ECONOMY

In Brief

CMC releases data on appropriation of funds raised on the stock market Listed companies used just 33.3 percent of 26.8 billion euros raised on the stock market in the 1999-2002 period for new investment, 36 percent for acquisitions, 16 percent for working capital and 13 percent to meet debt obligations, according to a report presented by Capital Market Commission Stavros Thomadakis yesterday. Of the funds raised, 40.7 percent originated in share capital increases of firms in the financial sector, 19.1 percent was raised by industrial firms and 13.3 percent by enterprises in the services, leasing, IT, property and commerce sectors. The report notes that acquisitions were based mainly on excessively high valuations, and the end result was of doubtful value. Athens bourse Chairman Panayiotis Alexakis claimed that the accounting losses of investors as a result of the market downturn since 1999 do not amount to more than 15 billion euros. Europarliament report calls for extra maritime safety measures The European Parliament yesterday approved a report by Belgian Euro-MP Dirk Sterx, calling for additional maritime safety measures following the sinking of the tanker Prestige off the northern coast of Spain, which caused extensive environmental damage. The measures stipulate the drawing up of emergency plans and the designation of refuges in member states to receive ships in distress, the setting up of a European coast guard, and tax incentives to attract vessels away from flags of convenience. It also calls for seamen – with clear reference to Prestige’s Greek captain, who was treated as a criminal «although he was not responsible for the damage his ship caused» – not to be made scapegoats in cases of accident. Share ratings Investment bank Salomon Smith Barney (SSB) launched its monitoring of the share of the Public Power Corporation (PPC) with a «buy/medium risk» recommendation and a target price of 20 euros. In a 48-page report entitled «Too good to be true?,» SSB says a rise in rates, limited competition and the potential for cost reductions make PPC an attractive investment proposition, with a potential for the price to rise to 24 euros, but also to fall to 12 euros if the basic positive elements in the evaluation are not realized. Separately, UBS investment bank raised its rating of EFG Eurobank Ergasias from Neutral 1 to Buy 1, while retaining its price target unchanged at 15.70 euros. UBS noted the bank’s exceptionally strong positioning in retail and leading positions in asset gathering and investment banking and forecast earnings growth of 22 percent for 2003-05, «primarily through a combination of strong revenue growth and moderate cost expansion.» Offshore The Finance Ministry intends to extend the deadline for offshore companies to transfer property or face an annual 3 percent tax from the end of the month to November 30, sources said. Transfers will be subject to a 50 percent tax reduction. It will give an exemption from the 3 percent tax to offshore companies wholly owned by foreign entities that keep their property and plan to build installations for industrial, tourism or commercial activity, as well as shipping firms.