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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-08-11

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

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

NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 11/08/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Gov't to issue Balladur-type bonds to aid privatisation
  • Two state banks robbed
  • Noted architect, restorer of Erechtheion, dies
  • Vacationing Greek, French PMs meet on Aegean island
  • Calvin Klein event at Herod Atticus
  • Swedish tourist drowns, Italian injured in windsurfing accident
  • Government to remove tax on repos
  • Titan Cement, Holderbank plan to buy out FYROM cement firm
  • EFG Eurobank buys fresh stake in Ergobank
  • Bomb blast at horse race track
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Gov't to issue Balladur-type bonds to aid privatisation

The Greek state is ready to begin issuing Balladur-type bonds in the second half of September in order to aid a privatisation drive by using the equity- convertible debt paper.

Issue of the bonds is allowed for the first time under an amendment the finance ministry tabled in Parliament yesterday.

Holders of the bonds will be able to exchange them on expiry for shares in state firms and banks slated for privatisation from Jan. 1, 1999, the ministry said in a statement. The bonds will be issued both in drachmas and in foreign currency.

According to ministry sources, the government is planning to start by issuing three- and five-year bonds in drachmas, Ecu and German marks.

Interest on the bonds, which are negotiable on domestic and foreign markets, will be set shortly before issue. Returns will be tax-free if the original investor keeps the paper until expiry. Buyers will then opt for encashment or equity conversion.

Two state banks robbed

A man walked into a branch of the Agricultural Bank in Petralona this morning and threatened staff and customers with a gun before escaping with 2 million drachmas.

The police are pinning their hopes on catching the man on the video recording of the entire robbery by the bank's surveillance camera.

In Piraeus, two masked and armed men held up a branch of the National Bank, escaping on a motorcycle with an as yet unknown amount.

According to the police, one of the robbers struck a woman customer in the face when she began calling for help as they were leaving.

Noted architect, restorer of Erechtheion, dies

One of the foremost architects behind the restoration of the Temple of Erechtheion on the Acropolis died yesterday at the age of 49.

Alekos Papanikolaou, a graduate of the Athens Polytechnic, received the Europa Nostra Award for his work on the Acropolis.

Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos expessed his sorrow over Papanikolaou's death.

Vacationing Greek, French PMs meet on Aegean island

French prime minister Lionel Jospin, on a Cyclades holiday since end July, today flew to the island of Sifnos for a private meeting with Greek counterpart Costas Simitis.

Jospin and his wife, who are vacationing on the island of Antiparos, were flown by helicopter this morning to Sifnos, where Simitis and his wife are holidaying.

The two prime ministers took a short stroll through the centre of the island's main town, where they were treated to local products by the town residents, before the two couples boarded a yacht for a brief cruise.

There is no agenda for the talks, which are of a private nature, and the meeting has been kept out of the media spotlight.

The Jospins are due to return by helicopter to Antiparos in the evening.

The two prime ministers will hold formal talks at the end of Jospin's holiday, when he comes to Athens on August 31.

In Athens, the two premiers will take part in a one-day event entitled "Forces of the Left in front of the Challenges of the year 2000".

Calvin Klein event at Herod Atticus

The culture ministry finally approved a petition submitted by the firm "Zoobidon et communications" for use of the Herod Atticus Theatre by internationally renowned fashion designer Calvin Klein.

The culture ministry overruled a Central Archaeological Board (KAS) decision, ruling that the site will not be adversely affected by the planned fashion exhibition in the autumn.

Revenues from the show will go toward the construction of the new Acropolis museum.

Swedish tourist drowns, Italian injured in windsurfing accident

An elderly Swedish tourist has drowned while swimming in the sea at Nea Chora, Chania on Crete and an Italian was seriously injured while windsurfing near Lagouna on Naxos, the police announced today.

The Swedish man was identified as Erik Lennart Jansson, 69. The Chania port police are conducting an investigation into the circumstances of the drowning.

In the Cyclades meanwhile, Bruno Vinchesi, 43 was seriously injured yesterday afternoon when a young Greek lost control of his windsurfer and crashed into the Italian who was also windsurfing in the same area.

Vinchesi was initially taken to the Naxos Health Centre before being put on an Olympic Airways flight to Athens and admitted to the Asklipio Hospital in Voula.

Doctors said his left kidney had been damaged and his spleen may have been ruptured in the accident.

Government to remove tax on repos

The finance ministry submitted an amendment to parliament yesterday scrapping a 15 percent tax on interest for bank-to-customer repurchase agreements (repos).

Imposition of the tax in 1995 led to decline in repo deals, which involve the repurchase and resale of state debt paper.

"The measure is expected to revive repo transactions," the ministry said in a statement.

Titan Cement, Holderbank plan to buy out FYROM cement firm

Titan Cement Company yesterday informed the Athens Stock Exchange that press reports were true claiming it planned to forge a strategic alliance in order to buy out a cement company in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

Titan, a blue chip on the bourse and the only wholly Greek-owned cement maker, said it was forging a strategic alliance with Holderbank of Switzerland to acquire A.D. Cementamica USJE in FYROM.

The buy-out would make the direct investment one of Greece's largest in the neighbouring country, a landmark in the gradual establishment of closer economic and commercial ties between the two states.

A.D. Cementamica USJE has sales of 650,000 tonnes of cement annually and capacity of one million tonnes.

EFG Eurobank buys fresh stake in Ergobank

EFG Eurobank, a member of Latsis Group, yesterday acquired a roughly 7.0 percent stake in Ergobank through the Athens Stock Exchange, buying 1,788, 566 shares from foreign institutional investors.

EFG Eurobank now controls around 20 percent of listed Ergobank's share capital and has become its biggest single shareholder after purchasing a 12 percent stake from key shareholder Lazaros Efremoglou a few weeks ago. The share purchases were made for EFG Eurobank by its parent company, Luxembourg-based Consolidated Eurofinance Holdings.

Announcing the plan in a statement, the EFG Bank Group expressed its confidence in Ergobank's board and the bank's prospects.

Analysts said the statement signalled that Eurobank would not attempt to change Ergobank's management.

The two banks are expected to bid jointly in a tender through the bourse to buy state Ionian Bank on August 24.

Bomb blast at horse race track

A home-made explosive device went off at the Athens horse track in Faliro yesterday, causing extensive damage to a restaurant and offices. No casualties were reported.

The powerful blast at the race track also shattered windows and damaged three vehicles parked outside the building. The facility was closed at the time.

There was no advance warning or claim of responsibility for the attack.

WEATHER

Sunny weather is forecast throughout the country tomorrow with scattered cloud in mainland Greece. Possibility of brief storms in mountainous regions of the Peloponnese overnight. Winds will be northerly, light to strong, turning gale force in the Aegean Sea. Temperatures in Athens will range from 24C-34C, and in Thessaloniki from 22-32C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 293.086 British pound 477.469 Japanese yen (100) 200.017 French franc 49.064 German mark 164.503 Italian lira (100) 16.674 Irish Punt 413.466 Belgian franc 7.978 Finnish mark 54.241 Dutch guilder 145.849 Danish kr. 43.170 Austrian sch. 23.370 Spanish peseta 1.938 Swedish kr. 36.206 Norwegian kr. 38.529 Swiss franc 195.662 Port. Escudo 1.608 Aus. dollar 175.410 Can. dollar 192.329 Cyprus pound 559.488

(C.S.)


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