ECONOMY

In Brief

Joint power/heating and energy saving projects lure investors Energy saving and joint electricity/heating production projects attracted the strongest interest in the second invitation for firms wishing to tap incentives for investment in energy projects, part of the EU-subsidized «Competitiveness» program running until 2006, the Development Ministry said. Fifty-seven proposals for 81 projects were submitted, their budgets totaling 292.9 million euros. Budgets of joint electricity/heating production projects totaled 136.5 million euros; of energy saving projects, 73.3 million; of wind-power systems, 36.5 million and of photovoltaic systems, 15.8 million euros. Among the highest-budgeted projects were two for joint production systems by Aluminium of Greece in Viotia, another two in Drama and for a wind park in Arcadia. The difference in plans submitted in response to the second invitation is that these are accompanied by installation licenses which makes their implementation much more likely. Garganas washes hands of compound interest issue The Bank of Greece has no powers to intervene on the issue of compound interest and commercial bank borrowers who complain that their overdue loan repayments according to the rescheduling arrangement of 2001 balloon out of all proportion, Governor Nicholas Garganas told a parliamentary committee yesterday. «Parliament has passed three laws… There is a legal vacuum as to whether banks can now charge interest on the amounts that were not due for repayment in 2001… We are in consultation with the Finance Ministry and can therefore not deal with a vacuum,» he said. Agrotica Exhibition of farming equipment and materials Agrotica 2003, to be held at the Helexpo grounds in Thessaloniki from January 29 to February 2, will focus on «Greek Agriculture in 2010,» a projection through audiovisual means, based on the structural changes expected from current EU-subsidized investment and the forthcoming enlargement. Experts from other Balkan countries will participate in a seminar on the region’s farming sector in view of enlargement. Helexpo, in collaboration with the Hellenic External Trade Agency will present Agricultural Stock Market, a new method of transactions in farm products. Other features include organic farming, the food crisis and the impact of environmental pollution. Turkey will have a strong participation, the organizers said. Unisystems IT firm Unisystems has undertaken the distribution of Nortel Networks’s integrated telecom solutions for firms in Greece and Cyprus. Unisystems said boosting its presence in telecom products and services is part of its strategy. NN Insurance company Nationale Nederlanden (NN) is being renamed after its parent group, ING. According to a statement, the change will not affect the firm’s provision of high-standard financial products and services in Greece. Intracom Telecoms equipment and IT group Intracom has signed a 132.16-million-euro contract to supply the Defense Ministry with 6,000 VHF / FM-FH wireless sets for the Greek army.