ECONOMY

In Brief

Stable tax regime and other incentives for big direct investors from September Enterprises, Greek or foreign, implementing investments of more than 30 million euros, will enjoy a stable tax regime for 10 years, applicable on the basis of their fixed capital, according to specifications thrashed out at a meeting between Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and employers’ and labor union organizations yesterday. The measure, one of the terms to be included in the investment incentives law to come into force in September, will provide for a corporate tax of between 25 and 35 percent (yet to be decided), calculated on rates of between 5 and 11 percent of enterprises’ fixed assets. This will exhaust firms’ tax obligations and they will be given «absolution» from tax inspections. The law will reinstate special tax-free reserves for investment purposes – a standing demand of the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV) – which firms will be able to form without limitations as regards turnover and irrespective of location. The reserves thus formed may equal 30 percent of profits over three years. The law abolishes discrimination between old and new firms and includes disincentives for firms to emigrate to cheaper-labor countries. Hotel modernization subsidies will go up from 4.5 million euros to 10 million maximum. Drive against profiteering to focus on tourist areas The government said it will not tolerate the phenomenon of profiteering and threatened to revoke the licenses of businesses that engage in it. «We shall be relentless,» Deputy Development Minister Kimon Koulouris told a meeting of prefectural officials. He urged them to intensify checks particularly in tourist areas, where coffee, for instance, is frequently sold for the exorbitant price of 4-5 euros a cup. He said inspectors would act neither as policemen nor penal organs and the aim was to promote the rules of the market and protect consumers. Bonds Following international trends, Greek government bond prices on the electronic trading system (HDAT) reached historic highs between June 13 and 17 but moved lower thereafter, the Bank of Greece said. At the end of June bond prices were down between 19 and 220 cents with respect to the end of May. The 10-year benchmark bond (20.5.2013) was trading at 104.96 (3.98 percent) on June 30 compared to 106.28 (3.82 percent) on May 30, after reaching a peak of 107.96 (with a yield of 3.62 percent) on June 13. The 10-year average yield spread over Bunds narrowed further to 15 basis points in June compared to 18 bps in May. Turnover reached 61.94 billion euros, the highest level for the year, compared to 56.21 billion in May and 41.36 billion euros in June 2002. Interest focused on bonds with remaining maturity up to 10 years that attracted 72 percent of the total turnover. Power plants The government will issue the tender for three new power plants totaling a capacity of 1300 megawatts in September, Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos said. Separately, the Exporters’ Association of Northern Greece (SEVE) has asked him to abolish the special levy on energy from renewable energy sources. Telestet Hellenic Post will act as commercial agent for the full range of services of mobile operator Telestet throughout its national network, according to an agreement announced yesterday.