In Brief

SVVE endorses regional reallocation of CSFIII reserves The Association of Industries of Northern Greece (SVVE) yesterday expressed «particular satisfaction» with the reallocation of 2 billion euros of reserve funds to regional projects under the EU-subsidized Third Community Support Framework (CSFIII) investment plan which Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis presented in Thessaloniki on Wednesday. SVVE noted that its proposals for CSFIII revision were fully adopted, and said this will contribute to regional convergence. It also said it hopes that the significant acceleration noted in the last three months in the implementation of the 50-billion-euro plan – which runs till 2006 – will be maintained. Intralot to run Romania’s state fixed-odds betting operations Gaming systems operator Intralot said yesterday that it will run Romania’s fixed-odds betting operations on behalf of state gaming operator CNLR. Intralot said in an announcement that it will be responsible for the organization, operation and risk management of all fixed-odds betting games, including soccer, basketball, tennis and Formula 1 motor racing, as well as for the marketing of these and any new games in cooperation with CNLR. Intralot will begin these operations before the end of the first half of 2004, it said. The company said it will install 1,800 of its Coronis online betting terminals at CNLR outlets, as well as its Lotos gaming software, as part of the deal. Intralot also said its cooperation with CNLR includes the future development and installation of Videolottery games in Romania. No financial details were disclosed. (AP) General Bank Two small Greek banks, Aspis and Marfin, and France’s Societe Generale, yesterday submitted binding bids for acquisition of a majority stake in General Bank, which is looking for a strategic investor. The bids will be evaluated by investment bank Rothschild, which is acting as adviser to the Army Providence Fund, holder of a 38 percent stake in General. The bank’s union of employees has expressed opposition to the sale and the procedure adopted. Airports The Federation of Civil Aviation Unions (OSYPA) has sent a letter to Parliament and political parties, urging the nationalization of Athens international airport (AIA), which is run on a 30-year concession scheme by a consortium led by Germany’s Hochtief. OSYPA draws attention to a study by the respected Center for Economic Planning and Research (KEPE), according to which the concession is contrary to the public interest and the country’s tourism and air transport industries and its regional development. It further calls for the withdrawal of a recent amendment providing for the privatization of the planned new airport Kasteli in Iraklion, Crete. The KEPE study contends that the terms of the AIA concession restrict state rights on profits while the high charges discourage demand, boosting the competitiveness of other rival Mediterranean destinations.