ECONOMY

In Brief

Verelis dismisses reports of grave delays in key transport projects Transport Minister Christos Verelis yesterday dismissed press reports on Monday that two major transportation projects – the suburban railway line linking Athens airport and the main Olympic center at Maroussi, and the tram lines connecting central Athens with beachside Olympic facilities – were at serious risk of not been ready for the Games next summer. «All data proves that the suburban railway, including the stations, will be ready to receive in full safety the trains in time,» he said. Verelis said 80 percent of infrastructure work has been completed and the double rail line is ready on 12 of the 32 kms of the route. As regards the tram, which is projected to carry 80,000 passengers a day, he said 17 of the 25 kms of double line are projected for completion by the end of the month and all 25 kms will be ready by the end of the year. CCHBC has taste for potato chip complement Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (CCHBC), one of the world’s largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products, said it was in talks to buy Tsakiris, Greece’s second largest potato chip maker, with Tsakiris parent Plias saying the price would be about 6.2 million euros. CCHBC said Tsakiris had annual sales of around 6 million euros and 10 percent share of the Greek market. «This transaction brings CCHBC a well-known Greek brand with significant potential,» it said in a statement. «While we remain focused on our core strategy, Tsakiris complements well our diverse non-alcoholic beverage portfolio in Greece.» Plias said it has signed a memorandum of intent with CCHBC for the sale of 100 percent of Tsakiris. The sale is expected to be completed by the end of the year. (Reuters) Minoan Ferry operator Minoan Lines is looking into selling its Hellas Flying Dolphins (HFD) subsidiary to raise cash and retire debt but is also weighing other options, a senior official said yesterday. «We’re presently evaluating four scenarios, either selling our 31.6 percent stake in HFD, absorbing the company, merging it with another operator or continuing its independent operation,» Minoan’s Chief Financial Officer George Vassiloconstantakis said. He confirmed Minoan, with a current market capitalization of 104 million euros, had received expressions of interest for HDF but dismissed press reports it was close to clinching a deal. «It’s too early to say, there is nothing firm,» he said. Press reports said yesterday Minoan had been approached by foreign shipping firms, including US-based Sea Containers Ltd, and was one step from selling HFD. (Reuters) Fedex Courier firm Federal Express has signed a new distribution agreement with Orbit Couriers. Delivery is guaranteed by 10.30 a.m. on the following day in Attica, on the following day in the US and Europe and after two days in Asia. Market research Market research company MRB Hellas, a member of PRC-The Management House group, and Millward Brown international research group, have signed a partnership agreement. Millward Brown, with 62 bureaus in 37 countries, specializes in issues of brand in relation to corporate equity, performance and health.