ECONOMY

Stock losses may be transferred

Companies posting losses from stock holdings and bonds in 2002 will be able to deduct them from their reserves, thereby not affecting their profits and allowing them to show a «decent» balance sheet. This has been made possible by the Finance Ministry following a request from the Union of Listed Companies. The ministry was forced to agree to the proposal as the majority of listed companies showed massive debts and also have a liquidity problem following the downturn on the stock market. Sources said last year’s losses as a result of equity and bond dealings will be allowed to be gradually set off from reserves, which will not affect profits. Stock appraisals based on their prices on December 31, 2002 will be offset in three years, 2003, 2004 and 2005. The final decision on this issue will be made today by Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis who will meet with the the Union of Listed Companies, the Capital Market Commission and representatives from the Federation of Greek Industries. Listed companies believe that is is time that the ministry help them out after it helped the banking sector by passing legislation on the value of their real estate holdings. Recently, the government approved legislation allowing banks, insurance companies and listed companies to modify the value of real estate utilized for personal use which has not been amortized to be based on their objective value for balance sheets closing on December 31, 2002. This allowed companies, banks in particular, which have tens of pieces of property for their own use, to deduct the losses from their stock holdings.