ECONOMY

In Brief

IMF predicts fast growth for Greece Greece’s economy will expand by 4 percent this year and 3.9 percent next year, thanks to the impact of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In its latest world Economic Outlook publication, the IMF remarked on the weakness of the eurozone’s economy. «Growth should remain somewhat more resilient, however, in Spain and especially Greece, aided by relatively buoyant domestic demand (including the impact of Olympic Games-related investment in Greece),» the IMF said in the report, released yesterday. Also yesterday, the Greek government revised the economic growth figure for 2003 to 4 percent, adding that growth would accelerate to 4.2 percent or more in 2004. The government had previously targeted growth of 3.8 percent this year and 4.1 percent the next. Marfin interested in a controlling stake in General Marfin Bank is interested in acquiring a controlling stake in Greece’s General Bank, Marfin’s president told Reuters yesterday. «We expressed to Rothschild, General Bank’s advisers, our interest in buying a share package that gives us management of General,» said Andreas Vyenopoulos, president of Marfin Bank. General Bank and its main shareholder, the Army Pension Fund, have said they are searching for a strategic investor. The pension fund currently holds a 38.5 percent stake in General. An attempt it made in July 2002 to sell a 15 percent stake failed due to adverse market conditions. «We are waiting for an answer… Apart from our focus on private and investment banking, we also want to have a commercial and retail bank in our group,» Vyenopoulos added. Marfin Bank currently has six branches in Greece. General Bank has a current market value of 157 million euros. Ship order Kyklades Maritime Corporation has signed a deal with the Japanese shipyard Universal Shipbuilding Corporation for the construction of three Suezmax tankers, each of which will be capable of carrying 160,000 tons of crude oil. The three tankers will be delivered by 2007. Lowest bidder Construction group Michaniki announced it was the lowest bidder in a 100-million-euro highway tender, offering a discount of 16.6 percent. The 21-kilometer (13-mile) highway project is part of the Ionian Route, from Aggelokastro to Kouvaras which detours the city of Agrinio. Michaniki said in a statement it offered to build the route at a cost of 83.39 million euros. Based on the opening of sealed bids by the Public Works Ministry on Wednesday, other tender participants offered the following discounts (in percent): Terna 11.05; Athena 10.99; Vioter 8.06; Themeliodomi 8.01; Compania Italiana delle Strade 7.10; Aktor 7.04; Aegek 7.02; Pantechniki 7.00 and J&P Avax 6.02.