Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-09-22
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 22/09/1998 (ANA)
- Greece previews 340-billion-drachma state equity-convertible bond
- Kranidiotis concludes contacts with Libya's FM leadership
- Papandreou to brief CoE on mission to Albania
- Simitis to address Kallithea rally tonight
- First-ever Olympic medallists' conference held in ancient Olympia
- 'Spartathlon '98' commences on Friday
- Civil aviation employees' union declares strike actions
- Contract for Komotini power plant signed
- Liani-Papandreou: 'Too soon to decide whether to enter politics'
- Greek stocks slump, dragged down by markets abroad
- One in three firms in tourist areas guilty of tax evasion
- New dam, reservoir launched in northern Greece
- Conference begins on improving quality in domestic tourism
- Ministry explains EU funding package via Internet
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece previews 340-billion-drachma state equity-convertible bond
Finance Undersecretary Nikos Christodoulakis yesterday briefed some 80
major institutional investment firms in Britain on the issuing of a 340-
billion-drachma Greek state equity-convertible bond, set to take place in
The first part will be in euros and will have a duration of five years and
the remainder will be in drachmas and have a duration of three years.
Mr. Christodoulakis said that these Greek state securities provide
investors with specific advantages such as a tax-free yield, a 5 per cent
discount, as well as priority in the purchase of shares. The issuing of
this state-equity convertible bond is na turally linked to the privatisation
programme which will be implemented by the Greek government.
"With the issuing of the state equity-convertible bond we are aiming at
making our intention to go ahead with privatisations politically lucid and
our second target is to provide the opportunity for a wide spectrum of
investors, who are not familiar wit h the stock exchange and its processes,
to enter the Stock Exchange with security," Mr. Christodoulakis said.
The bonds, called Prometoha, will be convertible into the equity of firms
to be privatised through the bourse from Jan. 1, 1999.
Handling the issue are National Bank of Greece, Eurobank and Paribas of
France, an expert in equity-convertible privatisation bonds.
Book-building for domestic institutional investors will be held on Sept. 25-
29. The deadline for retail investors to subscribe to the public offer is
Kranidiotis concludes contacts with Libya's FM leadership
Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis ended a two-day official visit
to Libya over the weekend, where he met with that country's foreign
minister and foreign undersecretary, Messrs. Obeidi and Montasser
Talks focused on the situation in the Balkans and southeast Mediterranean,
Greek-Turkish relations as well as the Cyprus problem.
Mr. Kranidiotis received assurances from Libyan officials that certain
outstanding debts to Greek firms will be settled.
Apart from ways to cooperate on social security matters, both two sides
agreed on the establishment of a sea route to link Piraeus with Benghazi.
Papandreou to brief CoE on mission to Albania
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou in his capacity as president
of the Council of Europe's (CoE) ministerial committee will today brief the
organisation on the outcome of his recent mission to Albania last
According to reports, Leni Fischer, the president of the Council of
Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, said Mr. Papandreou would give the
assembly more details on his trip to Tirana, where he represented the
The European delegation, sponsored by the CoE, the Organisation for
Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Western European Union (WEU)
and the European Union, urged Albania's political leaders to find a
peaceful solution to the country's turmoil and issued a stern warning to
opposition leader and former Albanian president Sali Berisha not to
undermine stability in the country. Ms Fischer also called for self-
restraint in Tirana, saying the Albanian crisis threatened the "fragile
balance" in the Balkans, especially given the tension in the Yugoslav
province of Kosovo.
Simitis to address Kallithea rally tonight
Prime Minister Costas Simitis will speak today in the near Athens district
of Kallithea, an outdoor address touted by the ruling PASOK party as the
premier's vision of Greece in the 21st century. The rally will take place
two years after PASOK's victory in the September 1996 general elections. It
also comes two years before the end of the government's period of office
and the renewal of the people's confidence in it. The rally in Kallithea's
Davaki square, which hopes to be reminiscent to a great extent of the large
rallies held when PASOK's founder Andreas Papandreou was prime minister,
will be the first and last open rally to be addressed by Mr. Simitis
before municipal and prefectural elections are held next month. The rally
will also honour the 24th anniversary of PASOK's founding in September
First-ever Olympic medallists` conference held in ancient Olympia
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday stressed the need
for an international campaign for the establishment of the "Olympic Truce",
in an address at the first-ever Olympic medallists' conference in ancient
Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras announced the government's intention
to support the effort for the creation of a world union for Olympic
champions, with its permanent headquarters in ancient Olympia.
"As the country where the Games were born, we have also a special burden of
responsibility towards our heritage. This is why, in the Athens 2004 bid,
we pledged that we would organise a competition where the Olympic values of
sport, culture and peace wi ll go hand in hand. The 2004 games will be an
opportunity for athletes, visitors and spectators to get acquainted with
the history of ancient Olympics, and with the contemporary culture and
people of our country.
Referring to the "Olympic Truce", Mr. Papandreou said it was a very
remarkable initiative on which many hopes are based for the promotion of
the significance of the Olympic message to the world of today, with the
strengthening of the institution of the modern games and Olympic ideals and
the parallel safeguarding of global respect for peace.
'Spartathlon '98' commences on Friday
A record number of athletes will be vying in the 16th international ultra-
distance endurance race "Spar-tathlon '98", considered one of the most
gruelling in the world.
The race begins on Friday at the foot of the Acropolis.
More than 190 athletes from 23 countries will have 36 hours to run the 246
kilometres to Sparta, southeastern Peloponnese, tracing the steps of the
ancient Athenian courier Pheidippides, and running 1,200 metres up Mount
Parthenio in the dead of night.
According to Herodotus' account of the Battle of Marathon, Pheidippides was
sent to Sparta to ask for help when the Persians landed at Marathon.
Herodotus says Pheidippides arrived in Sparta "the next day".
The idea for the Spartathlon came from John Foden, a British RAF wing
commander who ran the course in 1982 with four RAF colleagues. The 1st
International Spartathlon was organised in 1983 with the participation of
45 runners from 11 countries as well a s Greece.
Only about a third of the runners actually complete the course.
Civil aviation employees' union declares strike actions
The Federation of Civil Aviation Union Employees OSYPA announced four 24-
hour rolling strikes starting as of Thursday as a warning in the event a
bill prepared by the transport ministry on airports is not withdrawn
According to OSYPA's leadership, two bills to be tabled in parliament
anticipate the creation of an airport company and an aeronavigation company,
on the one hand, and the creation of a general secretariat subject to the
ministry on the other.
OSYPA President Alevizopoulos said that airports and the aviation service
will have one share each which will be subject to the Greek state, but the
heads of the two companies will have the possibility of providing 49 per
cent for private citizens.
Contract for Komotini power plant signed
Development Minister Vasso Papandreou said a power production unit fuelled
by natural gas in Komotini was a project of major importance, modern
planning and a high-level performance which will strengthen the country's
balance of energy.
Ms Papandreou yesterday attended a signing ceremony by the firms (Swiss,
Italian and Greek concerns) assigned the contract for the study and
construction of the unit having a capacity of 492 megawatts. The unit will
be built in an area covering 80 acres in Komotini's industrial sector and
will use Russian natural gas as a fuel. The project's cost will exceed 80
billion drachmas and will be operational in the next three years.
The plant will receive 25 million cubic metres of water from the Gratini
and Orato Rodopis dams for its operation. After being used, the water will
be channelled to the Rodopi plain for irrigation purposes.
Ms Papandreou also laid the foundation stone for the SELMAN factory for
"novopan" (an investment of 14.1 billion drachmas) and the Hellenic
Petroleum S.A. group's plant for propylene film (an investment of 11.5
Liani-Papandreou: 'Too soon to decide whether to enter politics'
Dimitra Liani-Papandreou, the widow of PASOK founder and three-time premier
Andreas Papandreou reportedly told Turkish reporters that "it is too soon
for me to decide whether to enter politics. We have two years to go before
the next gener al elections." In statements published by Turkish daily
"Hurriyet", she hastened to add that "I have a great following and that is
why many people fear me. However, one needs a great deal of money for
a pre-election campaign."
"The political situation in Greece is very bad," Ms Liani-Papandreou said,
adding: "With regard to the economy, we are losing our ties with Europe."
In an interview headlined "I was unfaithful to my husband for the sake of
Andreas," Ms Liani-Papandreou was reported to have said that her greatest
complaint was 'loneliness'.
"I kept Andreas in life for another 10 years," read another headline of the
Greek stocks slump, dragged down by markets abroad
Greek equities ended sharply lower on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday
hit by renewed pressure in international markets.
The general index ended 4.22 percent down at 2,081.96 points, the lowest
since April 3. Trading was moderate with turnover at 47.6 billion
Sector indices suffered heavy losses across the board.
Banks dropped 4.36 percent, Insurance eased 1.84 percent, Investment fell
3.20 percent, Leasing was 1.70 percent off, Industrials plunged 4.19
percent, Construction ended 5.23 percent down, Miscellaneous ended 4.87
percent off and Holding fell 6.42 perc ent.
The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 2.59 percent lower,
and the FTSE/ASE 20 blue-chip index finished 4.20 percent off at 1,256.20
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 216 to 29 with another eight issues
National Bank of Greece ended at 38,450 drachmas, Ergobank at 23,285, Alpha
Credit Bank at 21,110, Ionian Bank at 10,005, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,550,
Delta Dairy at 3,070, Intracom at 10,995, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,550 and
Titan Cement at 17,980 drachmas.
One in three firms in tourist areas guilty of tax evasion
One in three companies in the country's tourist areas are tax evaders, the
country's financial crimes squad said yesterday.
A report released by the finance ministry department said that of a total
of 10,737 inspections in 8,953 companies made in August, 3,760 cases of tax
evasion were found, or violations by 3,557 firms.
The rate of violation of tax law varied by category, the report said.
Evasion in large enterprises was 58.4 percent, followed by the self-
employed (doctors, lawyers etc) at 56.3 percent, hotels at 47.16 percent,
tourism enterprises at 45.5 percent, places of entertainment at 35.23
percent and fuel companies at 33.3 percent.
New dam, reservoir launched in northern Greece
Development Minister Vasso Papandreou yesterday inaugurated a new dam and
reservoir linked to a hydroelectric station near Drama.
The dam and reservoir at Platanovrissi as well as the hydroelectric project
on the Nestos River comply with environmental protection rules, Ms
The 95-metre high dam is capable of retaining 450,000 cubic metres of water
at the station, which has two units totalling 100 megawatts for the
production of 240 gigawatts of energy annually.
Its design is considered to be pioneering as flying ash from thermo-
electric stations in Ptolemaida have been used as one of the raw materials
in the composition of ready mix concrete used in its construction.
Use of the flying ash is economical and environmentally sound.
Specialists hope that flying ash from lignite stations will be more more
widely used in major infrastructure projects.
Conference begins on improving quality in domestic tourism
Improving the quality of tourist services in Greece is the theme of a two-
day international conference that began at the Astir Vouliagmeni hotel near
The conference is part of a development ministry campaign naming 1998 as
Quality Year in order to help strengthen the competitiveness of domestic
enterprises ahead of World Tourism Day on September 29.
The outgoing secretary general of the Greek National Tourism Organisation
(GNTO), Nikos Skoulas, said that the state agency had adopted a demand-
driven strategy, part of which aimed at attracting fewer, but wealthier,
This would enable Greek tourism enterprises to raise their prices, Mr.
He also announced that in about 10 days GNTO would present its final
proposals on switching to an international system of stars denoting the
standard of hotels, replacing the categories currently in use.
GNTO's newly appointed secretary-general, Mihalis Kyriakidis, stressed that
consumers had a right to expect quality, which producers were obliged to
Otherwise, the country's tourism sector would be unable to cope with
globalisation of the industry, and resulting fierce competition, Mr.
Delegates attending the conference from the private sector strongly
criticised the government's lack of strategy in tourism in the last 30
years and a resulting emphasis on quantity, not quality.
Ministry explains EU funding package via Internet
The national economy ministry yesterday launched a campaign via Internet to
give the public access to information on the European Union's Community
Support Framework (CSF) funds.
The ministry outlines how the CSF was designed, what it means for Greece
and how it is being applied, how the package of funds will change the face
of the country, and its role in improving the quality of everyday life in
The page's Internet address is http://www.mne.gr, where CSF is described as
the country's largest development programme.
Cloud with scattered showers or storms will prevail throughout Greece on
Today. Winds westerly, northwesterly, moderate to strong. Athens partly
cloudy with temperatures between 15-26C. Same in Thessaloniki with
temperatures from 14-21C.
Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 287.154
British pound 484.790 Japanese yen (100) 216.167
French franc 51.106 German mark 171.160
Italian lira (100) 17.331 Irish Punt 428.346
Belgian franc 8.305 Finnish mark 56.316
Dutch guilder 151.925 Danish kr. 44.916
Austrian sch. 24.318 Spanish peseta 2.020
Swedish kr. 36.293 Norwegian kr. 38.569
Swiss franc 208.499 Port. Escudo 1.671
Aus. dollar 168.546 Can. dollar 188.460
Cyprus pound 575.360