ECONOMY

In Brief

ETA undaunted by prospect of hostile Council of State ruling Hellenic Tourism Properties (ETA), the public company for which a Council of State ruling is pending regarding the legality of the practice of selling or conceding operating rights to private enterprises, said yesterday it will continue doing so in 2004. The company, whose listing on the Athens bourse has been delayed in view of the ruling, reported a consolidated pretax profit after minorities for 2003 of 31.9 million euros, against 43.5 million in 2002. ETA said the drop was due to extraordinary expenses, including 6.7 million euros for a voluntary retirement program, and 3.2 million for provisions. Turnover reached 126.1 million euros (139.3 million in 2002). The company’s net worth rose from 356 million to 385 million euros. Telestet Mobile telephony firm Stet Hellas, operating under the Telestet service mark, yesterday reported a 19.4 percent rise in profits before taxes, interest and amortization to 275.7 million euros in 2003, on a 17.1 percent increase in operating revenue to 808.5 million euros. Average monthly revenue per contract user (ARPU) rose to 46.8 euros from 43.9 euros in 2002. On Dec. 31, the company ended the connections of 382,051 prepaid customers who had not used their phone for at least three months. Of 2.4 million customers at the end of the year, 1.58 million, or 66 percent, were prepaid, while 43 percent of contract users were corporate customers. Changing operator Fixed-line and mobile phone users wishing to change operator and keep their number will have to pay 7 and 9.60 euros respectively, the National Telecommunications and Posts Commission (EETT) has determined. The service is already available for fixed-line phones and will be for mobiles on March 1. Food expo The 17th International Food & Drinks Exhibition opened at the ExpoAthens center in the suburb of Anthousa (Drafiou Avenue). The exhibition is open only to traders, who need to demonstrate their professional card to enter. For further information, tel 210.603.0402.