ECONOMY

In Brief

Commission says OTE’s DSL charges are exorbitant OTE Telecom’s charges for DSL services (broadband access) are between 2.5 and 7.5 times more expensive compared to elsewhere in Europe, and this «can explain why the penetration rate of broadband services in the Greek market is minimal,» the European Commission said in a letter to the government. The Commission is threatening to freeze relevant investment subsidies under its Information Society program, as there is no indication of the creation of a competitive environment in this market segment. The monthly cost of the service is 189 euros in Greece, 43 euros in the UK and 25 euros in Belgium. Small traders call for a stop to the rise in hypermarkets The General Confederation of Greek Small Businesses and Traders (GSEVEE) has called on the government to adopt urgent measures to stem the rapid spread of hypermarkets. It proposes reducing the maximum size allowed, banning sales below cost, restricting the duration of offers and of sales to two 20-day periods a year and reducing shopping times to 50-52 hours weekly. Minoan-Forthnet Passenger shipping company Minoan Lines said it had transferred voting rights to a 10.896 percent holding in telecoms operator Forthnet to ABN Amro investment bank as a loan collateral. Minoan, which controls 21.13 percent of Forthnet, said it will be able to regain the rights at any time. Nikos Paterakis, investor relations officer at Minoan, said the move does not affect the company’s plans to sell off the entire Forthnet stake to focus on core activities. (Reuters) Helios Privately held Cypriot airline Helios Airways said yesterday it will start scheduled flights to Athens next May, elbowing into the exclusive domain of flag carriers Cyprus Air and Olympic Airways. Helios said it planned to offer travelers fares up to 30 percent below those of the incumbent operators. The Athens route is among the most profitable for Cyprus Airways, which is majority-controlled by the state. Helios chief executive Demetris Pantazis said Helios would probably operate two to three flights daily to the Greek capital. (Reuters) Street battle «The battle of the street market was won in July but the war against profiteering is continuing,» said Deputy Development Minister Kimon Koulouris, after the ministry’s price observatory announced that the prices of 19 kinds of fruit and vegetables fell between 1.34 and 68.29 percent, while those of 16 others rose between 0.48 and 30.24 percent. Starbucks Starbucks Coffee International has set up joint ventures with the Marinopoulos Bros retail group to operate Starbucks outlets in Switzerland, Austria and Cyprus. The two firms jointly opened their first Starbucks coffee shop in Greece last year. «Our successful entry into Greece has provided us with the momentum to extend our partnership,» said Panos Marinopoulos of the Greek company. AIEST The International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism (AIEST) will hold a conference on «Sports and Tourism» in Athens, September 7-11.