ECONOMY

In Brief

ETA public offering planned for end of month or early February A public offering of Hellenic Tourism Properties (ETA), the asset management arm of the Greek National Tourist Organization, will take place by the end of the month or early February, a government source said yesterday. «Our plan is that the public offering will take place by the end of the month or in the first week of February,» the source told Reuters. «We expect approval from the relevant bourse authorities (for the IPO) next week,» the source added. The State expects to raise around 150-180 million euros from the flotation of up to 30 percent of ETA, which manages a portfolio of some 9 billion euros’ worth of assets. In December, ETA said the price is expected to come in at a range of 4.50 to 5.50 euros per share, valuing the company at between 540 million and 660 million euros. Lead underwriters for the public offering are EFG Eurobank-Ergasias, Alpha Bank and the investment arm of Commercial Bank. EFG Telesis Finance is the issue adviser. (Reuters) Ferry operators Minoan and Attica Enterprises sell vessels to Italians Ferry operator Minoan Lines yesterday announced the sale of its vessel Prometheus to a company of Italian interests. «The sale of the vessel marks a further step in the company’s strategy to reduce debt and strengthen liquidity,» Minoan said in a statement. «More specifically, the company’s debt will be reduced by 50 million euros and together with the restructuring of the existing debt facilities leads to significantly reduced financial expenses and thus improves profitability, enhancing the company’s future positive outlook.» Additionally, the company’s efforts for improving the operating profit trough cost containment and higher traffic loads, has delivered positive results that will be illustrated in the 2003 financial statements, Minoan said. Separately, rival Attica Enterprises said it has sold its Superfast I ferry to Italy’s Atlantic Navigazione, to be delivered to the new owners at the end of February. Attica said after three other recent sales of vessels, its fleet will comprise eight ferries on average less than 3 years old. Kyriakoulis Yachting company Kyriakoulis said yesterday it signed a deal with a unit of German TUI AG, Europe’s largest travel firm, to set up a joint venture to lease and sell leisure boats, boosting the Greek firm’s shares. Kyriakoulis shares were trading 6.7 percent higher at 2.39 euros on the Athens bourse, outperforming the broader market which was up 0.72 percent. Under the deal, TUI Hellas will have a 50 percent stake and management in the new company, Catpro, while Kyriakoulis Mediterranean Cruises will own the remaining 50 percent. The joint venture will order sailing boats for this year’s tourist season in Greece, which will host the Summer Olympic Games in Athens in August. The two partners will maintain their stakes in Catpro unchanged for at least five years. Kyriakoulis, with a current market value of 34 million euros, operates marinas on many Greek islands and in Italy, servicing sailing enthusiasts. (Reuters)