ECONOMY

In Brief

Exporters take issue with tax authorities over VAT The Panhellenic Exporters Association (PSE) has complained to the Finance Ministry that tax offices do not comply with a circular instructing them to reimburse value-added tax (VAT) to its members within 30 days of an application. They say that the right has been granted only to a small number of exporting firms, whose value of exports accounts for more than 50 percent of turnover. «What is worse, tax offices do not observe the time period specified, refusing to return sums due since August to firms that are even 90 percent exporting, citing reasons such as lack of funds and different instructions,» PSE said. Greece and Bulgaria go a step further in pipeline project Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos and Bulgarian counterpart Valentin Tserovski yesterday signed in Athens a memorandum of cooperation for completion of the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, linking the Black Sea with the Aegean. The two sides pledged to make all efforts necessary to enhance the project’s economic feasibility and competitiveness, and to secure favorable loan terms from international credit organizations. Russia is the third party in the project. Cyprus Airways Hellas Jet will be the Greek subsidiary of Cyprus Airways (CYA) and is in the final stage of its formation, company Chairman Haris Loizidis said in Thessaloniki yesterday. The city, to which CYA flies once daily and plans to introduce a second flight in summer, is a priority for the carrier, he said. Hellas Jet plans to begin flights with three Airbus A-320 planes to European cities in June. CYA carried 10 percent more passengers in 2002, realizing 7-8 percent turnover growth. The group plans to spend $70 million on six new aircraft. KAE Retailing chains Folli Follie and Germanos are reported near an agreement for the joint acquisition of 40 percent of Duty Free Shops (KAE) from state-controlled Agricultural Bank; the deal involving the purchase of 21 million shares at the price of 8.30 euros each is expected to be signed next week. Maillis Packaging group Maillis notified the Athens bourse that it has completed a restructuring program of subsidiaries abroad. M.J. Maillis UK absorbed United Packaging Plc and is now the group’s sole operator in the UK; M.J. Maillis Holdings (France) effected a 1.01-million-euro capital increase and is now the group’s sole operator in France after absorbing other subsidiaries; in Italy, subsidiaries were also merged. Alumil Aluminum profile firm Alumil Mylonas will be the exclusive commercial representative of Germany’s multinational group Gretsch-Unitas in the Middle East, the Balkans and any other European countries in which it has subsidiaries, according to an agreement announced yesterday. Alumil has 25 subsidiaries, of which 18 are abroad. Mobiles Telephony retailer chain Germanos will distribute products of mobile operator Vodafone as of February 3. Germanos also retails the products of CosmOTE and Telestet, while Vodafone has a 200-strong chain of its own.