ECONOMY

In Brief

Technical Olympic expands holdings in US housing market Construction company Technical Olympic’s US subsidiary (TOUSA), which is listed on the Nasdaq, has acquired the Denver, Colorado-based housing developer James Company for $30 million in cash. The acquisition comes shortly after that of Florida-based DS Ware Homes. The group said in a statement that its strategy envisages its strengthening in existing markets and expansion into other states through acquisitions or partnerships. TOUSA, which is the result of the merger of Newmark Homes and Eagle Homes, acquired in the last three years, is fully active in the housing market with its Preferred Home Mortgage Company. James Company has been active for 30 years and recently sold 310 homes for an average $200,000 per sale. Technical Olympic owns and operates the Porto Carras hotel and casino resort in Halkidiki, Macedonia. Conditions in manufacturing improve, but more slowly The seasonally adjusted Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), which measures conditions in manufacturing with 50 points as a base, improved for a 10th consecutive month in February but at a slower pace, falling from 53.1 points in January to 51.3. The slowdown recorded in sales growth in Greece and abroad is mainly attributed to bad weather conditions and the climate of global economic uncertainty. Most firms reported no change as regards employment levels. The Greek PMI is compiled by NTC Research. ETBA Formerly State-owned ETBA Bank returned to profitability in 2002, after being acquired by Piraeus Bank in March. Pretax profit was 36 million euros, against losses of 18.8 million euros in 2001. The bank attributed the improvement to 1.9 percent growth in net income, a 5.4 percent reduction in operating expenses, an active management policy and the clearing of outstanding claims. Equity capital ended at 1,208 million euros, or 41.1 percent of assets. ETBA Bank plans to recommend a dividend of 0.10 euros per share. Wholesale prices The wholesale price index rose 0.5 percent in January, compared to 5.1 and 3.2 percent rises respectively in the same month in 2002 and 2001, the National Statistics Service said. The average rise for the 12 months from February 2002 to January 2003 was 2.0 percent, compared to 2.4 and 6.4 percent respectively in the two previous same periods. Media Village Construction company Michaniki and realty development firm Lamda Olympia Village (a subsidiary of Lamda Development) signed a 10.8-million-euro deal for five buildings of the Media Village in Maroussi for next year’s Olympic Games. Construction will be completed in 12 months and after the Games Michaniki will convert the buildings to other uses. Capital Market The Capital Market Ombusdman, an independent authority aimed at promoting the friendly settlement of disputes among stockbroker members of the Athens bourse, institutional investors and investment firms, has been launched into service. It is located at 15 Omirou St, in Athens, tel 210.362.4808 (email: [email protected]).