In Brief

Gov’t declares privatization revenue target achieved Greece managed to exceed its 3-billion-euro revenue target from state asset sales in 2003 intended to reduce public debt, Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said yesterday. «Following a 350-million-euro share capital reduction in the Postal Savings Bank (TT), we exceeded our target for 2003,» he told reporters. Plans to tender a 35 percent stake in TT and 20 percent in water utility EYDAP, announced in October, are in a preparatory phase, the minister said, adding that the State’s sale of a 2 percent stake in National Bank to the IKA pension fund will be concluded early next year. (Reuters) Customs officials partly blamed for illegal trade in folk art products The Attica Association of Folk Art Manufacturers (AAFM) said yesterday it plans to submit evidence to a public prosecutor next month relating to illegal trade in folk art which has grown into a most serious threat for the sector. AAFM told a press conference the agency has collected evidence regarding the activities of three large importers and the distribution in the market of items falsely marked «Made in Greece.» It said the percentage of genuinely Greek manufactured items in the market has fallen from 90 percent 10 years ago to about 50 percent today, and charged that the phenomenon is partly due to the inadequate application of customs officials to their duties. A folk art product exhibition is scheduled to take place at the Piraeus Port Authority building, January 8-11. Fixed-to-mobile rates Telecoms operator OTE said yesterday rates for fixed-line calls made by its users terminating in mobile networks will become cheaper, effective as of today. OTE will charge a retention fee of 0.020 euros for the first 30 seconds for fixed-to-mobile calls, compared with 0.026 euros currently, with per second pricing applying after that at 0.04 euros per minute, the group said in a statement. It also cut the minimum duration period for all fixed-to-mobile calls to 30 seconds. (Reuters) Romtelecom A Romtelecom shareholders’ meeting to approve a plan to relaunch the Romanian fixed-line carrier’s mobile unit has been delayed until January, government officials said yesterday. Bucharest has said the highly indebted unit, Cosmorom – owned by Greece’s OTE – needs an investment of 100 million to 150 million euros if it is to become competitive. The shareholder meeting had been due yesterday. The official said that the solution, which was expected to be approved by Romtelecom’s shareholders, «would be spectacular.» (Reuters) CCHBC Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (CCHBC) yesterday announced the full acquisition of potato snack manufacturer Tsakiris, Greece’s second largest, for 6.2 million euros. CCHBC said in a statement it aimed to further develop the acquired brand which offered considerable potential and complementarity to its existing range of products. Tsakiris, a subsidiary of listed firm Plias, has annual sales of about 6 million euros from a market share of 10 percent.