In Brief

Panafon net profits down in six months to Sept. 30 Mobile operator Panafon yesterday reported a 3.8-percent drop in net profit for its fiscal half-year ending September 30, due to one-off tax provisions, at the low end of market expectations. Panafon said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the period grew 13.7 percent to 213.3 million euros. The figures are not directly comparable with the same period of 2000, due to the first-time consolidation of service provider Unifon which added 5.1 percent to revenue and 1.2 percent to EBITDA. EBITDA margin recorded a 43.2-percent improvement. Revenues for the period rose 13.5 percent to 494.4 million euros. Panafon, 53-percent owned by Vodafone, announced it had 2.69 million subscribers at the end of September 2001, a 30.9-percent increase year-on-year, placing it second in market share for the first time behind CosmOTE with 2.74 million customers. The company said the number of its active customers represented 78.5 percent of the total. (Combined reports) Attica Enterprises launches cruise joint ventures Listed Attica Enterprises yesterday announced it has agreed to set up two joint ventures with Italian cruise company Costa Crociere. The first joint venture, Costa Attica Cruises, will launch itineraries mainly in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Costa Superfast, the second partnership, will offer high-quality ferry services in the western Mediterranean. Costa Crociere is a member of the Carnival Corporation group. Attica Enterprises is the parent of SuperFast ferries plying the Greece-Italy route, and of Strintzis Lines, which announced the launching of its new ferry Blue Star Paros by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering in Korea. The ferry, one of two on order, will be deployed in the domestic sea routes servicing the Cycladic islands. The vessel has a cruising speed of 26 knots and can carry 1,500 passengers and 210 cars. Blue Star Paros will service the route linking the port of Piraeus with the islands of Paros, Naxos and Santorini in May. The second ferry on order, Blue Star Naxos, will be ready before summer, Strintzis Lines said. (Combined reports) OTE lowers rates. OTE Telecom yesterday announced cuts of 11 percent to 8.9 drachmas per minute for local calls and 23 percent to 21.45 drachmas per minute for long-distance calls inside the country. The fixed monthly sum goes up from 2,800 to 3,500 drachmas monthly. Rates for leased circuits are reduced on average by 26 percent, for digital circuits of 64 kbps by 38 percent and for circuits of 2 Mbps by 33 percent. Rates for international calls and access to Internet providers remain unchanged. The company said in a statement the changes were in line with EU and national legislation and that rates remained lower than the European average. They will become effective in 45 days, subject to approval by the National Telecommunications and Posts Commission. -Atlantic on Panamaxes seems quiet but it is too early to draw conclusions. East seems to have bottomed out.

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