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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-10-20

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM confers with Cyprus President before EU informal summit
  • [02] NBG deputy CEO on Finansbank acquisition
  • [03] EIB interest in Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline

  • [01] PM confers with Cyprus President before EU informal summit

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis, in Finland for an informal EU summit meeting, met Friday with Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos during which they discussed Turkey's European course in light of the European Commission's progress report on Turkey which is expected to be released on November 8.

    Karamanlis made no statements to the press after the meeting, while Papadopoulos explained that it was one of the customary contacts he has with the Greek prime minister whenever they were both attending the same forum.

    Asked whether there was understanding from the Greek side, Papadopoulos replied that "never has understanding been lacking on the part of the Greek side, except only for the press...our cooperation, in action, is excellent".

    The Finnish EU presidency is continuing its deliberations over the proposal it has submitted aiming at finding a compromise solution to keeping the Turkish accession process on track.

    Karamanlis and Papadopoulos had a private discussion, before they were joined by the Greek and Cypriot delegations, which included Greece's deputy foreign minister Yannis Valynakis, the director of the prime minister's diplomatic office Alexandros Sandis, Greece's permament representative to Brussels Vassilis Kaskarelis, and deputy government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros, as well as the director of President Papadopoulo's diplomatic office Tassos Tzionis, Cyprus ambassador to Helsinki Loria Markidi, and Cyprus' permament representative to Brussels Nikos Aimiliou.

    [02] NBG deputy CEO on Finansbank acquisition

    If the National Bank of Greece had not gone ahead in early April with the acquisition of Turkey's FinansBank, which is one of the most rapidly developing credit institutions in the neighbouring country, with high profitablity, it would have risked remaining simply a large bank in a small market -- Greece -- without prospects of attaining a critical size in a European context, Ioannis Pechlivanidis, Vice-Chairman and Deputy CEO of the National Bank of Greece, said Friday, addressing the annual conference of the European Investment Bank (EIB), which is being held in Athens for the first time.

    "Had we not made this move, we risked remaining a large bank in a small market - i.e. Greece - with no prospects of attaining critical size in a European context," Pechlivanidis said, adding that "looking forward, our main challenge will beto integrate the new acquisitions and to obtain a meaningful size in Romania", thus rendering National Bank a regional leader in the wider region of SE Europe with a notable presence on a European level.

    Referring to the presence of Greek banks in general the SE Europe region, Pechlivanidis said that, according figures available at the end of 2005, Greek banks had a network of 963 branches, with 16,000 employees, and controlling 15 percent (10 billion euros) of the overal assets of the region's banking system, coming behind the Austrian banks, which controlled 24 percent, and ahead of the Italian banks, which controlled 14 percent.

    Pechlivanidis noted that Greek banks earn about 6 percent of their total profits from their activities in the SE Europe region (approx. 147 million euros) "and are targeting a higher share going forward, both through organic growth as well as through acquisitions".

    He noted, however, that "the scope for further acquisitions in SE Europe, and to a lesser extent Turkey, is nearing its limits as few opportunities remain, and their prices relfect their scarcity value as well as their bright prospects", citing Romania's fourth largest bank, the CEC, as one of the last remaining important acquisition opportunities in the region.

    [03] EIB interest in Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline

    European Investment Bank (EIB) lending to Greece will exceed one billion euros in 2007 for transport, energy and local government projects, it was made known on Friday.

    More specifically, with respect to the transport sector, financing procedures were underway for a 200 million euro EIB loan for the Corinth-Tripolis-Kalamata national highway project, another 100 million euros for the Lefktro-Sparta national highway project, 150 million euro for the Thessaloniki underwater tunnel project, and 100 million euros for port projects.

    In the energy sector, financing procedures were underway for a 100 million euros loan to the Public Power Corporation (DEH) and another 50 million euros for natural gas projects.

    Regarding the sector of local government authorities, the EIB was examining loans of 50 million euros to the City of Athens and 20 million euros for the municipality of Kozani, while it was further examining a 100 million euro loan to the Athens-Piraeus Water Board (EYDAP).

    Meanwhile, EIB president Philippe Maystadt, who is currently in Athens for the annual EIB meeting that is taking place in the Greek capital for the first time, told a press conference on Friday that the EIB was interested in participating in the financing of the Burgas-Alexandropoupolis oil pipeline.

    Other EIB officials added that the Bank was also interested in participating in the financing of projects in Greece in the sectors of energy, education, local government, and research and innovation.

    Indeed, they was announced that the EIB and Greece's Schoolbuildings Organisation (OSK) were due to sign an agreement later in the day for a 200 million euro loan to finance the renovation and construction of 230 schools throughout the country. The EIB officials also opined that the EIB-OSK cooperation would be continued over the next few years, while they also expressed interest in extending the collaboration to the field of universities as well.

    The EIB further announced the signing of loan agreements of 50 million euros with Eurobank and 40 million euros with General Bank for the financing of SMEs, as well as a 110 million euro loan with the Attiko Metro company for financing the extention of the Athens Metro.

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