ECONOMY

In Brief

Gov’t extends term of securities regulator by three months Parliament yesterday decided to extend the securities regulator’s term for another three months after government plans to appoint a new chief for a five-year term were stalled by a parliamentary committee earlier in the week. In an amendment to a bill on pensions, to be voted on next Tuesday, Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis extended the current term of the capital market commission’s board, which ends February 2, for another three months. Last week the government began procedures to appoint a new chief securities regulator, picking the current commission vice president, Alexandros Vousvounis, to replace Stavros Thomadakis as head of the regulatory body. Thomadakis has served for two terms. But on Monday, a parliamentary committee stalled the appointment, saying a decision should take place after the March 7 elections. The committee’s opposition deputies opposed the appointment before the elections and also turned down a government proposal to appoint Vousvounis for an interim three months. (Reuters) ADEX to stop Panafon stock futures in view of delisting The Athens Derivatives Exchange (ADEX) said yesterday it will not introduce a new series on Panafon stock futures after plans by Vodafone Group to delist its 98 percent-owned Greek cellular operator. ADEX said outstanding Panafon futures will continue to trade until the contracts expire, unless the delisting takes place before expiration. In such a case the futures will stop trading and will be cash-settled based on the underlying stock’s closing price on its last trading day. Open interest in Panafon March futures is only five contracts. The exchange has already stopped transactions in Panafon stock repos and reverse repos. (Reuters) Delta Delta Holdings, one of Greece’s largest food companies, said yesterday it expects to post 2003 group pretax earnings of 40 million euros, at the same levels as in the year before. The group forecast 2003 sales would reach 690 million euros, up 8.0 percent year-on-year, rising 7 percent this year. Delta, active in Southeast Europe in the dairy, frozen foods and fruit juice sectors, said it will realize a 40-million-euro investment program this year with plans to reduce its debt load by 10 percent. (Reuters) Hellenic Investments Closed-end fund Hellenic Investments said it closed 2003 with a net profit of 20.9 million euros versus a loss of 7.9 million a year earlier. The fund said it had unrealized capital gains of 59.6 million euros at end-December, versus unrealized losses of 107.6 million a year earlier. Results include Piraeus Investments, which was absorbed by the fund last year. At end-December the fund’s portfolio was 84.8 percent invested in equities and stock mutual funds, with 6.1 percent in bonds and 9.1 percent in cash. (Reuters) Franchising The sixth International Franchising Fair KEM 2004 opens at the Athens Exhibition Center, 124 Kifissias Avenue. To February 2.