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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-10-21

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

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

Friday, 21 October 2016 Issue No: 5273

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Alexis Tsipras meets EP President Martin Schulz for talks focusing on Greece's debt
  • [02] Greece's debt to be discussed at ECON committee but this not an EP 'initiative', Schulz says
  • [03] Socialists and Democrats leader Pittella makes plea negotiations on Greek debt to start
  • [04] Debt relief necessary but not panacea, SEV reports
  • [05] Greece and institutions to launch negotiations for 2nd programme review on Friday
  • [06] If TV licencing law is found unconstitutional, this will mean a return to the previous status quo, Pappas says
  • [07] State Min Pappas: National Council for Radio and Television on consensus terms
  • [08] Justice minister says won't comment on TV licneing case to avoid affecting court
  • [09] We are experiencing a crisis of Justice, says ND spokesman Koumoutsakos
  • [10] KKE: People should turn their back to the political dispute on TV licences and organise their battle
  • [11] Head of Alpha TV Dimitris Kontominas charged with tax evasion, money-laundering
  • [12] Turkish coast guard plane flies over Greek islet in Oinousses complex
  • [13] Turkish fighter jets enter Athens FIR, violate airspace
  • [14] Anti-war, pro-refugee groups march in central Athens
  • [15] ELA borrowing ceiling unchanged for Greek banks
  • [16] Fraport Greece unveils plans for Macedonia airport
  • [17] 1st Greek-Russian energy conference in Athens
  • [18] Property prices in free-fall during the crisis, BoG says
  • [19] NBG Business Seeds announces cooperation with Census
  • [20] Greek general gov't deficit up, public debt down in 2015
  • [21] Greek industrial turnover index up 0.2 pct in Aug
  • [22] Consolidation trend grows in supermarket sector
  • [23] Sarantis Group says sales up 19.86 pct in Jan-Sept
  • [24] Chipita to invest in P.G.Nikas
  • [25] OTIS presents new generation lifts
  • [26] Fur Shopping Festival in Kastoria
  • [27] Forever 21 to begin operations in Greece
  • [28] Greek stocks end slightly up
  • [29] Greek bond market closing report
  • [30] 30th Athens Run to gather 20,000 participants on Sunday
  • [31] Pamela Anderson and Vivienne Westwood for shooting on the island of Hydra
  • [32] Light earthquake jolts Ioannina
  • [33] Rain on Friday
  • [34] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Alexis Tsipras meets EP President Martin Schulz for talks focusing on Greece's debt

    BRUSSELS (ANA/ M. Aroni)

    The need to adhere to agreements regarding the sustainability of Greece's debt was the central message during a meeting between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and European Parliament President Martin Schulz held on Thursday, shortly before the start of the European Council's first session, government sources said.

    Tsipras raised the issue of the debt and said the Greek government intended to wrap up the second review of the Greek programme quickly and within deadlines, the sources added. The Greek prime minister also pointed out that completion of the second review was linked to the May agreement on Greece's debt, expressing his desire that a solution shall be found by the end of this year that will make the debt sustainable.

    The sources reported that Schulz appeared open to Greek positions and noted that the European Parliament, especially the Economic Affairs and Employment Committees, have helped to promote the discussion on the debt and will continue to do so.

    Tsipras is scheduled to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday morning, while sources said that meetings on the sidelines of the summit will also take place with French President Francois Hollande and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

    [02] Greece's debt to be discussed at ECON committee but this not an EP 'initiative', Schulz says

    BRUSSELS (ANA/ M. Aroni)

    The issue of Greece's debt will be on the agenda at an upcoming meeting of the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) but this does not constitute a specific European Parliament initiative on this issue, EP President Martin Schulz said in a press conference on Thursday.

    He was replying to press questions asking him to clarify whether the European Parliament intended to launch an initiative on Greek debt, "as Greek government sources have claimed."

    "I have heard that rumour also and as President of the Parliament I cannot reply to that question because I was surprised to hear that there are rumours that the European Parliament will take an initiative. I spoke with Alexis Tsipras about the situation with the debt, about the ongoing debate in Greece, and the prime minister spoke with me about the discussions the government in Greece has with the European Stability Mechanism, with the European Commission, the European Central Bank, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). I think the source of this rumour is that, in the frame of the responsibility of our Economic and Monetary Committee, the ECON Committee of the European Parliament, it will be on the agenda of one of the meetings of this committee but that is quite normal; it is not an specific initiative of the European Parliament," Schulz replied.

    [03] Socialists and Democrats leader Pittella makes plea negotiations on Greek debt to start

    BRUSSELS (ANA/Ch.Vassilaki)

    President of the Socialists and Democrats in the europarliament Gianni Pittella made a plea to Greece's lenders to start the negotiations on the debt relief, after his meeting on Wednesday in Brussels with PASOK party leader Fofi Gennimata.

    "We will not allow a punishing approach against the Greek people. The vulptures in Europe must understand that the Greeks have already contributed a lot. It is time for Europe to support the Greek people's efforts and to begin the discussion on the relief of the Greek debt. All member states should understand that Greece can't be left alone in dealing with the refugees crisis," said Pittella and Gennimata in joint statements after their meeting.

    [04] Debt relief necessary but not panacea, SEV reports

    A debt relief deal is necessary but not a panacea, the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEV) said on Thursday and noted it supported an IMF proposal for a front-loaded restructuring. At the end Eurogroup's decision will prevail as "elections in France and Germany are delaying developments," SEV added.

    Commenting on a difference of views between the IMF and European partners over Greek debt relief measures, SEV said "the country was stuck in a situation where investors cannot clearly evaluate debt sustainability, which according to the Eurogroup depends on a strict implementation of memorandums in the decades to come."

    In a weekly bulletin on economic developments, SEV stressed that a decision reached in a May 25 Eurogroup - apparently fully accepted by the Greek side - acknowledged it was almost impossible to take specific measures here and now - as wished by the IMF, which will continue evaluating the Greek economy and has lent the country 32.1 billion euros in the first two memorandums.

    The Federation said that the immediate announcement of substantial debt relief "would sent a message to markets that Greek debt was sustainable and that in turn could improve significantly investors' expectations and restore confidence in the outlook of the Greek economy, accelerating a Greek economic recovery and an exit from the crisis". SEV, however, added that no investor would bring his money to the country just because it was given debt relief but that a deeper, essential and permanent change in the way the state and the economy operate was needed.

    SEV noted that from the 59 key deliverables of this review, only five directly linked with market competitiveness have been implemented.

    [05] Greece and institutions to launch negotiations for 2nd programme review on Friday

    The new, 'improved' privatisation fund for Greece, the Hellenic Holdings and Property Company, will be the first item on the agenda on Friday, during the start of negotiations between Greek authorities and the institutions representing its creditors on the second review of the Greek programme.

    The start of talks was delayed a few days but the government's financial team has indicated that the review must be concluded before the Eurogroup on December 5. In this way, Eurogroup ministers will be able to make a decision on debt relief for Greece that will allow it to join the European Central Bank's quantitative easing (QE) programme.

    The issues to be negotiated include changes in labour law, the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework and primary surpluses, out-of-court dispute resolution for non-performing loans, greater competition in the engineering profession, licensing and energy market, public administration, privatisations and staffing for the new privatisation fund.

    Sources said that the heads of the institutions' missions for Greece will remain in Athens for roughly a week and then return after the Eurogroup meeting on November 7 since the first week of the next month is considered a holiday in Europe.

    The scheduled meetings on Friday, according to finance ministry sources, are as follows:

    10:00 - 11:30 Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, to discuss the new 'hyperfund'

    11:30 - 12:00 Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, on state arrears

    12:00 - 13:00 Education Minister Nikos Filis, on education

    16:00 - 17:00 Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos, on corruption

    17:00 - 18:00 Environment and Energy Minister Panos Skourletis, on energy and land cadastre

    [06] If TV licencing law is found unconstitutional, this will mean a return to the previous status quo, Pappas says

    If the Council of State finds a law that transferred powers to regulate the broadcast media to the government unconstitutional, there will be no choice but to return to the previous status quo for television stations, Minister of State Nikos Pappas said while speaking on the radio station 'Parapolitika' on Thursday.

    "If the law is judged constitutional the process ends there, we pass on to the new television landscape and a new day. If it is judged unconstitutional, and especially as regards the aspect of powers - in other words, if the CoS expresses the view that in no case and for no reason should executive power have undertaken to organise the tender procedure - you understand that the government's hands are tied. There is no option afterward but to return exactly to the status quo ante of unconstitutional operation without a licence of television stations," Pappas said.

    He underlined that the television stations had no operating licence, but only a state of "temporary legal operation," and had been run by a "closed club" of media owners "pirating" the country's broadcasting spectrum.

    Pappas repeated that the government will continue to strive for consensus, noting that main opposition New Democracy had blocked efforts to form a new National Council for Radio and Television (NCRTV) in advance in opposition to the new law.

    In the case that the law was found unconstitutional, the minister said that an extremely lengthy and time-consuming process would follow, since it would require the formation of the NCRTV and the launch of all legal procedures.

    "In this case we return to a status quo in television that the constitutional court has itself described as illegal," he added.

    Regarding a recently tabled then hastily withdrawn amendment to the original law, Pappas insisted that he will table this in Parliament again, irrespective of when the Council of State reached its decision. "This process of the transition to the new television landscape cannot be postponed indefinitely," he noted, pointing that there were legal provisions before his own law that forbid broadcasts by unlicensed television stations.

    [07] State Min Pappas: National Council for Radio and Television on consensus terms

    The duty of all political forces for the establishment of the National Council for Radio and Television stems from the Constitution and is constant, State Minister Nikos Pappas said late on Wednesday in an interview with Skai TV.

    Pappas also stressed the importance of its establishment for the licensing of regional channels and described the new law on TV licences "an important reform that sets the public interest as a priority."

    Asked on the jobs to be lost after the shutting down of TV stations, he said that jobs are now more secured as the government puts an end to the previous, illegal situation of overdebted and unviable enterprises. "Before that law, there were no regulations and jobs were in danger," he stated.

    [08] Justice minister says won't comment on TV licneing case to avoid affecting court

    Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos said on Thursday he doesn't want to comment on the ongoing legal case on the government's TV licencing law which is being heard at the Council of State because he doesn't want to sway justice.

    "Personally, on the issue of constitutionality [of the law] I have argued analytically in parliament. I'm tempted to comment again with arguments on this issue, however I won't do it ... I read things I disagree with, but I don't talk because I don't want, even in the least way, to influence the judiciary. I also did not affect it in any way, not open, or secret, anyone," the minister told Real FM radio station.

    He also rejected claims the government is attempting to manipulate top court judges discussing the TV licensing law, saying the government is under fire.

    "The government is under fire [about the case], but this is not the reality ... I have not come in contact with any judge, I have not done anything that could sway the court."

    [09] We are experiencing a crisis of Justice, says ND spokesman Koumoutsakos

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos on Thursday during a press briefing lashed out at the government on the issue of TV licences and the developments in justice.

    As he said, "a black cloud has started covering the Justice."

    "We are experiencing the degradation of the institutions and the offence of the Justice," he underlined adding that dark manipulations in Justice have been noticed.

    "In addition to the economic crisis, we also have a crisis of Justice," Koumoutsakos noted and called on citizens to a "democratic vigilance."

    Moreover, he referred to the visit of the US President Barack Obama. "Every such visit is important, however, as all visits it will be judged by the results."

    [10] KKE: People should turn their back to the political dispute on TV licences and organise their battle

    SYRIZA-Independent Greeks government, main opposition New Democracy (ND) along with the other "partners' of the 3rd memorandum have every interest the political controversy to focus on corruption which they support and not on the harsh measures of the second review" said a Communist Party (KKE) announcement on Thursday on the latest political developments.

    "On the other hand the people's interest is to turn their back to the political and business dispute and to organise their battle" said KKE announcement.

    [11] Head of Alpha TV Dimitris Kontominas charged with tax evasion, money-laundering

    The head of Alpha TV Dimitris Kontominas, a businessman that has also been involved in insurance, retail trade and cinema, was on Thursday charged with criminal counts of tax evasion and legalising income from illegal activity following an investigation carried out by financial prosecutors.

    The charge concerns a sum of roughly 48 million euros that arose as a discrepancy between Kontominas' declared income and the bank deposits in his name during the period 2006-2008.

    The case against Kontominas was the result of a roughly year-long investigation by financial prosecutors working with unified lists of tax-evaders, who had summoned him to explain the discrepancies in his financial affairs for the period in question. Kontominas denied committing any illegal act and had resorted to the General Secretariat for Public Revenues office for settling disputes to challenge the accusations issued against him by tax authorities. After a second review of the figures, however, his case against them was dismissed.

    A year ago financial prosecutors had issued an order freezing Kontominas' assets up to the sum of 100 million euros. The case file has now been forwarded from the first-instance court prosecutors to a special magistrate, who will summon the businessman to answer to the charges made against him.

    [12] Turkish coast guard plane flies over Greek islet in Oinousses complex

    A Turkish coast guard CN-235 aircraft carried out two overflights of the Greek islet of Panagia, a part of the Oinousses island complex, in the early hours of Thursday morning.

    According to the Hellenic National Defence General Staff (HNDGS), the Turkish plane entered the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) north of the Greek island of Chios without submitting flight plans, in an infringement of air traffic regulations in the Athens FIR at 3:38 on Thursday morning.

    One minute later, the aircraft flew over the islet Panagia at a height of 3,400 feet and at 3:40 exited the Athens FIR. The same aircraft then entered the Athens FIR once more, again without submitting flight plans, at 5:32 and once again flew over Panagia at the same altitude, leaving the Athens FIR one minute later. The Turkish CN-235 was identified by a Greek fighter jet.

    It is believed that the Dutch frigate HNLMS De Ruyter, currently operating north of Chios as part of the NATO mission in the Aegean, also became aware of the Turkish aircraft's illegal activities.

    [13] Turkish fighter jets enter Athens FIR, violate airspace

    Four Turkish fighter jets and two CN-235 entered Athens' FIR on Thursday without submitting flight plans. Greek authorities registered six violations of air traffic rules in the FIR which turned into 28 violations of national airspace in several parts of the Aegean.

    Most of the violations were committed by one of the CN-235s. Two of the national airspace violations were committed by the Turkish coastguard aircraft which flew over the islet of Panagia of the Oinouses island complex at 3,400 feet at 03:39 and 05:32 respectively. According to the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, in all cases the Turkish aircraft were recognized and intercepted by Greek fighter jets. In two instances, the interception developed into a dogfight. The two Turkish aircraft were armed.

    This is the third time that there's a dogfight between Greek and Turkish fighter jets since the failed coup attempt in Turkey.

    [14] Anti-war, pro-refugee groups march in central Athens

    Anti-war and pro-refugee groups concluded their protest march at the center of Athens on Thursday evening chanting slogans against the war and the bombing of Syria.

    Refugees from the camps in Lavrio, Eleonas, Elefsina and Skaramangas also participated in the peaceful march which made a brief stop in front of the parliament and the offices of the European Union.

    Protesters were demanding open borders, equal rights and protection for refugees, as well as an end to the war in Syria and the inclusion of children refugees in Greek schools. The march ended in front of the American embassy.

    Financial News

    [15] ELA borrowing ceiling unchanged for Greek banks

    European Central Bank's board on Thursday approved a request by the Bank of Greece to leave the borrowing ceiling for Greek banks through the Emergency Liquidity Assistance mechanism ELA unchanged at 51.8 billion euros until Wednesday, 2 November.

    The Greek central bank said this development reflected a stabilisation in liquidity conditions in Greek banks, taking in mind deposit flows in the private sector.

    [16] Fraport Greece unveils plans for Macedonia airport

    Fraport Greece presented its plans for upgrading the Macedonia airport in Thessaloniki, the largest of the 14 regional airports that will soon pass under its management.

    The plans envisage that by 2020 Thessaloniki will have one of the best airports in the world, with passenger traffic expected to increase by 48 pct by 2026, signalling a new era for tourism in the city and the wider region.

    The airport will be double in size, with the space of the terminal station rising from 25,000 sq.m. to 57,000 sq.m.. Check-in stations will rise by 47 pct, baggage zones rising by 75 pct, the number of gates rising 50 pct and security zones in the airport to double in numbers. The project will also include a reorganization of parking slots, with the creation of power-in/push-back positions, new tarmac, a new fire station, all based on international standards. The number of passengers in the airport was 5.3 million in 2015 and it is projected to rise to 6.5 pct in 2020 and 7.9 million in 2026. Fraport Greece's CEO Alexander Zinell, said that cost per passenger will not surpass 1.5 euros for the next four years.

    Fraport Greece expressed its intention to cooperate with professionals and enterprises in Thessaloniki and the wider region, while Dimitris Bakatselos, president of the Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry underlined the importance of this investment.

    Stergios Pitsiorlas, president of Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, said that a total of 40,000 Greeks have already submit their resumes to Fraport Greece, highlighting "the need for more such projects that will create job positions".

    Fraport Greece has made 70 hirings so far, while it is expected to create 530 job positions in Thessaloniki, Zinell said.

    Fraport Greece will take over the operation, maintenance and development of 14 regional airports for a period of 40 years and will invest around 330 million euros by 2020, with the prospect of investing more than 1.0 billion euros in total.

    [17] 1st Greek-Russian energy conference in Athens

    A Greek-Russian energy conference, to be held November 2 at Zappeion Hall, in the framework of the 4th Greek-Russian Forum, will cover the sphere of bilateral relations focusing on energy and its prospects.

    The energy conference, to be held under the auspices of the Greek Foreign Affairs ministry and the Russian embassy in Greece, will be part of the official program of the Greece-Russia Year of Friendship 2016 and will be addressed by President of the Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos, the Foreign Ministers of the two countries, Sergey Lavrov and Nikos Kotzias, Environment and Energy Minister Panos Skourletis and Russian Energy Minister Yanovsky Anatoly, along with business executives from the energy sector.

    The conference will examine bilateral cooperation and geostrategic energy issues, focusing on natural gas and electricity.

    The conference will be organized by the Hellenic Association for Energy Economics and Pommel Holdings Inc.

    [18] Property prices in free-fall during the crisis, BoG says

    Property prices are in free-fall, with apartment prices down 41.4 pct in the 2006-2016 period, Th. Mitrakos, vice-governor of the Bank of Greece said on Thursday.

    Addressing a real estate conference, Mitrakos said nominal prices for office space and high-standard commercial property fell by 30 pct in the period from 2010 until the end of 2015, while revenue from leasing offices stabilised in 2015 and revenue from leasing commercial property fell 6.3 pct in the country. In total, a decline in revenue from leasing offices and commercial property amounted to around 30 pct and 35 pct, respectively, since 2010.

    The central banker noted that these figures were of particular importance to the banking sector as a reduction in property prices reduced the value of loan guarantees, negatively affecting the credit behavior of borrowers and possible revenue from the liquidation of guarantees. This trend was even more important since commercial and housing property accounted for 82 pct of guarantees held by banks for loans to enterprises and households, without taking into account personal and corporate guarantees.

    The Bank of Greece in 2015, with the help of an independent advisor, drafted a survey to categorize non-performing loans and to evaluate the commercial banks' tool kit for dealing with this problem. The findings of the survey were offered to credit institutions which were called to integrated them into their strategic and business plans for the management of NPLs. Mitrakos said that an obligation by banks to achieve specific operating goals on management of NPLs will have a positive contribution. These goals were agreed in June 2016 after a consultation between the Bank of Greece, with the European Central Bank and the four systemic banks. Greek banks pledged to reduce their NPLs by around 40 pct (or around 40 billion euros) by the end of 2019.

    [19] NBG Business Seeds announces cooperation with Census

    National Bank on Thursday announced the beginning of a cooperation with Census in the framework okf encouraging and developing young entrepreneurship, innovation and extroversion of its NBG Business Seeds program.

    The cooperation envisages the supply of advanced IT security services from Census to all startup companies selected by the bank to particpate in its NBG Business Seeds program, such as penetration test, application security testing.

    The NBG Business Seeds program includes actions to highlight and promote innovative ideas and projects, education and group guidance and services of infrastructure, networking and funding. The program also includes an annual innovation and technology contest, focusing on supporting the implementation of selected and awarded ideas. In cooperation with the Economics University of Athens and the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEB), selected ideas are included in education and business programs, get free services and products from Amazon and Microsoft, free services from Google and Census along with incubation services in cooperation with incubator 1776 (based in the US).

    The program also envisages focused funding actions and participation in equity capital and guidance and networking actions in cooperation with Grant Thornton, Endeavor Greece, American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Watson Farley & Williams.

    [20] Greek general gov't deficit up, public debt down in 2015

    General government deficit totaled 13.2 billion euros, or 7.5 pct of GDP at the end of 2015, according to revised fiscal figures sent to Eurostat by Hellenic Statistical Authority in the framework of an excessive fiscal deficit procedure.

    The country's public debt totaled 311.7 billion euros or 177.4 pct of GDP, the statistics service said on Thursday.

    The statistics service noted that this deficit did not cover the primary balance that the country will present to its creditors based on a fiscal adjustment program.

    The general government deficit was 13.2 billion euros at the end of 2015 (7.5 pct of GDP), from 6.4 billion euros or 3.6 pct of GDP in 2014. The deficit was 7.2 pct of GPD in the first estimate.

    The public debt was 311.7 billion euros of 177.4 pct of GDP in 2015, from 319.7 billion or 179.7 pct of GDP in 2014. The first estimate showed a public debt of 176.9 pct of GDP. The country's Gross Domestic Product continues falling since 2012 when it was 191.2 billion euros. It fell to 180.6 billion in 2013, 177.9 billion in 2014 and 175.7 billion in 2015.

    General government balance was burdened with 7.17 billion euros from the financial support offered to financial institutions in 2015.

    [21] Greek industrial turnover index up 0.2 pct in Aug

    Greek composite turnover index in the industrial sector (measuring both the domestic and external markets) grew 0.2 pct in August this year compared with the same month in 2015, after an 18 pct drop recorded in the 2015-2014 period, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Thursday.

    The statistics service, in a report, attributed this development to a 2.0 pct increase in the mining turnover index and a 0.2 pct rise in the manufacturing turnover index. The domestic turnover index grew 6.6 pct in August, while the external market index fell 8.7 pct.

    [22] Consolidation trend grows in supermarket sector

    "Economic conditions deteriorated gradually in 2015 because of snap elections, prolonged negotiations between the Greek government and its creditors and the closing of banks in July, which caused a climate of uncertainty in the retail commerce sector," Alexis Nikolaidis, Economic Research & Sectorial Studies Senior Analyst in IBHS SA said commenting on a survey on the supermarket sector in Greece.

    This environment negatively affected the sector, as the market value of the supermarket sector dropped around 2.0 pct in 2015. More analytically, food sales grew 1.3 pct in the first half of 2015, but developments later with the imposition of capital controls in July caused a purchase spree in supermarket with sales in the first week of July jumping more than 30 pct -a temporary phenomenon as sales fell significantly in the following weeks.

    An increase in VAT on several product and services and a negative sentiment among consumers led the food market to a 5.0 pct decline in the second half of the year. Despite prevailing adverse conditions, the largest players in the sector continued inventing on network expansion, purchasing smaller companies and intensifying a consolidation trend. This trend is supported by banks which seem willing to fund business formations with more healthy financial figures.

    Following latest developments (partnership between Sklavenitis and Marinopoulos, acquisition of Veropoulos by Metro, purcahse of Makro Cash & Carry and Chalkiadakis by Sklavenitis), the top five super market chains control around 75 pct of the market.

    Maria Metaxogeni, chief executive in IBHS said that "continuing takeovers and partnerships will lead to the creation of more robust business groups with stronger negotiating power towards suppliers. On the other hand, smaller super markets numbers will decline because of their inability to compete in a declining market".

    The survey analyzed financial reports by 112 enterprises in the sector. Accumulated turnover grew 1.6 pct in 2014 to 7.45 billion euros, EBITDA rose 8.0 pct to 334.39 million euros and pre-tax earnings rose 8.7 pct to 153 million. Average EBITDA margin eased to 3.7 pct and capital leverage improved slightly to 2.1/1

    [23] Sarantis Group says sales up 19.86 pct in Jan-Sept

    Sarantis Group said sales grew 19.86 pct in the nine-month period from January to September to 239.92 million euros, from 200.17 million in the corresponding period in 2015.

    The group said "promotion actions, a constant renewal of product portfolio and new additions to the group's portfolio, contributed to its further growth. Group sales, excluding recent acquisitions, grew 12.85 pct compared with the nine-month period in 2015".

    Greek sales grew 16.88 pct to 89.88 million euros, while international sales -accounting for 62.54 pct of total group sales- rose 21.72 pct to 150.04 million euros. EBITDA rose 37.61 pct to 25.44 million euros from 18.49 million last year, while pre-tax and interest earnings jumped 41.76 pct to 22.20 million euros from 15.66 million in 2015 and EBIT margin rose to 9.25 pct from 7.82 pct over the same period, respectively.

    Sarantis Group expects this year's sales to grow by 11.2 pct and net earnings to rise by 15 pct.

    [24] Chipita to invest in P.G.Nikas

    Chipita SA will take over exclusively an investment and a restructuring plan for P.G.Nikas after Chipita and Impala Invest BV announced their decision not to continue their cooperation in the investment.

    "This joint decision was taken following a difference in views over strategic options for the future of Nikas and was reached in full understanding, with relations between the two companies remaining impecable," Chipita said in a statement.

    Impala Invest BV continues its autonomous presence in the Greek market through its subsidiary Lakoniki Foods SA.

    [25] OTIS presents new generation lifts

    OTIS presented its new generation lifts Gen2 in the Greek market during an interactive event with its partners in Gazarte, Athens.

    The new lifts combine state-of-the-art design with smart operations, offering more than 400,000 combinations in design with high-end technologies that will change the lift experience. OTIS lifts offer an architect the opportunity to create another room in a building, which beyond transferring passengers also contributes in upgrading building quality.

    "Lifts are at the heart of buildings," Nasos Bikas, chairman and chief executive of OTIS Greece, Cyprus and Western Balkans said during the even addressing the company's partners. "They are part of our experience in an office, or a hotel, but oftenly oversaw in the designing of a building. More than a transport mean, a lift and a lobby is a sign of luxury and design," Bikas said.

    The new Gen2 lift has a full range of multimedia services, offering online information to passengers and allowing the use of smartphone in calling for a lift from a distance.

    [26] Fur Shopping Festival in Kastoria

    The 1st Fur Shopping Festival will be held in the northern Greek city of Kastoria from November 3 to November 6.

    The four-day festival is organised by KASTORIA International Fur Fair and will take place at the International Exhibition Center of Kastoria.

    Visitors will have the chance to see and buy fur products at low prices.

    [27] Forever 21 to begin operations in Greece

    Forever 21, the fifth largest fashion retail company in the US, plans to begin operations in Greece in the first half of 2017.

    In September, Forever 21 opened four new stores in its European network of Teren Management Europe, the exclusive franchisee of the brand for 12 European countries. These were located in Bucharest (Romania), Bratislava (Slovakia), Lodz (Poland) and Prague (Czech Republic). The company will open its second store in Poznan (Poland) this month and its first in Lisbon (Portugal).

    Teren Management Europe launched in its first Forever 21 store in April 2016 and plans to operate a network of 20 stores in 12 European countries by the end of 2017 (Bulgaria, Switzerland, Greece, Italy, Spain, Cyprus, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Czech Republic).

    Forever 21 operates a network of 750 stores in 49 countries around the world. It was founded in 1984 and it is based in Los Angeles.

    [28] Greek stocks end slightly up

    Greek stocks ended slightly higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday with the composite index of the market rising 0.49 pct to end at 595.90 points. Turnover was a thin 27.81 million euros in volume of 39.85 million shares. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 63 to 45 with another 16 isues unchanged.

    The Large Cap index rose 0.50 pct and the Mid Cap index rose 0.36 pct. Among market sectors, Banks rose 1.27 pct, followed by Travel and Raw Materials. On the other hand, the Media sector fell 8.86 pct and the Commerce sector eased 1.11 pct. Boutaris recorded the biggest daily percentage gains (18.75 pct), followed by Compucon (16.67 pct) and National Bank (16.67 pct), while on the other hand, Alpha Bank, Perseus and Pegasus suffered the heaviest percentage losses.

    [29] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank substantially to 8.29 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, from 8.38 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 8.30 pct and the German Bund yielding 0.01 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets interest rates moved lower. The 12-month rate was -0.074 pct, the nine-month rate fell to -0.135 pct from -0.133 pct, the six-month rate fell to -0.214 pct from -0.209 pct, the three-month rate eased to -0.317 pct from -0.313 pct and the one-month rate fell to -0.377 pct.

    General News

    [30] 30th Athens Run to gather 20,000 participants on Sunday

    More than 20,000 runners are expected to participate at the 30th Athens Run on Sunday (Oct. 23) exceeding previous numbers, the city hall said on Thursday.

    Athens mayor Giorgos Kaminis will kick off the events which will start from the Panathenaic Stadium at 09:30 for the 10km and 5km races and at 09:40 for the 3km race. A separate race for people with disability will start at 09:50 outside the National Gallery. All races will conclude at the stadium.

    The athletic event is organized by the City of Athens Youth and Sports Organisation and action group "Oli Mazi Boroume", who have asked participants to donate food with long storage life ahead of the event.

    [31] Pamela Anderson and Vivienne Westwood for shooting on the island of Hydra

    American actress Pamela Anderson and British designer Vivienne Westwood are visiting the island of Hydra. The 49-year old popular actress is the star of Westwood's new collection.

    Photographer Juergen Teller is the photographer of Westwood's collection SS17.

    [32] Light earthquake jolts Ioannina

    A light earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale was recorded at 00:23 in Ioannina.

    According to seismologists, the quake was part of the aftershock sequence and there is no reason for concern.

    The quake, which was felt in the wider region of Epirus, Corfu and Lefkada, was at 10 klm depth.

    Weather forecast

    [33] Rain on Friday

    Rain and winds from variable directions are forecast for Friday. Wind velocity will reach 6 on Richter scale. Rain and storms in the afternoon in the northern and western parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 10C to 22C. Heavy rain in most parts of eastern Greece and temperatures between 12C and 22C. Partly cloudy with a chance of rain over the Aegean islands and Crete, 17C-23C. Rain mostly in the afternoon in Athens, 13C-22C. Rain in Thessaloniki, 12C-18C.

    [34] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    AVGHI: New Democracy's 'mine' to the institutions

    DIMOKRATIA: Pink and black for the TV channels

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Siege

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Auxiliary pensions of 16 euros

    ETHNOS: Guidelines for freelancers

    IMERISSIA: The generation of 300 euros

    KATHIMERINI: Government in defence

    RIZOSPASTIS: Hard war of monopolies

    NAFTEMPORIKI: 33.6 billion debt to social security funds

    TA NEA: Government before a black hole

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