ECONOMY

In Brief

Athens, Istanbul and Tel Aviv bourses to forge trading ties The stock exchanges of Athens (ASE), Istanbul (ISE) and Tel Aviv (TASE) have agreed to promote initiatives boosting cross-country trading between them, to set up a trilateral stock market index and to facilitate the inflow of investment funds in the three countries, according to a statement issued after a three-day meeting of representatives of the respective bourses, their stockbroker members and central depositaries in Athens, from February 20-22. It was decided that the central depositaries will set an interconnecting electronic network by June 2004, by adopting the Eurolink model employed by the European Central Securities Depositaries Associations. The three depositaries plan to sign a memorandum of understanding in coming months. Christodoulakis tells utilities to keep a lid on prices Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis appealed to public utilities yesterday to keep a lid on price rises this year to help harness stubbornly high inflation. «Our public utilities are obligated to follow an exceptionally restrained pricing policy in order to contribute… to the fight against inflation,» he told reporters after meeting with heads of several state-controlled utility companies. Listed power utility Public Power Corporation (PPC), refinery group Hellenic Petroleum and soccer pools and lottery company OPAP were among the companies that took part in the meeting. But analysts were skeptical. «It is a measure which can only be partially implemented as the prices of public enterprises cannot be determined at the discretion of the Finance Ministry,» said Christos Avramides, economist at Proton Bank. Analysts said some companies, such as Hellenic Petroleum had little choice but to follow world markets, while other public enterprises had already penciled in moderate price rises in line with projected inflation. (Reuters) Natural gas EU Energy and Transport Commissioner Loyola de Palacio said the Greek-Turkish agreement for construction of a natural gas pipeline linking the two countries, signed on Sunday, is a significant contribution to ensuring adequacy of supplies for the European market. Greece is currently in dialogue with Italy for an extension of the pipeline. The Commission had provided 4.3 million euros for the feasibility study of the project. Internet cafes Fast-food group Everest has signed an agreement with UK-based easyinternetcafe to operate seven such facilities in Greece. The first is expected to open in Everest’s Syntagma Sq outlet in Athens, where work is being completed, to be followed soon by the one in the suburb of Kifissia. Henry Cotton Wholesale and retail group Notos Com Holdings has obtained exclusive representation and distribution rights for Henry Cotton garments in Greece and Cyprus. The firm also recently obtained the rights to the Trussardi brand. Intralot Gaming systems developer and operator Intralot is to provide a computerized lottery game system to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the company said yesterday. Intralot signed a six-year contract to supply, install, support and operate an online lottery system with FYROM’s Lotarija na Makedonija. The system will be operational by the end of 2003.