ECONOMY

In Brief

Telestet goes for fixed-line telephony and new-generation mobile phones Mobile phone operator Stet Hellas will launch fixed-line telephony services under its Telestet label at the end of February, Managing Director Nikos Varsakis said. The new service will initially be «complementary,» mainly targeting corporate clients. Varsakis said the firm’s number of clients rose 156,322, or 113.4 percent, in the fourth quarter of 2002 in relation to the third quarter, bringing the total to 2,513,642, or 17.7 percent up from a year earlier. Of these, 69.5 percent are pre-paying clients, the rest being contract or corporate clients. He said he is less optimistic about prospects for further growth in 2003 given that penetration of the domestic market has now reached a high of 82 percent. Emphasis will be given to the provision of new services and new-generation mobile phones. Export decline slows down and imports rise again The rate of decline in Greek exports slowed down in the first nine months of 2002, giving rise to hopes that they did not fall further in the year as a whole, the Panhellenic Exporters Association (PSE) said, attributing the development mainly to the weakening of the dollar against the euro. Exports in terms of the US dollar’s current value fell 1.4 percent to $7,628 million in that period, against 2.7 percent in the eight months, while those to industrial countries declined only 0.6 percent. Imports, however, rose 6.1 percent in the same period. Insurance The next two years will be difficult for the insurance industry if firms do not revise their policies and the government does not tackle the urgent problem of an independent watchdog for the industry, the chairman of the Greek Insurance Companies Association, Dimitris Kontominas, said. He said the industry has been hit by a series of outside factors. CSF III Banks are reportedly concerned about the small number of small and medium-sized firms seeking their brokerage services for the submission of their investment proposals, to be subsidized under the EU’s Third Community Support Framework (CSF III). Such firms in the tourism and manufacturing sectors have until tomorrow to submit their plans to any of the 29 banks designated for the purpose. Michaniki Listed construction company Michaniki yesterday signed a 63-million-euro contract for construction of the basketball, handball and fencing facilities for the Olympic Games of 2004 in the old Athens airport at Hellenikon, in a consortium with Canadian firm Ellis Don Construction. It is Michaniki’s sixth Olympic project. Bank of Attica Bank of Attica shareholders approved a 62.7-million-euro share capital increase, aimed at improving creditworthiness and financing further growth. The bank, which is awaiting a consultant’s feasibility report on merging with the Post Office Savings Bank (Tachydromiko Tamieftirio), is planning to open eight more branches in 2003. Prices The deadline for retailers to display prices with the indications «euros» and «cents» has been extended from January 20 to the end of the month.