ECONOMY

In Brief

AEPI ordered to mend its ways on intellectual property management The Competition Commission has fined Intellectual Property Societé Anonyme (AEPI) 500,000 euros for abuse of its dominant position and ordered it to amend its existing and future contracts for the management of owners’ rights within three months. «It must be made clear that intellectual creators have in principle the option of assigning not only the total but also part of their property» and that AEPI can refuse to partial manage only by providing full and specific justification, said the Commission. AEPI had refused to manage only part of owners’ rights, arguing protection of their interests. The Commission also directed AEPI to lower within three months the commission charges on artists’ revenues from recording rights to a 15 percent maximum, compared to the current rates of 25 and 37.5 percent, noting that respective foreign agencies’ charges vary between 4.75 and 25 percent. AEPI is also advised to publish on its website (http://www.aepi.gr) full data regarding fees, its distribution regulations and the amounts retained from artists’ public performances. AEPI, which has a 95 percent market share and manages the copyrights of 1,585 Greek composers, 2,222 writers, 2,614 composer-writers and 71 publishers, is threatened with a fine of 5,000 euros daily if it fails to comply. The complaint against it was filed by a number of composers in 1996. SEV event on Greek business opportunities in Middle East Federation of Greek Industries (SEV) Chairman Odysseas Kyriakopoulos yesterday called for a serious upgrade of Greek commercial attaches’ bureaus abroad to help Greek firms tap substantial opportunities for business in the Middle East and the southern Mediterranean region. «The region can provide an outlet for outward-looking Greek enterprises, as long as they follow a methodical and systematic approach,» he told a special event at SEV headquarters, noting Greece’s advantages of EU membership and geographical and cultural proximity. He said total Greek invested capital in the region amounted to just $18 million but that there was room for substantial improvement despite unfavorable conditions of closed and protected markets, state interventionism and economic distortions. Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos, who toured the region earlier this year, said Prime Minister Simitis’s planned visits in the autumn will contribute to the growth of bilateral exchanges, given a background of excellent political relations and a strong willingness in the region for business with Greece. Bulgaria Balafas Holdings, Piraeus Bank, EuroConsultants and Alexandris Engineering have set up a consortium that will provide comprehensive services to Greek firms that wish to invest in Bulgaria under the EU-sponsored program SAPARD. The consortium will provide technical and construction support, and financing for up to 70 percent of the budget for enterprises planning to invest in farming, dairies, pisciculture, agritourism and the timber industry, including follow-up manufacturing activities. Merger Shareholders of Hellenic Portfolio Investment and Piraeus Investment yesterday approved their merger on the basis of financial statements of December 31, 2002. The new entity, which is hoped to benefit from operating economies of scale, will be the biggest of the 23 of its kind listed on the Athens bourse, with equity capital of 330 million euros. Q-Telecom Telephony operator Q-Telecom said it signed up 70,955 new customers in the second quarter of 2003, bringing the total to 266,833, of which 215,137 had mobile connections (186,968 prepaying and 28,169 have contracts). AEK Subscriber TV firm NetMed Hellas announced a three-year deal with soccer club AEK Athens for the exclusive transmission of its games for the Greek championship. No sum was mentioned. IPO Dairy firm Kri-Kri today is launching its public subscription for listing on the Athens bourse, lasting until Friday.