Better pension terms for mothers to remain Labor and Social Security Minister Dimitris Reppas said yesterday that provisions in the planned pension fund reform will be more favorable for women than for men. Maternity is a social and national contribution and must be rewarded… This does not mean a suspension of the policy for gender equality. It means respect for the special role of women, particularly that of mothers, in a society such as Greece’s, he told reporters after a Cabinet meeting, but refused to be drawn on whether the new terms for women will be more favorable than at present. Under existing provisions, certain categories of working mothers of underage children can retire on reduced pensions after only 15 years in service. In another development, the government tabled an amendment providing for the disbursement of 1.3 trillion drachmas to the Social Security Foundation (IKA) in settlement of state debts. Time and manner of disbursement will be determined in a contract. The modernization of IKA is a difficult operation with significantly positive repercussions on the social insurance system, Deputy Minister Rovertos Spyropoulos told Parliament. Shareholders approve Aegean-Cronus merger Shareholders of Aegean and Cronus airlines yesterday approved merger plans which will be formally implemented by month’s end. Aegean also announced an 8-billion-drachma share capital increase, bringing the paid-up total to 38 billion. The merger will provide the potential for more efficient investment in know-how that will allow the creation of new pioneering services and reduce operating costs per passenger seat, said a press release. The merged company possesses a 40-percent share in the Greek air transport industry, with 11 destinations in Greece and seven others to European cities, and has carried more than 6 million passengers in the last three years. Combined turnover in the same period reached 150 billion drachmas and is projected at 60 billion for 2001. Losses are estimated at 15 percent of turnover. According to the statement, Aegean was declared third Best European Regional Airline for 2000/1 by the Association of European Regional Airlines. OTE sheds leasing arm. Piraeus Bank yesterday transferred a block of 1.5 million shares to OTE Telecom as part of an agreement between the two companies on the sale of OTE’s leasing arm to Piraeus Leasing. OTE Leasing had an 11.2-percent market share in 1999 and was sold by OTE as part of restructuring plans to focus on core business and lighten debt. (Reuters) Express Service. The Council of State yesterday turned down an application by the Express Service insurance company against a Development Ministry order suspending its license and sealing its premises. The company, the insurance arm of the Express Service road assistance firm which continues operations, will remain shut at least until March 2002. According to the original ministerial decision, the company had been found in breach of asset investment requirements and had a deficit of 706 million drachmas in its social security fund. – In Atlantic, Dreyfus has fixed M/V Yong Feng 74,099 dwt, built 2000, delivery beg. December Rotterdam trip via Canada, redelivery UKC at USD 6,200 daily, while Ap Moller has fixed M/V Mass Enterprise 69,555 dwt, built 1993, delivery Dec. 5-15, S. Africa, redelivery UKC at USD 5,800 daily and USD 85,000 ballast bonus.