ECONOMY

In Brief

Insurers want transitional period for surety capital directive Greek insurance companies will be required to roughly double their minimum surety capital to 3 million euros, according to an EU directive which comes into force on January 1; the current levels are 1.6 million and 1.2 million euros for the life and general insurance segments respectively. The directive must be incorporated into national legislation by the end of the month. The measure is estimated to affect about one-third of existing Greek insurers. The Association of Insurance Companies of Greece has asked for the five-year transition period provided in the directive to be exhausted and for the minimum capital to be raised to 6 million euros for newly founded companies. Industry representatives said the lack of liquidity makes immediate compliance to the directive prohibitive. Romtelecom given go-ahead to raise tariffs BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romania’s telecoms regulator ANRC said yesterday the country’s main fixed-line operator, Romtelecom, majority-owned by Greece’s OTE, can raise tariffs for line rental while cutting international call prices. Officials from the cash-strapped carrier have said Romtelecom plans to raise the line rental fees it charges customers – among Europe’s cheapest – by 20 percent while cutting rates for international calls by up to 40 percent to fight fierce competition. «Tariffs for line rental will rise by 15.35 percent on average… tariffs for international calls will fall by up to 45 percent,» ANRC said on its website. It said Romtelecom’s tariffs for local and long-distance calls will remain unchanged. Alfa-Alfa Energy Alfa-Alfa Energy plans to issue a bond loan and increase share capital to meet debt obligations totaling 120 million euros, of which 71 million is short-term. Most debt is accounted for by loans used for the acquisition of Holland’s ESHA Holdings. The company is holding a special general assembly on the plan on September 25. Marbles Listed firm Kyriakidis Marbles is planning a 12-million-euro bond loan, mostly to finance an investment program in its Mermeren Combinat quarry in Prilep, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), which also hopes to raise 3.5-4 million euros from a partial flotation on the Greek Emerging Capital Markets Exchange (EAGAK). Sources said that Kyriakidis, which is to open a big showroom in Thessaloniki by year-end, is also seeking to acquire from partner SETE, of the Latsis group, a majority stake and the management in their Chinese joint venture Cosmos Building Materials Shanghai, which processes marble imported mainly from Drama, northern Greece, and sells it locally. A special shareholders’ assembly is scheduled for September 27. Intracom IT and telecoms equipment maker Intracom has signed an 8.1-million-euro contract with the Greek Defense Ministry concerning a research program for a pilot communications network. Tourism Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos will open the International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism’s (AIEST) 53rd world congress at the Divani Apollo Hotel in Kavouri, south of Athens, being held September 8-11 on the subject of «Tourism and Sports.»