ECONOMY

In Brief

Gov’t to shed more of NBG; bank goes for full control of Romaneasca BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Greece will soon go ahead with the planned sale of a stake in National Bank of Greece (NBG) to pension funds, and has chosen the country’s largest social security fund, IKA, the bank’s chairman Theodore Karatzas told reporters during a press briefing here yesterday. Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said in late November the State wanted to reduce its 7.5 percent holding in the bank to around 5 percent by selling shares to pension funds. The stake is worth around 100 million euros. The State now controls directly 7.5 percent of National Bank. Greek institutional investors hold a fifth of the bank’s shares, foreign investors own 18 percent, and pension funds around 17 percent. Karatzas also said NBG, which already owns 81.65 percent of small Romanian unlisted bank Banca Romaneasca – bought from Romanian-American Enterprise Fund in September – wants to acquire the remaining 18 percent. He did not rule out more acquisitions in Romania. «If there is another acquisition in the future, there will be a merger with Romaneasca. But for now, we aim to expand in the Romanian market through Romaneasca.» Fines reduced on ferry price fixers of Italy-Greece route BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A European Union court reduced the fines imposed by the bloc’s competition regulators on two ferry companies guilty of price fixing on crossings from Italy to Greece. The Court of First Instance (CFI), the EU’s lower court, cut the Ventouris Group Enterprises SA’s 1,010,000-euro fine to 252,500 euros, and Adriatica di Navigazione SpA’s 980,000-euro fine to 245,000. But the court said the European Commission was right to find them, and three other firms – Strintzis Lines Shipping SA, Minoan Lines SA and Marlines SA – guilty of running a cartel. «The Court rejected the arguments put forward by the shipping companies that the anti-competitive conduct at issue was imposed upon them by the Greek authorities,» the CFI added. The court said it cut Ventouris and Adriatica’s fines because they only operated a cartel on routes between Patras in Greece and Bari and Brindisi in Italy. The other three firms had also fixed prices for the crossing from Patras to Ancona in Italy, the court said. Intralot Gaming system operator Intralot said yesterday it had acquired 100 percent of Peruvian gaming system firm Tektron SA for 15.6 million euros. It said it purchased the company from IBM Peru and Peruvian interests. Tektron, which has a network of 1,400 sales points countrywide and annual sales of $30 million, will be merged with Intralot’s subsidiary Intralot de Peru with the process to be completed in the first half of 2004, Intralot said in a statement. Intralot said the merger will lead to economies of scale and synergies. (Reuters) ALBA seminars The Athens Laboratory of Business Administration (ALBA) is holding free advanced seminars on management issues every second Tuesday from 4 to 5.30 p.m., at its premises in Vouliagmeni. The next planned seminar is on December 16, when the subject will be «The Economics of Family Law.» For further information, tel 210.8964531-8, e-mail [email protected], or visit www.alba.edu.gr.