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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-08-18

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, 18/08/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Cem thanks Papandreou for Greek quake relief
  • Derivatives market ready for launch on Aug 27
  • Simitis visit to Albania discussed
  • Israeli navy chief begins talks
  • OA talks strike good note
  • Stocks edge up, hit new record
  • Yield rises on 3-month T-bill
  • Coca Cola Beverages, Hellenic Bottling in advanced merger talks
  • Equity mutual fund assets rise sharply
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Cem thanks Papandreou for Greek quake relief

Deputy Interior Minister George Floridis said on Wednesday that Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem telephoned his Greek counterpart, George Papandreou, to thank him for the assistance sent so far by Greece to help the victims of the devastating earthquake that claimed thousands of lives in the neighbouring country.

In particular, Floridis said, Cem thanked Papandreou for the two firefighting aircraft and the helicopter sent by Greece to combat a blaze at the oil refinery in Izmit which broke out as a result of the violent quake.

In the near future, Cem said, medical supplies and tents would be needed, as the homeless already number some 200,000.

Greece was quick to send aid to quake-stricken Turkey yesterday, including two fully-equipped mobile medical units with eleven doctors and supplies, a 25-member emergency task force with equipment and specially trained dogs to help find victims trapped under piles of rubble.

Greek seismologists have also gone to the neighbouring country to consult with their Turkish counterparts.

Asked by the ANA if Greece's assistance might help strengthen ties between the two countries, Floridis replied that Turkey was currently facing major problems and Greece's desire to help was sincere.

Diplomatic sources said later that Cem had warmly thanked Papandreou for Greece's immediate and coordinated effort to contribute to quake relief.

According to the same sources, Cem said Greece's assistance was much greater than had been received from other countries and for this reason expressed the "unreserved appreciation" of the Turkish people.

Papandreou, the sources added, assured Cem that Greece would continue to send any assistance required and that a fourth Hellenic Air Force C-130 aircraft was preparing to depart for Istanbul with humanitarian aid.

In a related development, Greece's Health Ministry on Wednesday appealed to citizens to donate blood at state hospitals for the victims of the devastating earthquake in Turkey.

A ministry announcement said giving blood would be the greatest proof "of our humanitarian feelings towards the suffering of our fellow humans in Turkey".

It added that the competent services at hospitals around the country had already been informed about the appeal.

Derivatives market ready for launch on Aug 27

The country's first derivatives market is ready for launch on August 27 when futures on the FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chips and heavily traded stocks will be offered.

The newly created Athens Derivatives Market (ADM) is gradually to increase the number of products it offers, moving by the end of 2000 into interest rate futures on the three-month Athibor and benchmark 10-year bond.

It also will offer options on the FTSE/ASE-20 index and stocks by the same deadline.

"Our objective is to phase in operation of the new market so that Greek investors may familiarise themselves with it," ADM president Panayotis Alexakis said yesterday. The market is also open to players from abroad.

Complementing the Athens Stock Exchange, the ADM will provide an opportunity for gains and also act as a hedge for fluctuations in the bourse.

Trading will take place on Monday to Friday from 10.30 to 14.00 hours.

Mr. Alexakis forecast that transactions would initially total around 5,000 futures contracts a day.

He added that the impact of the bourse's daily eight percent volatility limit on the derivatives market would be minor.

In addition, the Capital Markets Commission was considering expanding the eight percent band, and then gradually abolishing it.

Simitis visit to Albania discussed

Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday met with Albania's Economy Minister Anastas Angjeli, in light of Prime Minister Costas Simitis' visit to Tirana next Tuesday.

The two men discussed bilateral and regional issues, including immigration, labour relations for the Albanian nationals in Greece, economic cooperation and Greece's support for Albania's economy. They also discussed in detail the course of disbursement of the 20-billion-drachma loan of Greece to Albania, the 1.5-million-dollar grant of Greece to the Albanian budget, and Greek aid for the construction of the new Albanian National Theatre.

Israeli navy chief begins talks

Deputy Defence Minister Dimitrios Apostolakis yesterday met with the Chief of the Israeli navy Rear Admiral Alex Tal, who is on an official visit in Greece at the invitation of his Greek counterpart George Ioannidis. They discussed issues concerning the naval forces of the two countries. The Israeli ambassador in Athens Ran Curiel and Mr. Ioannidis were present at the meeting.

OA talks strike good note

Olympic Airways (OA) Manager Rod Lynch yesterday met with the Federation of Civil Aviation Associations (OSPA) leadership and agreed on their demands that they participate in the human resources committee.

They also discussed and agreed on the new collective labour agreement.

Meanwhile it was announced that the European Union will respond on September 16 on the development plan submitted by Mr. Lynch for OA.

Stocks edge up, hit new record

Equity prices overcame a wave of profit-taking to end fractionally higher at a new record level yesterday.

The general index ended 0.11 percent up at 4,889.65 points, off the day's high of 4,914 points and off its low of 4,834 points. It was the 40th record closing this year.

Stocks in the parallel market for smaller capitalisation shares and the main market's Holding sector led the day's advance.

The Bank of Greece's share price hit the day's 8.0 percent limit up following several limit down sessions. Sector indices ended as follows: Banks (-0.25 pct), Insurance (-3.88 pct), Construction (-0.53 pct), Miscellaneous (+1.09 pct), Leasing (+0.05 p ct), Investment (+0.82 pct), Industrials (-0.04 pct) and Holding (+4.79 pct).

The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended 5.51 percent up while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chips and heavily traded stocks rose 0.55 percent to 2,739.36 points.

Turnover was 243.484 billion drachmas with 34,987,813 shares changing hands.

Broadly, advancers led decliners by 164 to 121 with another 11 issues unchanged.

Elgeka surged 97.3 percent in its second day of trading in the market.

A total of 34 shares ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up while only one (Lambropoulos) ended at the day's limit down.

Strintzis Lines and Elgeka were the most heavily traded stocks, while Elgeka, National Bank of Greece and Minerva led the day's turnover.

National Bank of Greece ended at 22,750 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 22, 590, Commercial Bank at 31,400, Titan Cement at 35,850, Hellenic Petroleum at 3,295, Intracom at 22,580, Minoan Lines at 6,875, Panafon at 8,550 and Hellenic Telecoms at 6,780.

Yield rises on 3-month T-bill

The average weighted yield in an auction yesterday of 30 billion drachmas' worth of three-month treasury bills rose to 9.81 percent from 9.44 percent in the previous sale, the finance ministry's public debt management agency said yesterday.

It said in a statement that bids totalled 104 billion drachmas, with primary dealers oversubscribing the offer by 3.47 times.

The ministry accepted 30 billion drachmas' worth of bids, keeping to its original target.

Primary dealers received a commission of 0.15 percent for purchasing the securities.

Coca Cola Beverages, Hellenic Bottling in advanced merger talks

Hellenic Bottling said yesterday that merger talks with Coca Cola Beverages Plc (CCB) of the United Kingdom were at an advanced stage.

The Greek company said in a statement two months after announcement of the planned merger that the original terms of the deal under discussion remained unchanged, except for the amount of a cash payment.

The cash offer for CCB's stock had fallen to 140 pence from 150 pence for each stock due to market conditions, the statement said.

Under the arrangement six new shares in Hellenic Bottling would be given for 57 shares in CCB.

The ceiling for the cash payment is 250 million pounds sterling, which covers up to 43 percent of CCB's remaining stock.

The term was agreed after the Coca Cola Company and the Olayan Group opted for the stock swap.

Equity mutual fund assets rise sharply

Domestic equity mutual fund assets rose 2.81 percent to 2.498 trillion drachmas on August 16 from the previous trading day, the highest rise among mutual fund categories, Ionian Bank said yesterday.

The bank's financial research department said in a daily market report that the assets of domestic equity mutual funds had jumped 406 percent since the start of the year.

On August 13, the category rose to 2.342 trillion drachmas, up 2.75 percent on the previous day. It had increased 392.20 percent since the beginning of the year.

Ionian Bank attributed the increase in the assets of domestic equity funds to high returns in the sector, estimated at around 163 percent since the start of 1999.

WEATHER

Fine weather throughout the country is forecast for today. Winds light and in parts of the Aegean Sea moderate. Athens will be sunny with temperatures between 22-37C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 21-35C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          307.421
Pound sterling       491.080
Japanese yen (100)   267.959
French franc          49.346
German mark          165.500
Italian lira (100)    16.717
Irish Punt           411.001
Belgian franc          8.024
Finnish mark          54.441
Dutch guilder        146.883
Danish kr.            43.531
Austrian sch.         23.523
Spanish peseta         1.945
Swedish kr.           37.061
Norwegian kr.         39.482
Swiss franc          202.080
Port. Escudo           1.615
Can. dollar          206.971
Aus. dollar          199.199
Cyprus pound         560.480
Euro                 323.690
(S.S.)
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