Portfolio investment leader returns to the parent fold Alpha Bank is to absorb Greece’s biggest portfolio investment company Alpha Investment, of which it is the chief shareholder with a 38 percent interest. «Alpha Investment has been a very successful investment concern, but the reason for its independence has eclipsed after the full abolition of restrictions and the deregulation of the market… We believe there are substantial opportunities for the further growth of the value of the investment of our shareholders through the merger,» Alpha Investment’s Managing Director Giorgos Provopoulos told a press conference. Alpha Bank president Yiannis Costopoulos said the merger will create important synergies and tax benefits for the group. The proposed swap ratio is one share of Alpha Bank for 5.3 shares of Alpha Investment, which represents a 6.3 percent premium on the closing price of June 4, or about three-quarters of the discount at which Alpha Investment is trading. The investment company has a market capitalization of about 245 million euros. Greece leaves mark on new strategy for EU shipping European Commission Vice President Loyola de Palacio said after the end of the transport ministers’ council in Luxembourg yesterday that the Greek presidency has done «a very good to excellent» job in the domain of sea transport during its current term. The presiding minister, Giorgos Anomeritis, said the decision to bring forward the withdrawal of single-hull tankers from EU waters to 2010 was a basic element of the new definition of the strategy for a quality merchant marine industry. «Merchant shipping cannot exist as economic activity without respect for the global environment,» he said. UNICE The Union of Industrial and Employers’ Confederations of Europe (UNICE) today holds its six-monthly congress at the resort of Lagonissi south of Athens to discuss the positions that will be put to EU leaders in their forthcoming summit in Halkidiki. Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis yesterday discussed the latest developments in the European and Greek economies and the prospects for Britain’s accession to the eurozone with the chairman of the Confederation of British Industries, John Egan. He said the government soon expects to see the positive results of continuous efforts to attract foreign investment. Kokkalis The president of telecoms and software group Intracom, Socrates Kokkalis, is holding business contacts in a variety of areas in Cyprus, according to local press reports. Kokkalis is said to be targeting outstanding payments to his group, while other reports say he is keen to pursue interests in the sectors of digital television, football pools and mobile telephony. Environment Aluminium of Greece, the country’s largest energy consumer, plans to implement an environmental management system according to the international standard ISO 14001, the firm said in a statement.