ECONOMY

In Brief

Works of art yield handsome returns to wealthy investors Only a few of over 6,000 investments in the works of 100 great artists auctioned in London and New York yielded negative returns to their buyers. Far more produced handsome profits of up to 1,800 percent in 15 years, according to a study by Alpha Bank’s head of private banking, Dimitrios Verriopoulos, in the latest regular publication for shareholders. Such works include several Greek painters since the end of the 19th century, which have attracted investors’ interest in the last decade. Verriopoulos said Alpha clients can borrow sums of between 100,000 and 3 million euros with works of art as collateral; the maximum loan amount cannot exceed two-thirds of the value of the collateral, while repayment periods are negotiable and vary between two and six years. The bank has also developed yacht financing, with loan sums varying as above and covering 60 percent of the cost. Minimum capital for Alpha Bank’s private banking customers is 300,000 euros. RAE approves PPC power units on 13 Aegean islands Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas has signed a decision giving the right to the Public Power Corporation to install and operate additional temporary power production units on 13 Aegean islands unconnected with the national grid, totaling a capacity of 68 megawatts. The plan, aimed at preventing shortages during the summer, particularly during the Olympic Games, was made possible after the Regulatory Energy Authority (RAE) lifted previous objections based on the argument that such projects had to be assigned on the basis of tenders it would issue itself. Vovos Listed construction firm Babis Vovos is about to conclude a deal for leasing part of its new office block at the Thon estate at the Alexandras-Kifissias junction in Ambelokipi to a large company, officials said. The firm is about to start a 60-million-euro, 120-home development scheme near Cape Sounion, and is studying the purchase of land on mainland Greece for the building of holiday homes, as well as elsewhere in the Balkans. Finally, the firm has begun construction of a shopping mall at the Faliron Delta, planned to be leased to the Carrefour supermarket chain, but which has met with opposition from local residents. Mideast business The Exporters’ Association of Northern Greece (SEVE) has created its MiddlEastGATE service, which is aimed at providing specialized information to Greek firms considering doing business in the region. Taxes The Finance Ministry has mailed a first batch of 190,300 clearing slips to taxpayers for their 2003 income tax statements. HFD Ferry operator Hellas Flying Dolphins (HFD) has ordered its fifth catamaran-type high-speed vessel from Australian shipyard Austal. The 85-meter-long (280-feet) ship, capable of carrying 810 passengers and 154 vehicles, is expected to be deployed on Aegean routes in June 2005.