ECONOMY

In Brief

Point system for tax offenses to abolish fines from January The government next week will unveil the details of a new point system in tax inspections that will largely replace fines, Finance Ministry sources said. The fines will be abolished for minor offenses of the tax code and offenders will instead be debited with points that will form a priority scale for inspections. The number of points will depend, among other criteria, on the type of tax transgression, firms’ size, financial and other data, and their sector of activity. Serious offenders will be debited with more points, and these will be taken into account in determining the results of controls conducted and the level of taxes owed. Construction companies, for instance, will be debited with more points as the sector has a high incidence of violations. According to the new system, which is projected to come into force on January 1, 2004, after approval by Parliament, inspectors will no longer have the power to bypass books and calculate taxable income on the basis of predetermined rates of net profit per activity. CMC fines prominent shareholders of listed firms The Capital Market Commission yesterday imposed a total of 230,000 euros in fines on basic shareholders of listed firms for various violations of stock market legislation, mostly for not giving notice of significant changes in their stock holdings within the time limits stipulated. Those fined include Socrates Kokkalis, chairman of telecoms equipment maker Intracom (33,600 euros), Maria Bobola, member of the board of directors of Pegasus Publishing (20,000 euros), Giorgos Kouris, member of the board of directors of Alter TV channel (21,200 euros), and firms Pallas and Dafnos (28,000 and 43,800 euros respectively) for violations regarding their stockholdings in Hellenic Biscuit Company (Elbisco). H1 results Internet and alternative telecom provider Forthnet reported a first-half group loss of 1.99 million euros, against 0.2 million in the same period last year. The firm noted that losses fell 55 percent to 617,000 euros in the second quarter. Operating income before interest, tax and depreciation was up 52 percent year-on-year to 3.8 million euros but depreciation costs more than doubled to 5.7 million euros from 2.8 million. Group sales surged 152 percent to 29.2 million euros. Forthnet estimates it has a 3 market share in fixed-line telephony after a 1,946 percent growth in the first half. Separately, Duty Free Shops (KAE) reported first-half growth of 37.98 percent in net group income to 17.2 million euros year-on-year. Sales rose 16.16 percent to 87 million euros. The parent company’s profit rose 29.84 percent to 15.97 million euros, with sales on a par with the same period last year.