National Statistics Service strike enters seventh week Staff at the Greek National Statistics Service (NSS) will extend their strike over pay for at least another five days, holding back economic data releases for a seventh consecutive week, an NSS official said yesterday. «The strike is in the form of five-day rolling work stoppages, under the umbrella union of Finance Ministry trade unions. I do not know when the strike will end,» NSS head Nikos Karavitis told Reuters. Since the strike began on October 6, Greece has missed two consecutive monthly releases of key economic indicators, among them inflation, retail sales, producer prices and industrial output. NSS employees are demanding their wages be brought into line with colleagues in the Finance Ministry and oppose plans to change the legal status of their agency. (Reuters) Government considers lower taxes for young additions to merchant fleet The Merchant Marine and Economy ministries are studying a further reduction in taxation on new ships being listed on the Greek Shipping Register, sources said. The measure is among a number being completed and aimed at boosting the Greek shipping industry, including listing of firms on the parallel market of the Athens bourse and a program for attracting young people to the profession. Greece’s earnings from shipping for 2003 are estimated at 9 billion euros. ATE The Agricultural Bank (ATE) reported a 333 percent year-on-year rise in nine-month group pretax profit, bouncing from a dip in 2002 with the help of a restructuring plan and higher interest income. ATE, Greece’s fifth largest bank by assets, reported a huge profit drop last year due to reduced interest income and an increase in loan-loss provisions. Agricultural said pretax profit after minorities rose to 85.44 million euros from 19.7 million in the same period last year, with net interest income up 61.2 percent. (Reuters) Germanos Phone and IT retailer Germanos reported a 58 percent year-on-year rise in nine-month group pretax profit after minorities to 41.4 million euros. Group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) grew 22 percent year-on-year to 51.22 million euros on a 16.4 percent rise in sales to 495.3 million euros. Results were not directly comparable to last year as they include a 24.6 percent participation in Hellenic Duty Free Shops which Germanos started consolidating in the second quarter. CCHBC Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (CCHBC) will carry out a capital reimbursement to shareholders of 2 euros per share through EFG Eurobank Ergasias between December 5, 2003 and June 30, 2004. Entitled to the return will be shareholders on November 28. As of December 1, CCHBC shares will carry a nominal value of 0.50 euros. SEV The Federation of Greek Industries (SEV) tomorrow holds a conference on «Diversity Management: Equality and Diversity in Employment»; at SEV head office, 5 Xenofondos. For further information, tel 210.323.7325.