Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-09-10
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 10/09/1998 (ANA)
- National Bank of Greece shareholders endorse merger with subsidiary
- Greek stocks hold impetus, again finish higher
- Greenpeace campaigners again try to block dumping of toxic waste
- National economy minister to stay on the job
- Retail sales prices of gasoline to decrease
- Greek sugar company reports losses
- Pangalos says satisfied with results of tripartite meeting
- Mediterranean culture ministers conference in Rhodes Sept. 25-27
- Pangalos says he favours institution of deputy prime minister
- Concern voiced over nature of Turkey-Israel military cooperation
- FM to meet US envoy for Cyprus this afternoon
- Greece denies postponement of Russian missiles deployment on Cyprus
- Yugoslav FM begins two-day visit to Athens today
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
National Bank of Greece shareholders endorse merger with subsidiary
Shareholders of National Bank of Greece yesterday endorsed the absorption
of National Mortgage Bank, a housing loans subsidiary.
The two banks will have combined assets of over 12.5 trillion drachmas,
deposits of 10 trillion drachmas, loans of 3.3 trillion drachmas, and a
network of 605 branches at home and more than 100 abroad.
Shareholders of National Mortgage Bank had approved the absorption on
National Bank of Greece governor Theodoros Karatzas told shareholders that
joining the two banks' resources, especially their dealing rooms, would cut
operating costs, boost performance and allow a stronger presence abroad.
No redundancies would be ordered due to the absorption because staff would
be utilised in the new, larger bank's expansion, Mr. Karatzas said.
Stock allocation would be 1.9 shares of National Mortgage Bank for one each
of the parent company, he said.
Greek stocks hold impetus, again finish higher
Greek equities ended higher in moderate trade yesterday after soaring early
in the session and then falling as profit-takers elbowed into the
The Athens general index ended 1.55 percent higher at 2,214.23 points in
turnover of 47.2 billion drachmas from 30.5 billion drachmas in the
previous session. Prices had jumped 3.40 percent in early trade.
Sector indices scored gains across the board. Banks gained 1.83 percent,
Insurance rose 1.68 pct, Investment jumped 1.99 pct, Leasing remained
unchanged, Industrials increased 1.38 pct, Construction gained 0.92 pct,
Miscellaneous ended 1.68 pct up and H olding rose 1.87 pct.
The parallel market index for small cap companies rose 2.37 percent.
Of 254 stocks trade, advances beat declines at 175 to 55 with another 24
Aspis Bank, which made its trading debut yesterday, finished 43.9 percent
higher. An eight percent daily volatility limit either way does not apply
to new listings.
National Bank of Greece ended at 41,750 drachmas, Ergobank at 25,345, Alpha
Credit Bank at 24,000, Ionian Bank at 10,600, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,895,
Delta Dairy at 3,380, Intracom at 10,910, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,720 and
Titan Cement at 18,700.
Greenpeace campaigners again try to block dumping of toxic waste
Greenpeace activists yesterday made a new attempt to prevent barges
belonging to Larco, a domestic state-run ferronickel producer, from dumping
allegedly toxic waste in the sea.
Costas Dombros, a Greenpeace spokesman, said that several activists had
tied themselves to the barges. They had also unfurled banners with slogans
against dumping waste in the sea.
"We are wondering how long the ministries involved will keep silent,
refusing to give explanations to the Greek public and the international
community about the unacceptable cover they are providing," Mr. Dombros
Twelve Greenpeace activists were released by the coastguard on Tuesday
after being detained for taking over Larco's loading facilities near Volos
but the activists again boarded the Greenpeace ship MV Sirius, launching a
new protest yesterday.
National economy minister to stay on the job
The government yesterday denied newspaper reports that National Economy and
Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou's job was on the line.
"Mr. Papantoniou enjoys the full confidence of the prime minister...There
is no such issue," acting government spokesman Yannis Nikolaou told
The minister had undertaken the government's economic planning for the
coming year, Mr. Nikolaou said.
National Bank of Greece governor Theodoros Karatzas yesterday dismissed
talk that he would become national economy minister, replacing Mr.
Retail sales prices of gasoline to decrease
The retail sales prices of gasoline will decrease as of today and for a
week, while prices of diesel will increase due to a change in international
According to announcements by the Public Petroleum Corporation (DEP) and
the Development Ministry, the retail sales prices of super gasoline will
decrease by 2.80 drachmas per litre and those of unleaded gasoline by 2.90
drachmas per litre, while prices of diesel will increase by 3.30 drachmas
per litre and of heating oil by 3.40 drachmas per litre.
In the Attica region and the Thessaloniki Prefecture, super gasoline will
cost 212.30 drachmas per litre and unleaded gasoline 196.30 drachmas per
Greek sugar company reports losses
Greek Sugar Industry SA (EBZ), a factory listed in the Athens bourse,
posted a loss of 3.5 billion drachmas in 1997, despite its good record a
year before with 4.22 billion dr profits. However, the firm is satisfied
for having won back its full control of the Greek market.
Presenting the company's economic details during a press conference
yesterday in the context of Thessaloniki's International Fair, EBZ Chairman
Vasilis Papagiannis and Managing Director Antonis Vafeiadis, expressed
optimism over the firm's course in the current fiscal year.
Mr. Papagiannis said EBZ efforts had focused on the one hand on reducing
industrial costs, and on the other to win back its share in the Greek
market lost to European, mainly Italian competitors.
Price policy and a varied credit policy helped the company to regain the
lost ground, but recorded losses due to a gradual reduction in the price of
sugar down to 231.5 dr per kilo from 245 dr three years ago. Greek sugar is
the cheapest in Europe.
Pangalos says satisfied with results of tripartite meeting
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos concluded his contacts in Tehran
yesterday with meetings with the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Mohammad Khatami and the Iranian government's first Deputy Prime Minister
(who virtually exercises the duties of prime minister) Hassan Habibi.
Mr. Pangalos expressed satisfaction over the results of the tripartite
ministerial meeting between Greece, Iran and Armenia and announced that the
three ministers will meet again in Yerevan in September next year.
He also announced that the idea of carrying out a intercivilisational forum
on the big civilisations of the world, namely the Roman, Greek, Egyptian
and Iranian ones, is being promoted.
Mr. Pangalos said that the representatives of the corresponding culture
foundations from the four countries will meet soon to pave the way for a
meeting of the culture ministers and possibly of the foreign ministers of
the four countries.
Mr. Pangalos yesterday met with the leader of the Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan (PUK) Jalal Talabani, who is in Tehran, at the latter's
Briefing reporters on the meeting, Mr. Pangalos said that Mr. Talabani
requested Greece's support in the effort for recognition of the Kurds'
rights and autonomy and briefed him on latest developments on the Kurdish
Mr. Talabani expressed concern over the situation prevailing in Turkey, as
well as on the way in which the neighbouring country is carrying out its
operations in northern Iraq lately.
Mr. Pangalos said that Mr. Talabani's concern is focused on the fact that
the Turkish military has changed its tactics and no longer withdraws from
the regions in which it launches attacks, but establishes some soldiers,
creating in this way a kind of " bases."
Mediterranean culture ministers conference in Rhodes Sept. 25-27
Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday announced the first
Mediterranean wide conference of culture ministers will be held on the
island of Rhodes from September 25-27.
Mr. Venizelos noted that all countries exept Libya will be participating
and will discuss all the large cultural programmes planned for the
celebration of the new millenium as well as the 2004 Olympic Games.
The minister said that the celebrations for the year 2000 include
exhibitions, publications, Greek participation in musical and theatrical
international events, as well as the new monuments such as the new
Acropolis museum and Goulandris Museum of Modern Art.
He said that the events for the year 2000 include a religious element
represented by the Orthodox Christian Church and organised by the
Patriarchate of Jerusalem and will include Byzantine art exhibitions.
Pangalos says he favours institution of deputy prime minister
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos placed himself in favour of the
institution of a deputy prime minister, in a discussion he had yesterday
with reporters while flying back to Athens from Tehran.
He reminded the press that he had tabled a relevant proposal when the first
government of Prime Minister Costas Simitis was being formed, but it had
not attracted the required consent.
Explaining his position, the foreign minister said that a deputy prime
minister could oversee the operation of organs and institutions in cases of
the prime minister's absence.
Speaking on the forthcoming congress of the ruling PASOK party, the foreign
minister said he was against turning the floor into a polling booth, noting
that the PASOK congress' odds to be turned into an "electoral congress",
will depend on whether an issue of leadership will be raised.
He also announced that he was to make a number of proposals in view of the
congress, including a higher participation of women in the party's
Concern voiced over nature of Turkey-Israel military cooperation
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopulos' expressed concern over the
nature of a Turkey-Israel military cooperation according to a report from
Athens, published in yesterday's issue of the German newspaper "Syndoitche
The report quotes Mr. Tsohatzopoulos as saying that Ankara and Jerusalem's
"axis policy" was "worrying" to Greece, and further underlining the
necessity to set up a regional security system with participation of all
eastern Mediterranean countries.
"We have nothing against Turkey-Israel economic relations, despite the fact
that these include the supply of armaments", the defence minister told the
paper, adding however that, "when Israel's advanced technology is made
available to Turkey, with Ankara's objective being to use it agressively,
then this goes beyond the limits".
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos specifically denounced the fact that Israeli fighter
jets together with Turkish warplanes have repetedly flown above Cyprus,
"showing that they ignore international law".
In his conversation with the paper's Athens correspondent, the Greek
defence minister challenged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's
claim that his country's cooperation with Turkey was of no trouble to the
For this reason, Mr. Tsohatsopoulos said, he had invited his Israeli
counterpart Yitsak Mordehai to visit Athens in November for talks.
"Unilateral commitments give rise to problems", he added.
FM to meet US envoy for Cyprus this afternoon
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos will receive US State Department
special coordinator for the Cyprus problem Thomas Miller in Athens this
afternoon, diplomatic sources said yesterday.
Mr. Miller's visit to Athens opens a new round of contacts with the Greek
government on the Cyprus problem, following consultations between Cyprus
and Greece in Athens last month and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's
proposals for a confederation on Cyprus.
The visit to Greece was postponed two months ago when Mr. Pangalos refused
to see him following statements in the press by a US official on Mr.
The governments of Greece and Cyprus have made clear, in their August 27
joint statement, that the Cyprus problem is one of invasion and occupation,
refusing to focus the talks on the S-300 anti-aircraft Russian-made
missiles, due to be deployed on the island republic later this year.
Sources said the Greek government was awaiting for US proposals or ideas
focusing on the political side of the Cyprus issue, which will create the
conditions for the resumption of inter-communal talks on the island, based
on the United Nations resolutions.
Greece denies postponement of Russian missiles deployment on Cyprus
Greece yesterday denied that there would be any postponement of the
deployment of Russian S-300 missiles on Cyprus and said it would not be
dragged into the furore over the issue.
"The Cyprus issue is and remains an issue of the invasion and occupation of
a free state," acting government spokesman Yannis Nikolaou said. The
government in Nicosia is handling the issue of the missiles, Mr. Nikolaou
Yugoslav FM begins two-day visit to Athens today
Yugoslav Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic begins a two-day visit to
Athens today at the invitation of Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos,
according to an official announcement by the Federal Republic of Yugosl
avia's foreign ministry yesterday.
The announcement said that the two ministers will discuss issues regarding
the further development of friendly relations between the two countries,
all forms of mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation as well as
international issues of mutual concern,including multilateral cooperation
between the countries of southeastern Europe.
Good weather with scattered clouds in northern and central and eastern
Greece today, turning to rain or storms. Small drop in temperatures. Partly
cloudy in the central and southern regions with the posibility of rain.
Athens partly cloudy with temperatures between 20-28C. Same in Thessaloniki
with temperatures from 18-25C.
Thursday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 295.517
British pound 488.798 Japanese yen (100) 215.125
French franc 50.709 German mark 169.999
Italian lira (100) 17.232 Irish Punt 425.508
Belgian franc 8.242 Finnish mark 55.929
Dutch guilder 150.705 Danish kr. 44.650
Austrian sch. 24.166 Spanish peseta 2.004
Swedish kr. 36.902 Norwegian kr. 37.021
Swiss franc 206.896 Port. Escudo 1.660
Aus. dollar 172.181 Can. dollar 193.043
Cyprus pound 575.201