Change of guard at Union of Greek Shipowners Nikos Efthymiou was unanimously elected yesterday as the new president of the Union of Greek Shipowners (EEE), replacing Yiannis Lyras, who had served two three-year terms. Efthymiou had previously served as vice president. The other officers of the 30-member board are Theodoros Veniamis and Christos Kanellakis (vice presidents), Matthaios Los and Michalis Chandris (secretaries), Leonidas Demetriades-Eugenides (treasurer) and Anna Drakopoulou (assistant treasurer), the first woman officer. Albanians sack insurance firm manager to speed up privatization TIRANA (Reuters) – The Albanian government sacked the general manager of the biggest state insurance firm yesterday, saying the move was aimed at speeding up INSIG’s sale to strategic investors and international finance institutions. The Finance Ministry said Eduart Shalsi, a banker who worked for a Greek-owned bank, would replace Bardhyl Minxhozi to speed up privatization, which has been delayed by debates over the sale formula and management improvements. Minxhozi said he was disappointed that he had been dismissed – in a closed-door meeting that he was not invited to – given INSIG’s rising profits and its successful regional expansion. Albania wants to transfer up to 40 percent of INSIG shares to the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in 2003. Following the transfer, the IFC and the EBRD will co-manage INSIG for up to two years. In the meantime, the remaining 60 percent of shares would be offered for sale to a strategic foreign investor. Budget approved The board of Athens 2004, the Olympic Games organizers, yesterday approved the revised budget of the organization, set at 1.96 billion euros. It was reported that 56 percent of the outlays will take place in 2004 and 2005. CSFII There are still loose ends to the European Union’s Second Community Support Framework program, which ran from 1994 to 1999. Deputy Economy Minister Christos Pachtas told Parliament yesterday that Greece still has to receive 1.47 billion euros from CSFII and must apply for the sums by March 31. Pachtas warned that the money will be slow in arriving, since the auditing process is quite cumbersome. OK to IPO The Capital Market Commission yesterday approved the initial public offering of closed-end fund EFG Euroinvestments for listing on the Athens bourse’s main market. The fund will be the 25th to list on the exchange. Losses Fourlis Group executives fear that the final results for 2002 will be much worse than those for the first nine months, when the group’s consolidated losses were 14.8 million euros. A series of investments gone bad are to blame, sources said. The chief lossmaker was the former computers and accessories chain OneWay, which has since been sold to, and absorbed by, consumer electronics chain Kotsovolos. Fourlis’s annual results will be published on February 28.