Saturday May 23, 2015 Search
Weather | Athens
14o C
09o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Greece to cut industrial energy cost, defying lenders

By Harry Papachristou

Greece will reduce industrial companies' energy costs to save two struggling steelmakers, the government said on Tuesday, shrugging off objections from international lenders that the move might blow a hole in Athens' finances.

It was further evidence of the debt-laden country adopting a more assertive stance towards its creditors as it tries to soften the impact of bailout-imposed austerity policies on its depressed economy and mitigate record unemployment.

Halyvourgiki and Hellenic Halyvourgia, two of Greece's biggest steelmakers, said last week they would dismiss or suspend about 320 workers at their Athens factories because they could not compete due to high electricity costs.

This sparked a public outcry and Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said the government would override objections by the so-called «troika» of international lenders and introduce flexible power prices to lower the firms' costs.

Athens will push through so-called «interruptibility» agreements, under which big power consumers can briefly take their factories off the grid and get refunds from Greece's state-run power network operator, Hatzidakis said.

The troika has hitherto blocked such deals because it fears they could strain the finances of both the grid operator and utility concerns that would foot the bill. Greece's energy system nearly collapsed in a liquidity crisis in mid-2012.

"This will displease the troika, but the way things stand, we have no choice,» Hatzidakis, whose ministry is in charge of industrial policy, told radio station Skai.

Electricity accounts for more than half of the troubled steelmakers' operating costs, a senior executive of one of them told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

An austerity-fuelled, six-year recession has hit Greek construction hard, slashing domestic demand for steel products to about 300,000 tons a year from 2.5 million before the crisis, according to the senior executive.

Hellenic Halyvourgia sustained a net loss of 37 million euros and Halyvourgiki of 58 million, according to their latest published financial statements for 2012 and 2011 respectively.

"We're operating at just 10 percent capacity,» the executive said. Exports that could compensate for some of the domestic slump are not competitive enough to match rivals in neighboring Italy or Turkey which have lower costs, he added.

Greece will resume talks with lenders on Monday to agree on the disbursement of rescue loans under the country's 240-billion euro bailout.

Emboldened by a budget surplus it may have achieved last year, Athens wants its lenders to cut it some slack and refuses to take on any new austerity.

The unemployment rate soared to a record 28 percent in November. Greece's fragile government, which trails the opposition in the polls and whose survival may hang in the balance in European elections in May, has pledged to fight joblessness.

[Reuters]

ekathimerini.com , Tuesday February 18, 2014 (18:40)  
Hotel contracts with a ‘Greek default clause’
Listed firms have whisked away most of their cash reserves
Car sales drop a gear on VAT rate uncertainty
Bulk of loan requests comes from food service
Tsipras faces down radicals within SYRIZA over terms of deal
After a busy week of talks with European leaders aimed at securing support for a deal for Greece, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras faces challenges on the home front amid tensions with SYRIZA o...
Police on standby after Roma dispute leaves one dead
Police in the western Athens district of Egaleo were on standby Saturday after a dispute between two Roma families left one person dead, another injured and two properties seriously damaged....
Inside News
SOCCER
Greece escapes soccer suspension, FIFA happy with changes
FIFA says it is satisfied with changes made to sporting law in Greece, and has dropped a threat to suspend the country from international competition. In a letter to the government dated May...
SOCCER
Four-goal Panathinaikos thrashes Asteras away
Panathinaikos thrashed Asteras at Tripoli to gain an early advantage in the race for a spot in next season’s Champions League qualifiers, as the Super League play-offs got under way on Wedne...
Inside Sports
ANALYSIS
Neither Grexit nor a dual currency will solve Greece’s problems
A Grexit or the introduction of a dual currency is not a solution to Greece’s problems. On the contrary, it would be a worst-case scenario for Greece in the short term. Only in the medium to...
COMMENTARY
First aid for the capital
The fact that the center of Athens exudes the stench of human waste is an undeniable truth, just like the fact that in late spring, one nostril smells blossoming bitter lemon trees while the...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Tsipras faces down radicals within SYRIZA over terms of deal
2. Police on standby after Roma dispute leaves one dead
3. Dog attacks seven people in Thessaloniki, including 13-year-old boy
4. Two children aged 4 removed from Roma camp after DNA tests
5. Ten suspects arrested over 2011 abduction
6. Eleven kilograms of heroin stopped from reaching Italy
more news
Today
This Week
1. Hotel contracts with a ‘Greek default clause’
2. Listed firms have whisked away most of their cash reserves
3. Neither Grexit nor a dual currency will solve Greece’s problems
4. First aid for the capital
5. Response to May 15 comment
6. New civil service assessment scheme focuses on rewards instead of punishment
Today
This Week
1. The Greek-German breakthrough that didn’t come
2. Conspiracy madness
3. Greece came close to not paying IMF
4. National self-awareness put to the test
5. Albanian demarche raises concerns about possible territorial claims over Greece
6. Greek endgame nears for Tsipras as bank collateral hits buffers
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2015, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.