ECONOMY

In Brief

CSFB hopes for OA report before November 15 Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB), the government’s advisors in the sale of a majority stake in Olympic Airways to private hands, said in a statement yesterday that it aimed to issue its recommendation to the government before November 15. CSFB said it was now in the process of briefing the new Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, following last week’s reshuffle. Observers say the most likely outcome of the privatization process is a recommendation for a preliminary agreement with Axon Airlines, the leading bidder. The other option is the commencement of talks with the runner-up, Australia-based venture capital firm Integrated Airline Solutions (IAS). The outcome, however, will partly depend on the conclusions of a CSFB study on the cost of a voluntary exit scheme for about 1,800 OA staff. The carrier is projected to show an operating loss of 37 billion drachmas this year, after losing an estimated 55 billion last year. The picture is not expected to change despite planned cutbacks in flights, staff and overtime work. Meanwhile, Aegean Cronus, Greece’s largest privately-run airline, denied press reports it was planning an increase in fares, saying it only abolished a number of special offers. Lukoil-Petrola and OMV favorites for stake in Hellenic Petroleum The Russian-Greek consortium of Lukoil-Petrola and Austria’s OMV are emerging as the favorites in the sale of a 23-percent stake in Hellenic Petroleum after the round of mutual presentations of the seller and the prospecting investors last week, sources said. The strong points of the two are seen as their access to reserves in the Caspian Sea and Middle East areas respectively. Russia’s Yukos oil is the third candidate. The issue of management control has not been touched yet. Avacom eyes Net subsidiary sale. Avacom Computers said yesterday it would seek shareholder approval to a public offer for 70-100 percent of subsidiary AvacomNet. It presently owns 56.54 percent, according to the group’s Web site. AvacomNet is a 43.4-percent shareholder in Hellas Sat, a consortium that hopes to launch the first Greek satellite by August 2002 and the second in March 2004, assisting with the transmission of the Athens Olympics. Avacom said it was also looking at the possibility of a future listing on the Athens Stock Exchange. (Reuters) Call charges. OTE telecom is revising its charges as of next month. The cost of city calls per minute is coming down from 10.5 to 9 drachmas, while the fixed monthly levy is to go up from 2,800 to 3,400 drachmas. Eurotruck goes north. The Eurotruck, the vehicle which is on a roadshow to acquaint the public with the European single currency slated for introduction on January 1, will be in Thessaloniki on Thursday and Friday. The city’s Chamber of Commerce is holding a special event in Aristotelous Square at 7 p.m. tomorrow. Slow activity remains the main feature of the chartering market while the future outlook remains very bleak.