Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-10-20
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 20/10/1998 (ANA)
- Local gov't elections spell concern for PASOK, satisfaction for
- Four new ambassadors accredited to Athens
- Skandalidis letter to PASOK prefectural committees
- New diplomats sworn-in
- Faye Dunaway in Athens for 'Maria Callas' film project
- Bank of France head Trichet: Greece has made 'significant progress'
- Greek equities end lower
- 'Economist'-sponsored conference in Athens
- EIB loans target Greek health sector
- Lambrakis Press group's bourse listing between Oct. 20-23
- Ericsson, Intrakom deny end of joint cooperation
- Greek firm's olives lauded at Paris food exhibition
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Local gov't elections spell concern for PASOK, satisfaction for
The outcome of local government elections has caused concern to PASOK's
leadership, as the ruling party lost at least 16 prefectures, including the
traditional municipal strongholds of Patra, Larissa and Ioannina.
In response, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the result "fell
short of expectations".
However, he said the result of the elections was not a defeat for the
government, which was not being judged during the poll.
"The outcome did not presage any change in the government's policies", he
A series of meetings between government and party bodies started yesterday,
while various ways will be sought to take the edge off public dissatisfaction
expressed during the recent elections.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis is scheduled to chair today's joint meeting
between a government commission and the political secretariat of PASOK, the
party's Parliament group is scheduled to hold a meeting tomorrow, while a
Cabinet meeting will be held on Friday and the party's central committee at
the end of the month.
Conversely, the main opposition New Democracy party appeared satisfied from
the outcome, while top party cadres said ND will continue its "constructive
opposition" tactics "leaving populism and demagogy aside".
According to the interior ministry, ND carried 27 of the 54 prefectures
throughout the country, while PASOK had carried 25 prefectures, the
Coalition of Left and Progress (Synaspismos) took one prefecture in Hania,
Crete, and independents one - former PASOK MP and minister Georgios Petsos
in Pella prefecture.
PASOK-backed candidates carried 433 of a total of 900 municipalities
throughout the country, ND-backed candidates carried 368, Communist Party
of Greece (KKE)-backed candidates 24, Synaspismos-backed candidates 12,
Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI)-ba cked candidates five, Political
Spring-backed candidates three, and independents carried 55 municipalities.
The ministry said that candidates backed by ND or ND in cooperation with
other opposition parties had carried 45 municipalities that previously had
PASOK-backed mayors, while candidates backed by PASOK or PASOK with
opposition parties other than New Democracy had carried 33 municipalities
that previously had ND-backed mayors. Abstention and blank/invalid votes
soared to 42.4 percent in prefectural polls and 38 percent in municipal
polls in Sunday's run-off local government elections, the interior ministry
said yesterday morning.
The ministry said that, with 98 per cent of election results in, voter
participation for the prefectural authorities stood at 67.1 per cent, while
blank and invalid votes accounted for 9.5 per cent.
In the poll for municipal leaders, voter participation stood at 69.6 per
cent while blank and invalid votes accounted for 7.6 per cent.
Four new ambassadors accredited to Athens
Several new ambassadors accredited to Athens presented their credentials to
President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos at noon yesterday.
New ambassadors to Athens hailed from the Netherlands, Paul Brauer; Norway,
Jan Vesel Hegg; Cameroon, Pascale Bilboa Tag; Gambia, D'jogu Saer Bach, and
Liberia, James Scott.
The ceremony was attended by Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis
and the Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic, Ambassador
Skandalidis letter to PASOK prefectural committees
Ruling PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis is to address a letter to all
PASOK prefectural committees to urge them to cooperate with ruling party
deputies in proceeding with a political evaluation of last Sunday's local
government election results.
The decision was taken during yesterday's meeting between Prime Minister
Costas Simitis and Mr. Skandalidis, which focused on elections results as
well as decisions to be taken for party's planning.
Conclusions to be drawn will be presented by Mr. Skandalidis at an
executive bureau meeting on Oct. 29, in preparation for a PASOK central
committee meeting, postponed for Nov. 5-6.
The PASOK secretary said the party was pushing ahead with its planning,
adding that the evaluation of election results and "messages" will be made
before PASOK's spring congress.
New diplomats sworn-in
Eighteen new foreign ministry diplomats were sworn-in yesterday during a
ceremony attended by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos as
well as Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.
In a short address, President Stephanopoulos wished the new diplomats good
luck in their careers.
Mr. Pangalos said working for the foreign ministry entailed hard work and a
wide range of responsibilities, stressing however, that the ministry was
undergoing restructuring in order to efficiently respond to demands in a
He added that improvements in the quality of diplomatic services has led
more women to join, with the current percentage of female diplomats
reaching 17.5 per cent.
Faye Dunaway in Athens for 'Maria Callas' film project
Noted Hollywood actress Faye Dunaway arrived in Athens yesterday to secure
the rights for the soundtrack of a new feature film production centred on
the life of legendary opera diva Maria Callas.
Ms Dunaway, who is producing and starring in the film, visited the Plaka
Bank of France head Trichet: Greece has made 'significant progress'
The visiting governor of the Bank of France, Jean-Claude Trichet, yesterday
noted that Greece has made "significant progress" over the past few years
that this "has been acknowledged by all."
Mr. Trichet was speaking at a reception held in his honour by the Greek-
French Chamber of Commerce in Athens.
The top French banking official also said there is no issue of a "Europe of
two tiers," saying that the four countries currently not part of the 'euro
zone' - Britain, Sweden, Denmark and Greece - will soon join.
Mr. Trichet, who in four years is set to succeed Wim Duisenburg as the head
of the European Central Bank, also defended the implementation of the euro
and Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).
Greek equities end lower
Greek equities ended fractionally lower on the Athens Stock Exchange
yesterday in what traders described as a normal correction following the
market's 17.3 percent jump last week.
The general index ended 0.62 percent lower to 2,027.80 points in thin
turnover of 38.7 billion drachmas. Volume was 9,491,000 shares.
Sector indices were mixed. Banks rose 0.23 percent, Insurance ended 1.35
percent higher, Investment fell 1.23 percent, Leasing soared 8.0 percent
Industrials fell 1.78 percent, Construction ended 0.39 percent up,
Miscellaneous gained 1.79 percent and Ho lding eased by 1.69 per cent.
The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 0.30 percent.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 155 to 81 with another 16 issues
'Economist'-sponsored conference in Athens
The "Economist" is organising a two-day conference in Athens on tax
information in the European Union and Greece's tax policy, on Oct. 29-
Finance Undersecretary George Drys, main opposition New Democracy shadow
minister Georgios Alogoskoufis, Germany's Finance ministry secretary-
general Hans-Georg Hauser, and the EU's tax director Maria Rehbinder will
address the conference.The two-day conference will discuss European
Commission's proposals on corporate taxes, restructuring Greece's tax
system ahead of next year's budget and accounting reforms.
EIB loans target Greek health sector
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved a loan-framework of 70
million Ecus (23.7 billion drachmas) to finance projects in Greece's health
The loan, the first ever earmarked by EIB for Greece's health sector, aims
to implement small and medium-sized investments in programmes already
adopted by a Second Community Support Framework in the period 1994-
These programmes are included in a wider project aimed to combat imbalances
and improve efficiency in health services in Athens and Thessaloniki, as
well as other Greek cities suffering from lack of quality medical
EIB's involvement in the health sector was decided in a European summit in
Amsterdam in June 1997.
Lambrakis Press group's bourse listing between Oct. 20-23
Public registration for an increase in the Lambrakis Press group's share
capital and its listing with the Athens Stock Exchange will be held between
A total of 5,250,000 new shares of a face value of 200 drachmas each and a
sale price of 3,500 drachmas per share will be issued. Of those, 250,000
shares are reserved for the group's staff and close associates. The total
number of shares, after the inc rease in share capital, will amount to 25
million - 79 per cent of which will belong to the Lambrakis family.
Receipts from the issue are expected to amount to 18.4 billion drachmas the
greatest part of which will fund coverage of the 1998-2000 investment
programme and the balance the company's short-term loaning.
Information on the group's activities in general, the increase in share
capital and listing with the Athens bourse was presented at a downtown
Athens hotel yesterday by the group's president, Christos Lambrakis,
National Bank Governor Theodoros Karatzas , and Alpha Credit Bank director
Yiannis Kostopoulos, among others.
Mr. Lambrakis offered assurances that the "share majority will not sell
shares at the stock exchange" but did not rule out the possibility of the
sale of a package of shares to a possible future investor and associate.
The Lambrakis group owns 17 publications and possesses five printing units.
Apart from the publishing sector, it is also active in the industrial-
printing and tourist sector.
Out of a total turnover for 1997, the publishing sector (receipts from
circulation, advertising and products offered) participated with a 64 per
cent stake (27.3 billion drachmas); the printing sector with 24 per cent
(10.2 billion drachmas) and the tourist sector with 12 per cent (five
The first investment programme amounting to 13 billion drachmas was carried
out over the 1993-1997 period, while the investment programme for the 1998-
2000 period anticipates investments totalling 16.5 billion drachmas.
The group forecasts a turnover amounting to 49.7 billion drachmas in the
1998 fiscal year and pre-tax profits of 4.1 billion drachmas - already
covered according to the group's economic director.
The National Bank is the underwriter and main sponsor of the issue, the
main sponsor is Alpha Credit Bank, ETEBA is the issue adviser, while the
remaining sponsors are Commercial Bank, Bank of Piraeus, Ergobank, EFG
Eurobank, Agricultural Bank, and General Bank, among others.
Ericsson, Intrakom deny end of joint cooperation
An agreement between Ericsson and Intrakom is fully valid, a joint
communique by the two companies reiterated yesterday following an article
in the Sunday edition of the Athens daily "Kathimerini", entitled "Divorce
between Intrakom and Ericsson."
"There was no thought and, even more, the possibility of a change in the
position of Ericsson as one of Intrakom's major shareholders was never
discussed," it was added.
Intrakom stated that the article "is misleading and false in its entirety
and its target can only be the prestige and the name of Intrakom..."
Greek firm's olives lauded at Paris food exhibition
The Greece-based Olympia firm was awarded a gold medal yesterday for its
"Xenia-heros" brand olives during a Paris food exhibition.
This year's participation boasts 4,715 exhibitioners from 87 countries.
Greece is represented by 112 pavilions covering a total of 1,800 square
metres, an increase of 11 per cent since 1996, seventh place on a
"significant presence" list headed by Italy and Spain.
Mostly fair weather is expected throughout Greece on today with scattered
cloud in the western and northern regions. Possibility of rain in the
northern Ionian, Epirus, western mainland Greece and western Macedonia.
Winds variable, moderate to strong. Partly cloudy in Athens with temperatures
between 15-25C. Mostly fair in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 13-
Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 276.659
British pound 471.498 Japanese yen (100) 241.215
French franc 50.915 German mark 170.703
Italian lira (100) 17.255 Irish Punt 425.667
Belgian franc 8.275 Finnish mark 56.155
Dutch guilder 151.364 Danish kr. 44.902
Austrian sch. 24.269 Spanish peseta 2.009
Swedish kr. 35.571 Norwegian kr. 37.260
Swiss franc 210.056 Port. Escudo 1.669
Aus. dollar 174.994 Can. dollar 179.354
Cyprus pound 577.661