ECONOMY

In Brief

Pirate software accounts for nearly two-thirds of sales The Greek information technology sector can grow up to 60 percent if software piracy is restricted, according to a study prepared for the Business Software Alliance (BSA), which has 57 country members and lobbies for stricter measures against illegal IT products. The Greek IT sector now has an annual turnover of 1.4 billion euros and a 10 percent gradual reduction in piracy, which, combined with projected growth, could bring this to 2.3 billion by 2006, the study estimates. Suppressing piracy, which was estimated to account for 64 percent of software sales in 2001, could also create up to 1,900 jobs and generate additional public revenue of about 130 million euros annually. Software piracy in Greece is estimated to have been reduced by 14 percent between 1996 and 2001, during which legal turnover grew by 16 percent. Delta expects further growth, will distribute 2.47 pct dividend Delta Holdings, one of Greece’s largest food products companies, expects sales and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to rise 10 percent in 2003, according to a statement from the Association of Institutional Investors. The association said in a press release that management told investors they would propose a dividend payment of 0.12 euros per share for fiscal 2002, a dividend yield of 2.47 percent based on yesterday’s closing price of 4.86 euros. Delta said in February that 2002 pretax profit after minorities fell 32 percent to 26 million euros after an 8.2 million euro goodwill depreciation charge. Group sales in 2002 rose 5 percent to 655 million euros while EBITDA increased 35.4 percent to 102 million euros. Delta Holdings, a mid-cap on the Athens bourse, is active in eight countries in southeast Europe in the dairy, frozen food and fruit juice sectors. Its Greek Delta Dairy is a sponsor of the 2004 Athens Olympics. It has a 60 percent stake in restaurant chain Goody’s. (Reuters) Duty Free Shops IT and telephony equipment retailer Germanos and faux-bijoux retailer Folli Follie yesterday finally signed a deal to buy a 20 percent interest each in Duty Free Shops (KAE) from the state-controlled Agricultural Bank group (ATE) for 177 million euros, or 8.4 euros per share. KAE’s shares yesterday gained 0.73 percent to close at 8.26 euros. The company had net sales of 168 million euros in 2001. Organic farming Representatives of the Hellenic Center for Investment (ELKE) and municipalities in the district of Thessaloniki held an initial meeting yesterday to discuss ways of promoting investment in organic farms and alternative forms of tourism. Asphalt Hellenic Petroleum yesterday announced the completion of the upgrading project of its asphalt production unit in its installations in Thessaloniki. The project, studied and planned in partnership with Exxon, cost 8.5 million euros. OPAP An Economy Ministry official yesterday confirmed plans to sell up to 25 percent of soccer pools and lottery organization OPAP. He said the timing will depend on market conditions and how the war in Iraq develops. (Reuters)