Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-11-03
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 03/11/1998 (ANA)
- Greek equities jump on flood of encouraging news
- State telecom gets bigger weighting in FTSE/ASE index
- Gov't pledges to lift tax assessment criteria from 2000
- Share capital increase for Bank of Central Greece
- Greece, Crimea agree on tourism cooperation
- Counter-incentives for pensioners' employment in draft bill
- Olympic Airways flights to Lisbon begin
- New NATO sub-headquarters in Tyrnavos soon to become operational
- Tsohatzopoulos, Papandreou attend Greek-Jewish event in London
- EuroMP Svoboda discusses report regarding EU-Turkey relations
- Parliament debate continues, confidence vote scheduled for today
- Togo FM in Athens
- Thai foreign undersecretary in Greece
- OTE shares begin trading at NY Stock Exchange
- Roussel trial continues
- Teenager implicated in Albanian burglars' shooting released on
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greek equities jump on flood of encouraging news
Greek stocks finished sharply higher yesterday, surging through the 2,200-
point barrier for the first time in around 30 sessions following a barrage
of promising news to fuel sentiment.
The Athens general share index ended 5.86 percent higher at 2,289.60
points. Turnover was 376.6 billion drachmas on 63,982,00 stocks traded.
Of the total, 69.1 billion drachmas accounted for normal trade - sharply up
on recent sessions - and the remainder block trades.
Injecting 307.5 billion drachmas of capital into the market was the
transfer of 50.4 million shares in Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation
(OTE) from the Greek state to underwriters in the state firm's third
The stock will then be distributed to new shareholders.
OTE's share closed at 6,775 drachmas, up 375 drachmas.
Boosting the market was the success of OTE's third float and a sharp
decline in bank rates that is likely to bring down rates on state
In addition, a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
Development revised its forecasts upwards for the domestic economy, and
investment houses abroad said the prospects were sound for Greece to enter
European economic and monetary union by the government's target date of
January 1, 2001.
Sectors posted gains across the board.
The heavily weighted banking index soared 7.92 percent, near the 8.0
percent upper daily volatility limit for individual stocks.
Beyond OTE, the most actively traded stocks were Strintzis Lines,
Mytilineos and Hellenic Petroleum.
Among the day's biggest percentage gains at the 8.0 percent limit up were
National Portfolio, Bank of Greece and Intracom (common).
The day's biggest percentage losers were Viosol, Lanakam and Parnassos
National Bank of Greece ended at 43,200 drachmas, Commercial Bank of Greece
at 25,758, Alpha Credit Bank at 24,294 drachmas, Intracom common) at 12,679
and Titan Cement Company (common) at 18,340 drachmas.
State telecom gets bigger weighting in FTSE/ASE index
Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) yesterday acquired a 35
percent weighting on the Financial Times/Athens Stock Exchange (FTSE/ASE-
20) blue chip index, up from 25 percent, the bourse said in a statement.
The change, effective after yesterday's session, resulted from the transfer
of 50,405,420 OTE shares from the state to underwriters, who will then
distribute the stock among shareholders, completing the state telecom's
Gov't pledges to lift tax assessment criteria from 2000
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday
promised that unpopular tax assessment criteria applying to many small and
medium sized firms would be lifted from 2000.
Mr. Papantoniou was speaking to representatives of the General Confederation
of Light Industries and Traders.
The representatives had complained during a meeting with the minister about
higher taxes they would pay in 1998 due to the current system, and also
about a rise in tax assessment rates on property.
Mr. Papantoniou pledged that the government would boost funding to small
and medium sized enterprises from the European Union's Third Community
Share capital increase for Bank of Central Greece
A Bank of Central Greece general assembly of holders of ordinary shares
decided yesterday to increase the bank's share capital by 5.5 billion
drachmas with the privileged sale price of 2,000 drachmas per share.
Each holder of old shares is entitled to one new share for every four old
ones. In parallel, the general assembly ratified the sale of 70,000 shares
to the bank's staff at the privileged price of 2,000 drachmas each.
The formal ratification of the decision to increase the bank's share
capital will be carried out by the general assembly of holders of
privileged shares which will convene on Nov. 16.
Greece, Crimea agree on tourism cooperation
A high-ranking delegation from Ukraine's autonomous Crimean region had
talks in Athens on Monday with Greek National Tourist Organisation (GNTO)
president Yiannis Stefanidis on bilateral cooperation in the tourism
The delegation was headed by Crimean Premier S. Kunitsyn and included
Tourism Minister A. Taryanik and the Mayor of Yalta, V. Marchenko.
The meeting took place on the occasion of the twinning of the cities of
Yalta and Rhodes.
During the meeting, a memorandum was signed within the framework of a
bilateral agreement providing for tourism cooperation between Greece and
The memorandum foresees an exchange of information on tourism matters,
cooperation in tourism industry training and the fostering of contacts
between travel agencies aimed at increasing the movement of tourists
between Greece and Crimea.
Counter-incentives for pensioners' employment in draft bill
The initiation of counter-incentives for work done by pensioners will
apparently be one of the most thorny issues in the new insurance bill, the
so-called "small package" on insurance, which will be tabled on Thursday
and is expected to reach Parliament in about mid-December.
The counter-incentives will be finally included in the bill and will
concern all pensioners who are working, except for those who are self-
employed. The main idea will be to curb the pensions of all who continue to
work after their pensioning off.
The cutback will be estimated in excess of a certain amount which,
according to reports, will be 200,000 or 250,000 drachmas and will even be
able to reach 70 per cent of the excess amount of the ceiling. The bill
will also anticipate the suspension of the pensions of pensioners
continuing to work and who are below 55 years of age.
The bill will anticipate a transitional two-year period concerning
pensioners who are working at present to enable necessary changes in their
family planning to take place in a more moderate manner. On the other hand,
its clauses will be applied immedia tely for all being pensioned off after
the date the new law will take effect.
Olympic Airways flights to Lisbon begin
Olympic Airways (OA) last Sunday inaugurated flights to Lisbon via Rome, in
collaboration with the Portuguese carrier TAP-AIR. Three flights are
scheduled to Lisbon weekly on Monday, Friday and Sunday.
New NATO sub-headquarters in Tyrnavos soon to become operational
The formal beginning of operations at a new NATO sub-headquarters in
Tyrnavos, central Greece, was signalled yesterday with a ceremony held at
installations of the former Schinas army camp.
A nucleus of about 60 Greek officers from the NATO LSC staff have been
restationed from the First Army Corps.
The sanctification ceremony was held in the presence of the First Army's
commander, Lt.-Gen. Constantinos Panayiotakis and LSC commander Maj.-Gen.
Emmanuel Mantzanas, as well as the mayor of Tyrnavos Stavros Dovas.
National Defence General Staff Chief Athanassios Tzoganis will visit the
area today and will visit both the headquarters and the First Army.
The restationing of the approximately 60 Greek officers at the NATO LSC
Staff commenced from the end of September, and to date, 135 army, air force
and navy officers arrived at the facility.
Tsohatzopoulos, Papandreou attend Greek-Jewish event in London
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Alternate Foreign
Minister George Papandreou Sunday evening attended a dinner in London
marking the end of a Greek-Jewish week of events.
Mr. Papandreou, who was the main speaker at the dinner, said that the
foreign ministry has decided to donate to the Jewish Museum in Thessaloniki
some 2,000 official documents referring to Jews in Greece before and after
WWII, showcasing the excellent relations between the Greek-Jewish
communities and the state.
"Other countries hide their archives because they prove embarrassing for
them today," Mr. Papandreou said, adding:
"I am proud of the fact that Greece, faithful to its democratic principles,
did not stumble during World War II. We jointly fought and resisted fascism,
racism and Nazism, as one nation, Christians and Jews alike".
EuroMP Svoboda discusses report regarding EU-Turkey relations
Austrian Eurodeputy Hannes Svoboda paid a short working visit to Greece
yesterday for a briefing on Greek-Turkish relations by Foreign Minister
Theodoros Pangalos and Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis.
Mr. Svoboda, who is vice-president of the Europarliament's Socialist Group,
has prepared a report for the Europarliament on the progress to date in
relations between the Union and Turkey.
Earlier this year, Mr. Svoboda visited Ankara, where he had talks with high-
ranking Turkish government officials.
According to sources, both Mr. Pangalos and Mr. Kranidiotis expressed
support for facilitating Turkey's European vocation, but on the condition
that Ankara complies with international rules and accepts the jurisdiction
of the International Court at The Hague, which is a basic precondition for
the accession to the EU of 11 candidate-countries.
Mr. Svoboda's report will be discussed by the Europarliament's Foreign
Affairs Committee later this month and presented to the European Parliament
plenary in Strasbourg in mid-December.
Parliament debate continues, confidence vote scheduled for today
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday that tonight's
confidence vote in Parliament would reflect acceptance of the government's
work by a majority of the 300-member House.
He added that the confidence vote could not be seen in any other light
"such as a vote of tolerance".
Prime Minister Costas Simitis asked for a confidence vote last Thursday
after carrying out a minor cabinet reshuffle following a setback for the
ruling PASOK party in local elections last month.
With their vote, the spokesman said, PASOK deputies will confirm their
confidence in the government while at the same time giving a mandate for
the continuation of "the great task" which it has undertaken.
Debate continued for the second day yesterday with National Economy and
Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou refuting the main objections against
the government's economic and social policies.
In terms of delay in EMU accession, Mr. Papantoniou argued that no other
country among those that already joined EMU had such a "low starting point",
such as Greece, adding that in 1993 the deficit was at 14 per cent of the
national product, inflation was at 14 per cent and interest rates at 28 per
cent, while the drachma was in a "free fall" and the public debt was
Togo FM in Athens
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos held talks with his counterpart from
Togo, Cocu Josef Kofingo, at the foreign ministry yesterday.
It is the first time that he met with a counterpart from this west African
Mr. Kofingo said that Greece and Togo have already had cooperation through
the framework of multipartite relations, via the LOME contacts, which are
also the base for relations between the European Union and African,
Caribbean and Pacific countries.
Thai foreign undersecretary in Greece
Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis yesterday had a meeting with
his Thai counterpart, Paribatra Sukhumband, who is currently visiting
During the meeting, the two officials discussed the relations between the
two countries, the economic crisis in southeast Asian countries as well as
their relations with the European Union, while Mr. Kranidiotis briefed Mr.
Sukhumband on the situation in the Balkans, the Greek-Turkish relations, as
well as developments on the Cyprus problem.
OTE shares begin trading at NY Stock Exchange
State-run Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) yesterday became
the first Greece-based utility or company to be traded on the New York
Stock Exchange (NYSE).
At press time, OTE's stock price rose by 4 per cent in the first two hours
of trading, with a volume of 3,110,000 shares.
OTE Managing Director Georgios Chrysolouris declared open Monday's NYSE
session at the world's foremost bourse. NYSE's leadership also gave to Mr.
Chrysolouris a certificate of OTE's inclusion on the floor.
Roussel trial continues
The trial of Thierry Roussel, the father of 14-year-old Athina Onassis
Roussel, heir to the vast fortune of late shipping magnate Aristotle
Onassis, continued in an Athens court yesterday.
Mr. Roussel has been sued for perjury, false accusations and slander
against the president and three members of the Onassis Foundation,
following his charges of mismanagement by the Onassis Foundation's
The three members of the board were acquitted through a relative court
ruling, while the president of the Onassis Foundation, Stelio Papadimitriou,
yesterday continued his testimony before the court.
Mr. Papadimitriou testified that "...Thierry Roussel is trying to enforce
his suzerainty on the Foundation. He has sent letters in the past accusing
us of mismanagement, among other things. I did not reply to him, I simply
forwarded the letter to the min isters of justice and finance. Mr. Roussel
is trying to get what he wants through violence and threats..."
The trial continues.
Teenager implicated in Albanian burglars' shooting released on
A 17-year-old teenager charged with killing two Albanian burglars was
released from custody yesterday, following a joint decision by a prosecutor
The teenager shot the two Albanians with a shotgun early Saturday morning
in the village of Asprokampos, Corinth prefecture. Both victims were
seating in a stolen vehicle - loaded with items from the teen's residence
and outside his home. In his initial statement to authorities, he said the
shotgun discharged accidentally and while he was carrying the weapon in
self defence. Police discovered that the Albanians were also armed.
A Corinth prosecutor initially charged the youth with intentional homicide.
Complicity charges were also filed against the teen's 28-year-old uncle,
The teen was released on one million drachmas bail, while his uncle was
released on a 500,000-drachma bail.
Most Asprokampos villagers sided openly with the teen during court
Overcast weather is forecast throughout Greece today. Light rain in the
west of the country and also possibly on the islands of the eastern Aegean
Sea and the Dodecanese. Local fog in the morning, particularly in mainland
Greece. Winds southwesterly, light to moderate. Spring-like weather in
Athens with temperatures between 15-23C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki with
temperatures from 8-19C.
Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 277.353
British pound 462.312 Japanese yen (100) 239.637
French franc 50.110 German mark 168.065
Italian lira (100) 16.990 Irish Punt 418.247
Belgian franc 8.147 Finnish mark 55.278
Dutch guilder 149.003 Danish kr. 44.211
Austrian sch. 23.893 Spanish peseta 1.978
Swedish kr. 35.781 Norwegian kr. 37.865
Swiss franc 205.845 Port. Escudo 1.641
Aus. dollar 173.302 Can. dollar 179.552
Cyprus pound 567.384