Categories of offshore-owned property to be exempted from special tax Offshore companies wholly owned by a foreign entity and planning to build installations for industrial, tourism or commercial activities within a period of up to seven years since the issuing of the building license will be exempt from the special 3 percent tax, according to a planned legislative amendment. Also exempt will be offshore companies in the shipping sector as regards property acquired up to January 1, 2003, provided the funds imported for the acquisition of the property came from maritime activities. All other property owned by offshore firms will be subject to the tax if not transferred by September 30. Athens bourse seen with good prospects, despite being shunned Analysts largely attribute the downturn in the Athens bourse in the last three weeks to a planned reduction in the positions of foreign institutionals in Greek shares, including the Agricultural Bank, Viohalco, Intracom, Heracles and Motor Oil, 55 of which were recently struck off the FTSE Euromid index. The changes came into effect yesterday. Separately, Athens bourse Chairman Panayiotis Alexakis told the first international conference of stock markets in SE Europe and the eastern Mediterranean in Thessaloniki during the weekend that the exchange «is at the beginning of a course toward recovery although it still has a long way to go.» He said he expects listed firms to reap benefits from growth abroad. Cyprus Stock Exchange Chairman Nondas Metaxas said two big unnamed European bourses have expressed interest in participating in the FTSE-Med index, the product of collaboration between the stock exchanges of Athens, Cyprus and Tel Aviv, while the first two expect to make progress on the proposed dual listing of firms and other forms of cooperation at a meeting on October 1. Coke upbeat The Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (CCHBC), the world’s second largest bottler of the beverage, said at a presentation in Moscow yesterday it expects sales to rise 7-9 percent this year, operating profits to grow 11-13 percent, net profits to reach 90-100 million euros and the rate of return on invested capital to reach 6.6 percent. CCHBC, which is active in 26 countries with a total population of more than 500 million, projects sales in Russia and Poland to rise 10 percent and in Italy 6 percent. Private cars Applications to have private cars impounded rose to 1,470 in the first eight months of the year from 790 in the same period last year, according to the National Federation for Protection of Consumers and Borrowers. The total number of outstanding applications is estimated to have risen to 10,000. Most cars affected are small and purchased through dealers’ financing schemes. The federation charges that dealers use misleading advertising and contracts contain terms in small print that are abusive. OTEnet OTEnet Cyprus, majority-owned by Greece’s OTE Telecoms, has agreed to acquire a controlling stake in the island’s telecoms and Internet firm Planitis Communications, for 800,000 euros, local daily Politis reported yesterday.