ECONOMY

In Brief

Greek GDP growth outperforms EU average in Q4/03, despite slip Greece’s growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP) declined 0.3 percent in the last quarter of 2003, making for an annual rate of 5.0 percent. This performance was the worst on a quarterly basis among the 10 EU members for which data was available, but the best on an annual basis, according to Eurostat data released yesterday. The EU average growth rate was 0.6 percent on an annual basis, against 0.3 percent in the third quarter. Eurostat said the sluggish recovery was due to higher investment rather than stronger consumer demand, the respective rates being 0.8 and 0.3 percent. The EU’s economic powerhouse, Germany, remained bogged down with a zero growth rate on an annual basis. Eurostat forecasts growth rates between 0.3 and 0.7 percent in the eurozone in the first two quarters of 2004. Fidelity raises stake in CosmOTE to over 5 percent Mobile operator CosmOTE said in a stock market filing yesterday US fund manager Fidelity raised its stake in the company to over 5 percent in late February. «Fidelity Management and Research Company increased its stake in CosmOTE’s share capital to 5.49 percent from 3.68 percent in a transaction on February 26,» CosmOTE said. CosmOTE is 59 percent-owned by telecoms incumbent OTE. Lehman Brothers on February 26 completed the placement of Telenor’s 9 percent stake in CosmOTE, with institutional investors and hedge funds among the buyers. (Reuters) Chinese investment China’s First Automotive Works (FAW) group is planning a $10 billion investment in a car assembly plant in Volos industrial park, central Greece, the daily Imerisia reported yesterday. Venture capital fund The Bank of Attica said yesterday it launched a venture capital fund with initial capital of 30 million euros together with the Finance Ministry’s new economy growth fund (TANEO). Attica’s Zaitech fund will be managed by subsidiary Attica Ventures. The bank will provide 15 million euros with another 14.99 million euros coming from TANEO. Blue Star Ferries Blue Star Ferries has said passengers will no longer be able to remain in camper-type vehicles during journeys in compliance with International Ship and Port Security Code regulations. Egypt The Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies (HATTA) and the Egyptian Travel Agents Association (ETAA) have signed a protocol of cooperation in the joint development of business, starting with the Olympic Games this year. Dubai Thessaloniki’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBETH) is organizing a business delegation to Dubai in early May, with an estimated cost of 1,400 euros per person. Applications are accepted until March 10. For further information, call 2310.370.132.