ECONOMY

In Brief

Gov’t preparing for announcement of TT partial privatization next week Postal Savings Bank (TT) is worth at least 1.5 billion euros and the sale of a stake to a strategic investor could also include management rights, a senior Finance Ministry official said yesterday. The government is expected to announce the sale of 35 percent or more of the bank next week. Consultancy firm Kantor Capital has said it values TT at between 1.4 and 1.7 billion euros, without ruling out a higher valuation depending on the size of the offered tranche and possible management rights. Asked whether a majority stake would be offered, the official said the ministry had not yet decided. «We could also transfer the management, we haven’t decided yet,» he added. «I think that in a week, we will have made final decisions about TT, and water utility EYDAP, so the official announcements are likely to come then.» (Reuters) Still no light at end of tunnel for pharmaceutical industry’s problems Subsidiaries of multinational pharmaceutical firms have agreed to keep prices stable until January. Deputy Development Minister Kimon Koulouris said he would like to see an end to the decline in Greek pharmaceutical production, and that the suit firms have filed claiming that restrictions to their pricing policy are unconstitutional provides a suitable basis for discussion toward a fairer system. The present system is based on the lowest prices in the rest of the EU and firms are asking that it not be extended to include the 10 new members next year. According to a study by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) imported medicines now meet 57 percent of requirements from 18.3 percent in the early 1990s. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality suit early next year. Koulouris is seeing representatives of Greek pharmaceutical firms today. Greenpeace protests Environmental organization Greenpeace has protested in an open letter to the Attica Natural Gas Supply Company that a number of claims in a recent advertising leaflet are untrue and misleading. In particular, Greenpeace disputes the claim that gas is an environmentally friendly type of energy, saying it may cleaner than oil and lignite but still makes a large contribution to the greenhouse effect. Further, it argues that sunlight-based and biomass systems as well as heat pumps are cleaner alternatives for heating requirements than natural gas, which is not «a modern form of energy» as claimed. Finally, Greenpeace contradicts the assertion that natural gas supplies are infinite and urges the company to withdraw or amend the leaflet in question, otherwise it may resort to legal action. Turkey visit Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis will visit Turkey for talks on economic cooperation in early December. The visit will be preceded by bilateral meetings by bankers and industrialists. Shipping Five commercial vessels, totaling a capacity of 291,260 register tons, have been entered in the Greek shipping register. The number of Greek-flagged ships of more than 100 register tons now stands at 1,970.