Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-07-15
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 15/07/1998 (ANA)
- Commercial Bank announces tender for 51% of Ionian through bourse
- New hydrocarbon deposits discovered around main Prinos field
- Australian scholar awarded 'Aristotle '98' prize
- Reports cite EU Commission approval for OA equity capital increase
- EOT concern over OA performance
- Olympic 2004 sites confirmed
- Pangalos meets Iranian housing minister
- Europe-wide crime-fighting convention tabled in Parliament
- Internet site for athletic events
- Greek unemployment rate at 10.3 percent
- Profit-taking selling ends rally of prices
- Alpha Ependyseon results
- 'Heleco '99' in Thessaloniki
- Union of Greek banks meeting with employers', traders' group
- Committee evaluates 3 bids for Cretabank
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Commercial Bank announces tender for 51% of Ionian through bourse
Commercial Bank of Greece, the country's second largest bank, yesterday
officially invited tenders for the sale of a 51 percent stake in Ionian
Bank through the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE).
A bank announcement said that bids should be submitted to the ASE's board
on Aug. 24.
Commercial Bank is selling 14.3 million common shares. It will retain a 7
per cent stake in Ionian after the sale. Under the terms of the sale the
transaction must be made in cash.
The announcement also underlines that the successful buyer must honour
rights and obligations covering Ionian Bank's staff and ensure the self-
sufficiency of the bank's insurance fund.
Employees at Ionian Bank last month ended a six-week strike to protest the
bank's privatisation after receiving government assurances that Ionian's
future buyer will have to honour the terms of collective agreements signed
by management and staff.
Commenting on the tender announcement,the Union of Ionian Bank Employees
said that jobs are not safeguarded in the event of Ionian's merger or
However, the union recognises that a clause on the insurance issue
contained in the proclamation is positive although it is linked to the
change in the fund's charter, saying Labour Minister Miltiades Papaioannou
has committed himself on the issue.
New hydrocarbon deposits discovered around main Prinos field
Geophysical and seismological research conducted by experts from Europe and
the United States on behalf of the Northern Aegean Petroleum Co. (NAPC) has
revealed the existence of five more hydrocarbon deposits in the Gulf of
The newly discovered deposits are located in regions around the "parent"
deposit - the Prinos field - near the island of Thassos. According to
reports, obtained data was analysed at the Petroleum Institute in Houston,
with results considered particularly encouraging.
The consortium, compising NAPC and the Greek state, has decided to carry
out initial exploratory drilling operations, the first of which will start
in August west-northwest of Thassos in the Gulf of Kavala.
Depending on results the consortium will decide on a third drilling
operation in the same area. The find is considered to give a "new lease on
life" of at least 10 years for oil production from the Prinos field.
NAPC officials said that unless the two drilling operations are carried out
soon production from the "parent" deposit at Prinos will drop to 5,500-6,
000 barrels a day and the consortium will be obliged to operate at a
Australian scholar awarded 'Aristotle '98' prize
Australian academic Michael Osborne, the vice-rector at Melbourne's La
Trobe University, yesterday received the "Aristotle '98" award, a
distinction honouring foreign scholars who promote Hellenic culture in
their respective countries.
"We believe the influence of Greek culture is evident in both Hellenism and
the international community...irrespective of what other countries will do,
we will keep departments of Greek studies operating," Prof. Osborne
The award was presented by Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Patsalnikos
during a ceremony at the ministry.
Reports cite EU Commission approval for OA equity capital increase
The European Commission has approved a 22-billion-drachma equity capital
increase for ailing Olympic Airways' restructuring programme, according to
The assurance was given by EU Commissioner for Transports Neil Kinnock to
Greek Transport Minister Tassos Mantelis last Saturday, during a visit by
the latter to Yugoslavia. Even though the original request was for 35
billion drachmas, the Commission excluded 13 billion drachmas that were
used for voluntary retirement and insurance expenses in 1996-97.
According to the same sources, the transport ministry fears the likelihood
of the EU requiring evidence of OA's reliability before the disbursement of
EOT concern over OA performance
Greek Tourism Organisation (EOT) secretary general Nikos Skoulas said in a
radio interview yesterday that continuing problems in OA's flight schedules
could have a negative impact on the nation's tourism flow.
Mr. Skoulas said cancellations were already reported from hotels and travel
agencies, a result of the uncertainty surrounding OA's operations.
However, he admitted that since the vast majority of foreign tourist
arrivals in Greece were covered by charter flights, OA's flight problems
did not seriously affect arrivals.
Scenes of distressed passengers waiting for long-delayed flights at Greek
airports are badly damaging the country's tourist image abroad, the EOT
Latest reports said that Olympic Aviation pilots, responsible for domestic
routes, are requesting the state-run carrier's restructuring and a fleet
According to reports, OA's management wants normalisation of domestic
flights and from September onwards more flights to Balkan countries.
Olympic 2004 sites confirmed
An inter-ministerial committee yesterday confirmed more of the sites
expected to host Olympic 2004 facilities, while a Cabinet meeting will soon
convene to decide the awarding of construction projects.
Among the projects presented were a sailing centre on the Agios Kosmas
coastal site, a rowing centre at Schinias, eastern Attica, and the Olympic
village at the foot of Mount Parnitha, which will take up 315 acres instead
of the 207 initially planned.
It was also proposed that an equestrian centre be constructed at Markopoulo
instead of Tatoi, while several sports facilities may be constructed in
Aspropyrgos, western Attica, instead of the Faliro coastal strip due to
Pangalos meets Iranian housing minister
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos met in Athens yesterday with visiting
Iranian Minister of Housing and Urban Development Ali Abdul Ali Zadeh.
Issues discussed between the two officials included Greek-Iranian relations,
as well as a tripartite cooperation between Greece, Iran and Armenia on
economic issues and details about an ongoing meeting on ancient civilisations
with the participation of Iran, Egypt, Italy, and Greece, a foreign
ministry announcement said.
Mr. Pangalos also raised the issue related to Iran's debts to several
Greece-based firms. On his part, the Iranian minister said Tehran was
willing to settle the issue.
Europe-wide crime-fighting convention tabled in Parliament
A draft bill ratifying a European convention regarding money laundering,
investigation, confiscation and impounding of crime-related goods, was
tabled in Parliament yesterday.
The convention, prepared by the Council of Europe (CoE), is aimed at
pressuring signatory nations to adopt appropriate measures in their
national legislation in order to fight crime.
Internet site for athletic events
The sports undersecretariat yesterday unveiled its own Internet site during
a ceremony at Zappeion Hall.
The site will provide information on athletic events around Greece and
throughout the world. The address is: www.sport.gov.gr
Greek unemployment rate at 10.3 percent
Greece's unemployment rate is running at 10.3 percent, Labour and Social
Security Minister Miltiades Papaioannou said.
Citing figures from the official employment office OAED, Papaioannou said
the Greek government was particularly concerned about the level of youth
unemployment and planned to create jobs for 200,000 young Greeks in the
next three years.
A third of those new positions would be created by the end of the year.
Fifty thousand jobs will be devoted to the unemployed aged between 20-27,
Papaioannou added that roughly half of unregistered foreign workers in
Greece had app lied for a work permit, saying 370,000 had signed up since
the beginning of the programme to register illegal workers from an
estimated total of 750,000.
Profit-taking selling ends rally of prices
Greek equities came under strong profit-taking selling in the last hour of
transaction on the Athens Stock Exchange to end sharply lower, reversing an
early advance to new record territory.
The general index ended 1.77 percent lower at 2,638.20 points with turnover
at 62.9 billion drachmas.
Dealers said that the market felt uncomfortable near the 2,700-mark barrier
and stressed that it would take some time before a final assault above th
Sector indices lost ground. Banks dropped 3.05 percent, Leasing plunged
7.30 percent, Insurance ended 4.24 percent lower, Investment eased 2.65
percent, Industrials fell 1.0 percent, Construction ended 1.25 percent off,
Holding dr opped 1.72 percent and Miscellaneous ended 1.70 percent
The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.91 percent off.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index dropped 1.50 percent to 1,608.06. Broadly, decliners
led advancers by 155 to 76 with another 21 issues unchanged.
Esha, Lampsa, Balkan Export, Elve, Britannia, Aspis Invest, Dane,
Macedonian Mills and Sfakianakis scored the biggest percentage gains.
Attica Bank, Bank of Central Greece, Xiosbank, Development Invest, Intertyp,
Ionian Bank and Alpha Leasing suffered the heaviest losses. National Bank
of Greece ended at 47,470 drachmas, Ergobank at 32,000, Alpha Credit Bank
at 27,800, Ionian Bank at 19,200, Delta Dairy at 3,830, Titan Cement at 22,
690, Intracom at 12,275, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,815 and Hellenic
Telecommunications Organisation at 8,195. Olympic
Alpha Ependyseon results
Alpha Ependyseon, one of the largest stockbroker firms in Greece, concluded
the first half of 1998 with the doubling of net profits - 11.4 billion
drachmas - and with a considerable excess value of 14.8 billion drachmas,
according to the six-month account ing statement ratified by its board
during a meeting yesterday.
The difference in results was primarily due to an increase in profits from
the purchase and sale of securities, which amounted to 10.5 billion
drachmas compared to 4.7 billion drachmas in the corresponding period last
year, while portfolio revenues rema ined at about the same levels and
totalled 1.42 billion drachmas as against 1.44 billion drachmas.
Out of the total portfolio amounting to 70.9 billion drachmas, 87 per cent
corresponds to the domestic portfolio and 13 per cent to the overseas
The internal value of the share as at June 30, 1998 amounted to 3,450
drachmas, while the bourse value amounted to 3,300 which corresponds to a 7
per cent discount. According to unofficial figures as at July 13, the
portfolio's value amounted to 75.6 billion drachmas, the excess value to 19
'Heleco '99' in Thessaloniki
The "Heleco '99" international exhibition and conference on technology and
the environment will be held in Thessaloniki next June, the Technical
Chamber of Greece's leadership said yesterday.
Heleco '99 will be the third such exhibition organised in Thessaloniki,
while the first was held in 1993 and the second in 1995.
Union of Greek Banks meeting with employers', traders' groups
Representatives of banks as well as employers' and traders' associations
exchanged views at a meeting yesterday in Athens, following an initiative
by the Union of Greek Banks (EET).
Issues discussed included the funding of companies in connection with their
viability, the simplification of processes for granting loans, the high
cost of lending (the level of interest rates and bank commissions), the
cost of using credit cards, inform ation for the banks' customers on new
fiscal products and the euro. The need was also discussed to abolish the
Special Banking Operations Tax and the issue of restricting deposits bound
with the Bank of Greece.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the EET's administrative
council and the presidents of the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB), the
Federation of Industries of Northern Greece, the Chambers of Commerce of
Athens, Piraeus and Thessaloniki , the National Confederation of Greek
Commerce, the Panhellenic Federation of Exporters, the Commercial Societies
of Athens, Piraeus and Thessaloniki, as well as of hotel organisations.
Committee evaluates 3 bids for Cretabank
An evaluation committee responsible for examining the three bids submitted
for the purchase of Cretabank completed its meeting yesterday afternoon.
The bid by the Consolidated Eurofinance Holdings SA, belonging to the
Latsis group, to which the Eurobank also belongs, was evaluated with 49.64
points out of a possible 50. Ergobank's bid, as well as a joint bid by the
Bank of Piraeus and the Bank of Macedonia-Thrace received 40.53 and 37.83
The criteria used in the above evaluation are linked to the price offered
by the three interested buyers, the relative suitability of each prospective
buyer, an operational plan proposed for Cretabank, etc.
A relevant file will be forwarded to the national economy ministry
Fine weather is forecast throughout Greece today with high temperatures
increasing during the day. Temperatures will range from 20-38C on the
mainland and 23-36C on the islands. Athens hot and sunny with temperatures
between 22-39C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 21-38C.
Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 296.707
British pound 485.286 Japanese yen (100) 209.977
French franc 49.142 German mark 164.722
Italian lira (100) 16.698 Irish Punt 413.664
Belgian franc 7.980 Finnish mark 54.143
Dutch guilder 146.042 Danish kr. 43.208
Austrian sch. 23.396 Spanish peseta 1.939
Swedish kr. 36.853 Norwegian kr. 38.688
Swiss franc 195.156 Port. Escudo 1.609
Aus. dollar 183.252 Can. dollar 200.444
Cyprus pound 562.266