In Brief

CSFIV allocation to depend on timing and data used as base The sum of European Union investment subsidies which Greece will receive under the Fourth Community Support Framework (CSF IV), which is to run from 2007 to 2012, will be primarily determined by when the negotiations are completed and what type of statistics are used as criteria, Economy Ministry Secretary-General Costas Theos said yesterday. On the basis of 2001 data and according to the criterion of regional per capita income not exceeding 75 percent of the EU average, Central Greece and the Southern Aegean are left out. If negotiations last long and are based on 2003 data, the regions of Attica and central and western Macedonia are also at risk of being excluded, Theos said. Greece has lost 3.4 percent, or 520 million euros, of CSFII funds (1995-2000 period), according to European Commission figures released by the ministry yesterday. The rate was one of the lowest among the 15 members, while the Netherlands had the highest (23.1 percent). Checks are being conducted regarding possible approval of a further sum of 200-300 million euros under CSFII for Greece. Greek ex-factory prices of cars among lowest in EU Ex-factory prices of new private cars (before tax) in Greece fell 0.6 percent between May and November 2003, remaining among the lowest in the EU along with Denmark’s and Finland’s, according to a European Commission survey released in Brussels. Greece has the eurozone’s lowest prices for about one model in three. The highest prices in the eurozone are found in Germany, where 23 models are between 20 and 39 percent more expensive than in the cheapest national market. The survey covered the 91 most popular models of 18 European and eight Japanese manufacturers. Supermarkets Officials of supermarket chains aired concerns about a rather stagnant sales picture in recent months and tight profit margins – largely the result of aggressive pricing policies – during a meeting they sought with suppliers’ representatives, sources said. The eight largest chains realized combined profits of just 92.6 million euros on sales of more than 5 billion in 2002. Marfin Hellenic Investment Bank has absorbed Marfin Hellenic Securities, which is sixth by market share in stocks and second in derivatives. The move aims at increasing capital adequacy and enhancing the range of products available to customers, the bank said in a statement. FBB First Business Bank (FBB) reported a drop in pretax profits to 4 million euros in 2003 from 5.27 million in 2002. FBB operates eight branches and plans three more in 2004. ING Insurance group ING Hellas reported a 27.6 percent growth in premium income in 2003. Life sector sales rose only 0.5 percent and hospital cover premiums 9 percent. Euclides The Athens bourse yesterday lifted the suspension from trading of the shares of construction firm Euclides, after a court ruling enabling its merger with another company.

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