ECONOMY

In Brief

ORSA says Technopolis plan will not affect forested area The Athens Town Planning Organization (ORSA) said yesterday that a proposed 150-million-euro IT park near Kiourka, at the foot of Mt Parnitha north of the capital, will be built in a former quarry and will not affect any forested area. Last week, the Synaspismos Left Coalition party claimed in Parliament that the scheme involved the delisting of 40 hectares of forestland, and submitted an older advertisement by the consortium sponsoring the project saying that the chances for the delisting looked good. On January 22, ORSA indicated that a draft presidential decree on the protection of the wider Parnitha district set the specific area apart. The consortium, Technopolis-Acropolis, which comprises 134 IT firms, said it has never sought a delisting of forestland and that the specific proposed location for construction, measuring about 12 hectares, has never been listed as such. ORSA said the draft decree is the first to provide a framework for land uses in the Parnitha area and that the Kiourka municipal authority has approved the Technopolis scheme, which will include product exhibition areas, a conference center and library. Chamber of Hotels wants end to smears and clear rules for investors The Greek Chamber of Hotels (XEE) yesterday expressed concern that an «unfair and misleading impression has taken hold recently, where entrepreneurial activity in tourism is regarded as an area of scandal rather than as the branch of the Greek economy with the best prospects for growth,» deterring investors from the sector. It added in a statement that «in no instance is it in favor of covering up hazy or unclear tailor-made provisions that create inequitable terms of competition for thousands of small business people. Any such cases should be revealed in the context of a clear and transparent investment framework.» ETA in trouble? An expected recommendation by a Council of State judge on Friday against the granting of an area in Anavyssos, south of Athens, by the Greek National Tourism Organization to its subsidiary Hellenic Tourism Properties (ETA) could lead to the cancellation of many tenders whereby ETA has conceded assets to private operators and to the postponement of its planned listing on the Athens bourse, sources said. The judge’s report is said to argue that laws allowing ETA to operate on private economic criteria are contrary to its public character and, therefore, unconstitutional. ETA’s IPO had been expected early this month. ASE Athens Stock Exchange President Panayiotis Alexakis said that the ongoing recovery in Europe will help Greek listed firms and the bourse maintain a good performance in 2004. He did not see the March 7 elections affecting the bourse adversely beyond perhaps the short term. Sprider Clothing firm Sprider is launching a public subscription for listing on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) between February 5 and 10. The company expects to raise 25-30 million euros to reduce short-term debt incurred due to a delay in its expected listing. After the listing, the free float will represent 30.67 percent of the firm’s share capital. Sprider plans to increase the number of its superstores around Greece from 22 to 28 by 2005.