led to a 55.1 pct decline in operating expenses to 13.1 million euros in the January-June period, from 29.1 million euros last year. The Group said a strong performance in the second quarter has improved its first quarter results -traditionally weak- with MIG reporting a 7.2 pct increase in sales, while gross profits grew by 22.3 pct. All subsidiaries and affiliated companies reported satisfactory results -moving in line with projections for strong profitability in the year.

    Commenting on the results, MIG's chief executive, Denis Malamatinas, said second quarter results were encouraging despite adverse international conditions. "We expect a strong third quarter," he noted.

    [09] Hellenic Postbank reports 123 mln euros profits in H1

    Hellenic Postbank on Friday reported pre-tax profits of 122.94 million euros in the first half of 2009, from a loss of 7.81 million euros in the corresponding period last year, adding that its non-performing loans rate rose to 0.96 pct from 0.87 pct in Dec. 31, 2008.

    Investment portfolio grew by 52.03 pct, the loans portfolio grew by 4.0 pct from the start of the year and by 15.15 pct compared with the same period in 2008, while saving deposits grew 9.48 pct and 10.62 pct over the same periods, respectively.

    Commenting on the results, bank chairman Aggelos Philippidis said the bank raised its equity capital by 526.26 million euros, using part of its high liquidity on investments, offering adequate funding to the main sectors of the economy.

    Consumer lending grew 0.71 pct in the first half to 1.9 billion euros, while mortgage loans rose 1.98 pct to 4.568 billion euros. Credit card loans grew 26.43 pct to 241.82 million euros, while saving deposits jumped 9.48 pct to 12.274 billion euros. The bank' s equity capital totaled 906.01 million euros, sharply up from 532.16 million euros at the end of 2008.

    [10] Aegean Airlines reports sharply improved H1 results

    Ńegean Airlines on Friday reported improved first half results, with sales rising 5.0 pc to 275.5 million euros, operating pre-tax, interest, amortization and leasing expenses (EBITDAR) jumping 43 pct to 42.5 million euros, pre-tax profits jumping 135 pct to 18.2 million euros and net after tax profits soaring 143 pct to 13.4 million euros.

    The Greek airline company attributed its sharply improved results to a significant drop in international oil prices and benefits from a renewal of its aircraft fleet.

    Aegean Airlines continued expanding its service network, adding new flights to Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Barcelona, Venice and Paphos, Cyprus and is soon expecting to inaugurate an Athens-Istanbul route.

    The company said passenger traffic rose 9 pct in the first half to 2.9 million passengers.

    Dimitris Geroyiannis, Aegean Airlines' chief executive, commenting on the results said conditions in the air transport market remained difficult and said that it was extremely difficult to make safe projections over future financial results.

    [11] PPI down 11% in July

    Greece's Producers' Price composite index (measuring both the domestic and foreign markets) dropped 11 pct in July, compared with the corresponding month last year, after an increase of 15.5 pct recorded in the 2007-2008 period, the National Statistical Service announced on Friday.

    The statistics agency, in a report, said the producer's price index fell 0.7 pct in July from June, after an increase of 1.3 pct recorded in the corresponding period last year.

    [12] Kri-Kri reports improved H1 results

    Kri-Kri, a Greek-listed dairy industry, on Friday reported a 3.3-pct increase in parent sales to 23.697 million euros in the first half of 2009, up from 22.950 million euros last year, and said that operating earnings (EBITDA) grew 8.0 pcto to 5.976 million euros.

    Pre-tax profits rose to 4.870 million euros in the January-June period, from 4.625 million euros last year, while net after-tax profits totaled 4.082 million euros from 4.014 million euros over the same period, respectively.

    Consolidated turnover rose 2.9 pct to 24.450 million euros in the first six months of 2009, with sales abroad rising 28 pct. EBITDA was up 8.4 pct, pre-tax profits rose 4.5 pct to 4.848 million and net after-tax profits grew 1.0 pct to 4.067 million euros.

    [13] Alumil Group reports lower H1 results

    Alumil Group on Friday reported a 32.2-pct decline in sales in the first half of 2009, with sales totaling 95.7 million euros (from 141 million euros in 2008) and gross profits dropped 53.4 pct to 17.5 million euros, from 37.6 million euros over the same period, respectively.

    The company attributed its lower results to a decline in aluminium prices and a very significant decline in building activity in Greece and abroad in the first half of the year.

    Operating earnings (EBITDA) dropped 84.9 pct to 3.3 million euros, while pre-tax losses totaled 9.2 million euros in the January-June period after profits of 9.1 million euros last year. Losses per share totaled 0.4233 euros, after profits of 0.2135 euros in 2008.

    Parent sales fell 36.7 pct to 67.1 million euros, EBITDA showed a loss of 2.6 million euros, pre-tax losses totaled 9.0 million euros and net after tax losses totaled 7.0 million euros in the first half of 2009.

    [14] Stocks end flat on Fri.

    Greek stocks ended flat in the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, with the composite index losing 0.16 pct to end at 2,540.40 points. Turnover was a strong 269 million euros, of which 16.9 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved downwards, with the Banks (2.68 pct), Chemicals (2.55 pct) and Health (2.45 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Travel (5.19 pct), Telecoms (4.02 pct) and Oil (3.99 pct) scored gains.

    The FTSE 20 index eased 0.83 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.84 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index fell 0.86 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 128 to 78 with another 56 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -1.23%

    Industrials: -0.38%

    Commercial: -0.72%

    Construction: +0.90%

    Media: -2.35%

    Oil & Gas: +3.99%

    Personal & Household: +1.61%

    Raw Materials: +0.48%

    Travel & Leisure: +5.19%

    Technology: -0.07%

    Telecoms: +4.02%

    Banks: -2.68%

    Food & Beverages: -0.73%

    Health: -2.45%

    Utilities: +1.68%

    Chemicals: -2.55%

    Financial Services: -0.16%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, Piraeus Bank and OTE.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 12.00

    ATEbank: 1.60

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 16.81

    HBC Coca Cola: 16.00

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.44

    National Bank of Greece: 23.32

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 10.18

    Intralot: 4.47

    OPAP: 17.28

    OTE: 11.13

    Bank of Piraeus: 11.18

    Titan: 21.25

    [15] ADEX closing report

    ‘he September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.30 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Friday, with turnover shrinking to 65.446 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 6,335 contracts worth 42.792 million euros, with 22,486 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 21,639 contracts worth 22.654 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Popular Bank's contracts (3,428), followed by Eurobank (1,058), OTE (3,301), PPC (1,099), OPAP (1,599), Piraeus Bank (1,024), National Bank (2,689), Alpha Bank (1,615), GEK (1,100), Hellenic Postbank (904) and Motor Oil (973).

    [16] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market remained a heavy 2.5 billion euros on Friday, with the yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds rising slightly to 121 basis points. The Greek bond yielded 4.50 pct and the German Bund 3.29 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.31 pct, the six-month rate was 1.08 pct, the three-month rate 0.82 pct and the one-month rate 0.48 pct.

    [17] Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/Monday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.447

    Pound sterling 0.885

    Danish kroner 7.502

    Swedish kroner 10.229

    Japanese yen 135.83

    Swiss franc 1.529

    Norwegian kroner 8.698

    Canadian dollar 1.564

    Australian dollar 1.713

    General News

    [18] Ieronymos begins visit to Thessaloniki

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos on Friday visited a Roma (gypsy) settlement in the west Thessaloniki district of Dendropotamos.

    Ieronymos expressed his gratitude and referred to the need of cooperation between Church and local authorities.

    Later, the Archbishop paid a visit to the Diavata correctional facility, where he wished inmates a smooth and easy rehabilitation into society after their release. He also toured a local drug rehabilitation centre in the Sindos district, stressing that the Church of Greece is eying the construction of a similar centre in the greater Athens area.

    [19] Ermis e-governance candidate or EU award

    Greece's public administration portal ermis.gov.gr -- following a interior ministry proposal -- will be candidate for the European awards e-Government 2009 bestowed by the EU Swedish presidency and the European Commission.

    Ermis will participate in the category concerning the most effective public administration together with 20 other competitors from Europe.

    [20] Protest rally in Athens for Attica wildfires

    About 500 people responded to the call by "Bloggers" and participated in a protest rally in downtown Syntagma Square on Friday evening, concerning the recent wildfires in the Attica prefecture.

    The demonstrators, wearing black clothes and holding burnt branches and banners, expressed their discontent over inadequate protection for forests and called for immediate hirings in the Fire Brigade and the forestry service, as well as the granting of permanent status for contract workers.

    [21] Heroin dealing arrest in Athens

    A 38-year old Albanian national was arrested on Thursday in Athens on felony drug dealing charges. Police reportedly found slightly more than three kilos of heroin, five mobile phones and 3,850 euros on his possession. The suspect was sent before a local prosecutor.

    Weather Forecast

    [22] Fair on Saturday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 2-5 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 16C and 35C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 20C to 34C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 20C to 32C.

    [23] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The wildfires' aftermath, recurrent press speculation over Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' political moves ahead of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) and the death of a fire-fighter aircraft pilot in the line of duty, dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "55,000 civil servants to be upgraded".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Greek business world considers a New Democracy-PASOK co-governance necessary".

    AVGHI: "Karamanlis threatens with early elections, co-governance and recommendations".

    AVRIANI: "Suggestion for early elections in October".

    ELEFTHEROS: "ND's deputies hide from supporters".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA : "Karamanlis has ordered polls to decide his next actions".

    ESTIA: "Amateurs in state administration - Experts must come from abroad".

    ETHNOS : Strong pressure for early elections".

    KATHIMERINI: "Report on wildires burns Fire Brigade - Who's responsible for disaster".

    LOGOS: "PM's dilemma : Cabinet reshuffle or early elections".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Workers united must stop crimes in work places".

    TA NEA: "Early elections scenarios grow".

    TO VIMA: "Business world pressure on Karamanlis to clear political landscape".

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS


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