ECONOMY

In Brief

Gov’t dismisses idea of more legislation on overdue loans The government does not intend to introduce any new legislation regarding the issue of accumulated interest on overdue loan repayments and considers that repeated references to it are counterproductive, Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis told Parliament. «There have been absolutely no borrowers claiming they have not benefited from existing provisions,» he said. The government has legislated three times on the issue before and Christodoulakis said that, as a result, average arrears have fallen to 41 percent of the original amounts outstanding in mortgages, to 38 percent in corporate loans and to 25 percent in hotel loans. He said that everything possible would be done to find the golden mean in a number of other difficult cases remaining. He noted that of the 3.2 billion euros in outstanding debts, one-third was owed by 10 major borrowers. Ruling party deputies said, «We have no intention of being lenient on anyone,» and urged Christodoulakis to force banks to apply the law. Opposition deputies claimed very few overdue borrowers had availed themselves of previous legislation, while banks took advantage of unclear provisions. «Eighty percent of farmland is either mortgaged or in the process of being confiscated. Farmers justifiably call the Agricultural Bank a robber,» said MP Ilias Kallioras. Telestet customer base grows with emphasis on corporate sector Cellular phone operator Telestet, Greece’s third largest, said its customer numbers were 17.4 percent higher at the end of the first quarter year-on-year, at 2.58 million. Of the 67,687 new customers in that period, 62,751 had opted for prepaid schemes, bringing the total to 1.80 million, or about 70 percent of the total customer base. Corporate customers now form 34.4 percent of its customer base, compared to 19.6 percent a year ago. «The results show our commitment to creating a profitable customer base in the long run,» said Managing Director Nikos Varsakis. Separately, Q Telecom, the fourth largest mobile operator, said its customer base at the end of the first quarter stood at 144,182, of whom 118,469 were prepaying. The firm also reported 44.520 landline phone customers. Waste Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Drakoulis Fountoukakos said the enlarged role of enterprises in alternative waste management, as envisaged in new legislation, will bring about a significant rise in business operating costs. Environment and Town Planning Minister Vasso Papandreou said waste is now treated as a source of recoverable materials and the new schemes will create new jobs. Hellenic Solid Waste Management Society officials said a lot still has to be done regarding research and setting guidelines. Aegean Aegean Airlines and Venice-based Alpi Eagles have signed a commercial cooperation and code-share agreement, designed to facilitate the transit of passengers to onward internal routes in each company’s respective country. Call rates The new Interconnection Offer Model from OTE Telecom with other landline operators, presented yesterday, provides the potential for further discounts ranging between 15 and 73 percent, depending on the type of call.