ECONOMY

In Brief

Prospect of war casts shadow over tourism The prospect of war in Iraq is already affecting the tourism sector in the eastern Mediterranean and, according to initial indications, bookings for Greek destinations are down in relation to last year, Deputy Development Minister Dimitris Georgakopoulos said. He urged tourist businesses not to give in to the temptation to raise their prices in order to make up for any shortfall or the cost of damages from the recent bad weather. He said tourism officials will carry out immediate checks in the hit areas. Hyatt Regency sees hefty 2002 profit growth on casino results Hotel and casino operator Hyatt Regency said yesterday its pretax profits for 2002 rose 46 percent to 55.1 million euros, on sales growth of 18.3 percent to 171.9 million euros. Revenues at its Thessaloniki casino rose 19.4 percent to 161.1 million euros, with the hotel contributing 10.8 million in group sales, a rise of 3.6 percent over 2001, the company said. Hyatt said its debt rose by 46.3 million euros last year after it took out a syndicated loan to acquire a 49 percent stake in the state Mont Parnes Casino resort together with construction group Hellenic Technodomiki. (Reuters) Attica Ferry operator Attica Enterprises said yesterday 2002 group net profit fell 34 percent to 6.8 million euros from 10.3 million a year earlier, hit by high fuel costs. The profit figure includes earnings from Attica’s 48.6 percent subsidiary Strintzis Lines. Group sales rose 27 percent to 318.6 million euros. Attica ferries service the Adriatic Sea route linking Greece with Italy. (Reuters) Consumers The government intends to introduce incentives to foster the growth of consumers’ organizations, Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos said. «We are talking about single EU markets in banking and insurance; we seek common overseeing authorities. However, only the cross-border cooperation between citizens’ organizations will give them the required defenses,» he told a European seminar in Athens. LG Korean group LG Electronics is to set up a Greek subsidiary, targeting the third largest market share in electronic and electrical appliances within five years, the group’s president, Hee Jong Park, told a news briefing. LG Electronics Hellas also intends to enter the Cypriot market and will consider expansion into other Balkan countries. The company plans to spend 60 million euros on advertising. The group is active in 72 countries and its turnover in 2002 exceeded $20 million, with profits of $1.2 million. Intrarom Telecoms and software equipment group Intracom’s Romanian subsidiary Intrarom has signed a 2.21-million-euro contract with Romania’s power company Transelectrica, to install equipment to make the country’s grid compatible with neighboring Bulgaria’s. The project is financed through the EU program PHARE. Chemicals The value of exports of chemicals almost trebled in the 1990s, after rising by an annual average of 11.5 percent, but Greece remains a net importer in the category, the Panhellenic Exporters Association said. The subcategories with the highest growth rates were pharmaceuticals and plastics.