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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-09-08

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM chairs wide meeting ahead of TIF
  • [02] OTE determined to cut labour cost
  • [03] NBG 2.8-bln-euro capital raise
  • [04] ASE opening: Plunge

  • [01] PM chairs wide meeting ahead of TIF

    Prime minister George Papandreou chaired a wide meeting on Wednesday at the Interior Ministry, ahead of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) that opens Saturday evening with the traditional economic policy address by the premier.

    The meeting was attended by interior minister Yannis Ragoussis, government spokesman George Petalotis, finance minister George Papaconstantinou, culture and tourism minister Pavlos Geroulanos and foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas.

    Replying to press questions, Petalotis said the meeting was one of a planning group of the government's next steps, which will formulate -- together with the ministers and collective bodies -- and implement the government's policy.

    To another question, he said the group would be meeting regularly, while its composition each time would depend on the subjects on the agenda.

    Asked whether prime minister George Papandreou planned to be a candidate for UN secretary general next year, Petalotis said that "we have so much work to do, as the Greek government, and all this talk and speculation does not help the country".

    The new Cabinet, which was sworn in on Tuesday after a sweeping government reshuffle, will hold its first meeting on Friday.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [02] OTE determined to cut labour cost

    -PA/Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) on Tuesday reiterated its determination to cut its labour cost, by abolishing the terms of a 1999 labour agreement covering time benefits and work maturities, while it would proceed with the implementation of its investment program (350-450 million euros) annually in the fixed-telephony business and fight to regain its older share in the market (50 pct from 46 pct currently) in the broadband business.

    OTE announced it would launch its satellite TV station by Christmas and complete the first fiber optic networks works this year. OTE has lost around 250,000 customers so far this year, of which 130,000 in the last quarter, a trend expected to be continued in the next quarter "with the blessings of the national market watchdog", Panagiotis Vourloumis, OTE's chairman said on Tuesday.

    Speaking to reporters, in Thessaloniki, Vourloumis said the management would seek to promote a new labour status after consultations with trade unions with the aim to cut its labour cost from 33 pct of OTE's revenues (22 pct on average in Europe).

    Vourloumis strongly criticized the market watchdog saying it was scandalously favouring OTE's competitors by forcing the organization to sell its products up to 40 pct more expensively. OTE would also seek a reorganization of its retail network, saying 25-30 pct of branches could either relocate or their human resources distributed to other sales points.

    Vourloumis said OTE was interested in selling its 20 pct equity stake in Telekom Srbjia, an initial investment of 155 million euros. He said that mobile telephony operations were progressing well in Romania, while Bulgaria was also on a positive trend. On the other hand, once huge profit margins in Albania have significantly shrank because of strong competition in the market.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [03] NBG 2.8-bln-euro capital raise

    -PA/National Bank of Greece on Tuesday announced a capital increase plan worth 2.8 billion euros in a move aimed at boosting its capital base. Under the plan, the bank will raise around 1.8 billion euros from capital markets through a capital increase plan and the issuance of a convertible bond loan, while National Bank will raise another 1.0 billion euros from the sale of a 20 pct equity stake in Finansbank.

    The bank said its Core Tier 1 ratio will be strengthened by around 380 basis points following completion of the program.

    National Bank will seek to raise 631 million euros from its shareholders, through the issue of 121.4 million new common shares at an offering price of 5.20 euros per share and another 1.184 billion euros through the issue of 227.6 million convertible bonds at the same offering price (5.20 euros).

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [04] ASE opening: Plunge

    Equity prices were declining at the opening of trade on Wedneday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE),with the basic share price index down 2.87 percent, standing at 1,571.93 points at 11:00 am, and turnover at 37.55 million euros.

    Individual sector indices were moving downward, with the only gains in Insurance, up 1.47 percent.

    The biggest losses were in Banks, down 5.78 percent and Financial Services, down 4.01 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was down 4.52 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was down 2.14 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was down 1.46 percent.

    Of the stocks traded, 9 were up, 68 were down, and 8 were unchanged.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form


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