ECONOMY

In Brief

ASE launches trading in bonds, no first-day orders The Athens Stock Exchange yesterday launched trading in Greek government bonds, offering retail investors an opportunity to tap a market so far limited to large institutional players. The ASE announced late on Wednesday it was adding government bonds to the range of instruments traded on its OASIS trading system as of yesterday. But by the close of trading at 4 p.m. local time, no trades had been made and the exchange said it showed dealers needed more time to get used to the system. Until now, government bonds had been trading solely on the Greek central bank’s HDAT electronic system designed for banks, with a daily average turnover of 2.3 billion euros in 2002. (Reuters) OTE appoints new planning chief and investor relations officer OTE announced yesterday it has appointed George Rallis, formerly investor relations officer, as general director of group strategy and planning. It named Dimitris Tzelepis to succeed him as group investor relations officer. Tzelepis comes from his most recent position as investor relations officer at Alpha Bank, Greece’s second largest by assets. He has worked at a number of companies, including Vodafone Panafon. Rallis has been OTE’s investor relations head since March 2001 and joined OTE from Stet Hellas, where he was executive director of business planning and control. He has previously worked at British Telecom. (Reuters) Intracom, Intralot Telecoms equipment maker Intracom announced yesterday its group pretax profit after minorities fell 15 percent to 23.1 million euros in the first quarter as sales fell 7 percent to 147.8 million euros. Intracom said it signed contracts worth 148 million euros in the first quarter to bring its order book to a total of 1.435 billion euros. Also yesterday, gaming systems operator and developer Intralot announced yesterday its first-quarter group pretax profit rose 39.3 percent to 27.3 million euros on sales growth of 21.6 percent to 92.8 million euros. Intralot, an Intracom group company, said group accounts for the first time included foreign operations in neighboring countries. (Reuters) Michaniki Construction firm Michaniki said its first-quarter group pretax profit after minorities rose 13.8 percent to 9.1 million euros on group sales growth of 43 percent to 39.61 million euros. On a parent level, the company, which is part of groups building 12 projects related to the 2004 Olympic Games, said its pretax profits fell 5.7 percent to 6.6 million euros, while turnover was up 90 percent to 27.7 million euros. The company said that last year’s pretax profits included a one-off amount of 4.25 million euros. Michaniki said its order book stood at a total of about 315 million euros. (Reuters) Heracles Cement producer Heracles, majority-owned by France’s Lafarge, announced yesterday that its first-quarter group pretax profit after minorities fell 59.5 percent to 5.9 million euros. Group sales fell 9.5 percent year-on-year to 113.4 million euros; the company blamed exceptionally bad weather in Greece earlier in the year for the drop. (Reuters)