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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-02-23

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Hellenic Exchanges says net profits down 29% in '08
  • [02] Athens' real estate prospects improved, report
  • [03] Charges over repeat prison break
  • [04] Greek stocks end 3.26% down

  • [01] Hellenic Exchanges says net profits down 29% in '08

    Hellenic Exchanges SA on Monday reported a 29-pct decline in its net after-tax profits to 65 million euros last year, down from 91 million euros in 2007. The added that its turnover dropped 33 pct to 108.4 million euros, down from 161.2 million euros over the same years, respectively.

    The board of the operator of Athens Stock Exchange, the Athens Derivatives Exchange and Alternative Market, said it would seek shareholders' approval for a plan to pay a 0.35-euro per share dividend to shareholders and a 0.25-euro per share capital return.

    Hellenic Exchanges said its 2008 results were positively affected by the sale of real estate property (7.0 million euros) and attributed its decline in turnover to a 36 pct fall in the value of clearing and settlement, a 35-pct drop in proceeds from stock transactions and 67-pct fall in income from listed companies.

    In the derivatives market, income from trading and settlement rose 10 pct to 11 million euros last year.

    [02] Athens' real estate prospects improved, report

    ┼urope's real estate market is shrinking, with the market facing an extremely difficult year as demand falls throughout the °ontinent, but Athens improved its position in terms of prospects of investment and development, a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers stated on Monday.

    The report, on real estate trends in Europe in 2009, said new capital for real estate assets would be limited, both in the capital market and in bank loans, while it remained unclear whether prices would improve or this declining trend would be reversed.

    The survey noted that an existing crisis in real estate capital market could evolve into a permanent crisis, as Europe entered deeper into recession. Even rapidly growing countries would suffer a decline in production, while the leasing market was also expected to be negatively affected.

    Haris Kyriazis, partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers in Greece, said 2009 would be a difficult year for many investors but stressed that Athens moved up four positions based on investment prospects (21st) and climbed even higher on development prospects (12th).

    [03] Charges over repeat prison break

    ┴criminal investigation against a helicopter pilot and several prison guards was opened on Monday, a day after Sunday's repeat helicopter escape by convicted felon Vassilis Paleokostas and Albanian convict Alket Rizaj from Korydallos prison near the port of Piraeus.

    Expectedly, the "deja vu" escape generated front-page banner headlines in the Athens press and reverberations across political fault lines on Monday, with the government on announcing a series of measures designed to tighten security in the country's correctional facilities. The measures were taken after an emergency Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to discuss Sunday's sensational repeat escape.

    In statements after the meeting, Justice Minister Nikos Dendias, whose portfolio includes the correctional system, underlined the government's belief "that this attempt could not have succeeded without participation from the inside".

    After demanding and receiving the resignations of the prison staff on Sunday night, Dendias added that he has requested from the Supreme Court prosecutor and the head of the authority against money laundering to allow the opening of bank accounts of all those charged in connection with the case as well as of the staff in the specific wing of the prison.

    Dendias said one perimeter guard, two other guards, the head guard of Korydallos prison and the pilot of the helicopter used in the escape have been arrested and charged. Three top officials, two justice ministry secretaries and the penitentiary's warden, were cashiered on Sunday evening.

    The same duo of convicts, Paleokostas and Rizaj, had escaped from the same facility in 2006 in the same exact manner, i.e. aboard a helicopter.

    The justice ministry has further sought from the relevant authority the opening of bank accounts of the prison employees of Korydallos' third wing, where the two escapees were incarcerated.

    Caption: A view of the helicopter used in the prison escape on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, north of Athens on the same day. ANA-MPA / A. BELTES.

    [04] Greek stocks end 3.26% down

    Greek stocks suffered heavy losses at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, unable to find support from a positive trend in other European markets. The composite index dropped 3.26 pct to end at 1,548.99 points, with turnover at 103.6 million euros, of which 3.8 million euros were block trades.

    All sectors moved lower, with the exception of the Media index which ended 0.74 pct higher. Banks (5.89 pct), Financial Services (5.76 pct), Food/Beverage (4.63 pct) and Telecommunications (3.72 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    The FTSE 20 index dropped 4.19 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 0.96 pct lower and the FTSE 80 index fell 0.92 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 139 to 50 with another 58 issues unchanged.


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