In brief

Spending, budget deficit getting out of hand The budget deficit is threatening to get completely out of hand, making a mockery of government predictions, according to revenue and expenditure data for the first two months of the year. The budget deficit has risen 41 percent compared to the same period last year and is nearing 4.6 billion euros. Revenues increased 1 percent, while the target for the entire year is a 5.1 percent increase. Expenditures, forecast to rise 6 percent this year, have been increasing at a pace of 14 percent these first four months. Spending on social security fund subsidies rose 32.5 percent, while spending on pensions has risen 17.2 percent. Prominent construction group announces improved Q1 results The Hellenic Technodomiki-TEV-Aktor group, a prominent Greek construction corporation, thanks to its having the lion’s share of big infrastructure projects, continued to improve its financial position in the first quarter. Hellenic Technodomiki announced that consolidated first-quarter turnover rose 34.64 percent to 198.13 million euros, compared to the same period in 2002. Consolidated pretax profit rose 26.23 percent, to 31.78 million. Aktor announced a consolidated turnover of 198.10 million euros and profit, after minorities, was 29.8 million euros. Property development subsidiary REDS (formerly Kambas) posted a turnover of 4.1 million euros and a profit of 123,000 euros, compared to a 30,000-euro loss in the first quarter of 2002. The group has signed contracts for projects, yet to begin, worth 1.3 billion euros. Motor Oil Greece’s second largest refiner, Motor Oil, reported yesterday first-quarter group pretax profit jumped 84 percent to 48.3 million euros. Motor Oil, with a market value of 749 million euros, said turnover rose to 497.4 million euros from 339.5 million a year earlier. Sales volume rose 13 percent to 1.824 million tons, the company said. «This increase is mainly noted in export sales, while domestic and bunkering sales remained at previous year’s levels,» Motor Oil said, adding that inventories remained at low levels. (Reuters) Hyatt Regency Casino and hotel operator Hyatt Regency said on Tuesday its first-quarter group pretax profit after minorities rose 7.1 percent to 14.1 million euros with sales up 8.5 percent to 45.8 million euros. Hyatt Regency operates an upmarket hotel and casino in Thessaloniki and recently took over management and a 49 percent stake in the Mont Parnes casino on the outskirts of Athens, along with Hellenic Technodomiki. (Reuters) Marfin merger Marfin Bank on Monday announced a merger of the listed Marfin Classic with two other companies of the Marfin group and said it will seek a blue chip index listing for the new company. The bank said in a statement that Marfin Classic will be merged with Maritime & Financial and Commercial Group and the new company renamed Marfin Group Maritime and Financial Investments. «The new company will have share capital of 300 million euros, with cash of over 100 million euros,» it said. The bank said the Marfin Classic shares will be valued at a premium to their net asset value (NAV). It gave no further details. The shares’ net asset value at the end of April was 1.30 euros. (Reuters)

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