Major conference on Greece’s economy held in London The basic objective of the Greek presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2003 will be to consolidate a stable economic environment and boost confidence in its potential and prospects, Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said in his keynote speech at the British Hellenic Chamber of Commerce’s conference in London yesterday, titled, «Greece – The Regional Economic Center in Southeast Europe.» National Bank of Greece Chairman Theodoros Karatzas noted the extensive development of infrastructure in the country and progress in privatization and forecast that the Greek economy will maintain the growth momentum provided by the preparations for the 2004 Olympics even after the event. Managing Director of EFG Eurobank Ergasias Nikos Nanopoulos said Greek banks have overcome the difficulties of adaptation to the eurozone and now face more positive prospects than their European peers, on account of the economy’s growth potential, its still considerably untapped banking market and comparative advantages due to the country’s geographical position. Important factors in coming years will be mergers and acquisitions, the composition of margins and commission income and the role of foreign banks. The conference, held at the Four Seasons Hotel under the auspices of the British Embassy in Athens, was attended by about 200 business leaders and political figures, including London’s Lord Mayor Gavyn Arthur, Britain’s Minister of Trade and Development Baroness Symons and Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis. Eurobank heads mutual funds market shares EFG Eurobank Ergasias at the end of November had 7.3 billion euros of mutual funds under management, controlling a 30.4 percent market share, according to the Union of Greek Institutional Investors. National Bank of Greece’s mutual funds arm Diethniki managed 3.7 billion worth of assets (15.4 percent) and Alpha Bank 3 billion (12.8 percent). The total assets of the 258 mutual funds managed by the 27 mutual fund companies based in Greece amounted to 24 billion euros, 10.24 percent higher than at the beginning of the year. The seven largest accounted for 83.53 percent of that sum. International conference Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos is to attend an international conference on Greece in the age of globalization, to be held at Harvard University in Boston tomorrow and on Saturday. The event is organized by the local General Consulate of Greece, the Cambridge Peace Foundation and the Kokkalis program of the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Participants include prominent Greek, British and American academics and journalists. Notos Com Retailing group Notos Com Holdings has paid 6.2 million euros from reserves for a 6.3-hectare area in Aspropyrgos, Attica, where it plans to house all its offices and storage facilities. Plans include the purchase of a further adjoining 1.7 hectares. Car sales Private car sales reached 17,463 in November, a year-low and down 17 percent from October. Toyota again topped sales with 1,589, or 9.1 percent market share. The total number for the 11 months was 255,644, down 4.5 percent from a year ago.