ECONOMY

In Brief

Gov’t near scheme for reopening troubled gold mine in Halkidiki The government is reported near to be realizing a scheme to secure the viability of the gold-mining concern in Halkidiki’s Cassandra Peninsula in Macedonia, whose operation has been stalled by local reactions. Kinross, the parent company of TVX Hellas which owns the mine, is said to have accepted a proposal by Deputy Economy Minister and local MP Christos Pachtas, to postpone its initial decision to withdraw from the concern by April 18 with a view to participating in an investment scheme that is about to be finalized. Sources said the scheme provides for Kinross to retain at least 20 percent interest, a concession of a 15-20 percent stake to local municipalities and the sale of the remainder to major Greek industrial groups, including Kyriakopoulos (Silver & Baryte), Mytilineos and Vardinoyiannis. The plan is also said to include a reduction in the work force from 480 to 360. Finance Ministry said to be concerned over slumping public revenues Public revenues due from the processing so far of 638,000 tax declarations for fiscal 2002, chiefly by small enterprises and the self-employed, are down 26 percent, compared to taxes owed this time last year for 2001. The development, resulting from the economic slowdown, is reportedly causing some concern at the Finance Ministry, where officials note that the financial statements of listed enterprises, whose declarations have yet to be processed, have reported 2002 profits on average as 20 percent lower. Of the taxpayers cleared so far, 180,145 are due for a rebate, while 267,267 break even. Those with a tax debit will have to pay the first installment by the end of May, while those paying in a lump sum receive a 2.5 percent discount. Beopetrol The Serbian government is expected to soon issue a tender for the privatization of petroleum company Beopetrol, sources say. The news comes after a meeting on Friday between the managing director of Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE), Athanassios Karachalios, and President of Serbia and Montenegro Svetozar Marovic, at the latter’s initiative. ELPE, Greece’s biggest company in terms of turnover, has subsidiaries in Albania, Georgia, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and last year acquired 54 percent of Montenegro’s Yugopetrol. It was reported to have expressed an interest in Beopetrol. Porto Carras The Development Ministry said yesterday its Casino Overseeing Committee has not recommended reopening the Sithonia Beach Porto Carras facility in Halkidiki, based on several irregularities. It denied reports of «expediencies» and «fabricated issues» as lacking in seriousness, and said the committee, which inspected the casino on April 9, found many mechanical games had undergone arbitrary conversion without approval and lacked certification, that electronic game systems lacked integrated control and that the staff did not possess the appropriate licenses. Separately, Alpha Copy said it had signed a deal to supply the Porto Carras hotel complex, where the casino is situated, with advanced digital television systems which provide facilities such as interactive TV, Internet, music-on-demand and e-shopping to the rooms.