ECONOMY

In Brief

EEB notes ‘mixed results’ of Greek presidency on environmental issues The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) said the performance of the Greek EU presidency in the first half of the year on environmental issues gave a mixed picture of positive and negative outcomes in the 10 Green Tests set at the beginning of each presidency. In particular, the EEB praised the presidency’s work for the Spring Summit as regards sustainable development and environmental policy integration, and for defending the «Environment for Europe» process, especially in the face of US opposition. Another positive result was the mobilization of environment ministers in favor of a strong environmental and sustainable development content in the future EU Constitution. By contrast, the compromise on environmental liability and the midterm review of the Common Agricultural Policy were two counts of disappointing performance by the Greek presidency, the EEB said. Ecofin’s work on the environmental taxation of energy products is seen as another unsatisfactory result. CSE to harmonize trading hours with other European bourses The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) plans to gradually extend its trading hours to 4 p.m. by October or November, with a view to harmonizing them with those of other European bourses, particularly of the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), CSE Chairman Akis Kleanthous said. He added the main motive behind the harmonization was to prevent foreign institutional investors from not investing in the CSE, and that the timing of the change will depend on the launching of the remote trading facility. Trading hours will be extended to 1 p.m. as of Friday, in time for the resumption on Monday of trading of the shares of the Bank of Cyprus. Another two reasons for the extension are the recent joint launching of the FTSE/MED-100 index by the bourses of Cyprus, Athens and Tel Aviv, and the expected scheme for dual listing of companies on both the CSE and ASE. OPAP State-run soccer pool and games of chance operator OPAP reported revenue growth of 25.6 percent to 1,176.3 million euros in the first half year-on-year, under International Accounting Standards. Sales in the second quarter grew 15.2 percent to 540 million euros. The company did not release profit figures. The growth was mainly due to sports-betting game Stichima and two new games, Super 3 and Extra 5, launched in November. Revenue from the Joker and Lotto games were down year-on-year. Overall, revenue from sport betting games rose 10.5 percent to 420.6 million euros in the second quarter, with lottery revenues up 35.3 percent to 119.3 million. OPAP, 75.6 percent owned by the State, is currently valued at 2.83 billion euros. The State plans to divest a total of 78 million shares in OPAP, which correspond to 24.45 percent of its share capital, reducing its holding to 51.15 percent. At current market prices, Greece could raise about 700 million euros from the sale. Greece-Japan Dimitrios Kotsolioutsos, president and managing director of faux bijoux firm Folli-Follie, has been elected chairman of the Hellenic-Japanese Chamber of Commerce for the next three years. Takumi Kudo, of Mitsui & Co Ltd, and Iakovos Georganas of Piraeus Bank, were elected deputy chairmen.