ECONOMY

In Brief

Delta Singular to shed major arm before absorption by Alpha Bank IT firm Delta Singular, Greece’s largest by market capitalization, is proposing to shareholders the sale of its main outsourcing business (DSOS) to US group First Data for 206 million euros in cash. Main shareholder Alpha Bank is also proposing to absorb the rest of Delta Singular, the two firms said in a joint press release yesterday. The sale of DSOS is seen boosting Alpha group’s net profit by 50 million euros this year. Alpha’s absorption of Delta Singular is projected to be completed by December 2004; the proposed swap ratio is one share of Alpha for every 10 of Delta Singular, which represents a 20.5 percent premium on Delta’s average weighted share price for the one-month period to June 8. Alpha said its capital adequacy ratio will increase by about 70 basis points as a result of Delta’s absorption. «This deal will strengthen our business structure so as to further concentrate on our core banking operations,» Alpha Bank’s Chairman Yiannis Costopoulos said in the statement. IT engineers sound the alarm against software patents The introduction of software patents, as advocated mainly by US companies, would preclude the use of programs in new software products and present a grave danger to Greece’s and other European economies, the Association of Information Technology Engineers of Greece (EPE) said yesterday. «The granting of software licenses will lead to the elimination of small software firms, retard scientific and technological progress, hit the European software industry, undermine the European Union’s effort to effectively compete with the United States, and cause a huge increase in software sale prices,» EPE said in a press release. For a small country like Greece, such a development will have a still more serious impact, by swelling the costs of purchasing and using software. Today, software products are protected by copyright and reproduction is forbidden without the creator’s permission. However, the production of similar programs is allowed as long as the producer does not copy the codes. EPE said the big software manufacturers are trying to ban the production of even similar products, beginning in the US, and pressure the European Union into introducing legislation to that effect. GDP Greece’s GDP grew 4.0 percent in the first quarter, year-on-year. Investment rose 5.1 percent (7.2 percent quarter-to-quarter), contributing 1.2 percent to the 3.5 percent growth of total demand. TVX Hellas Mining consortium Hellenic Gold said its assets are in no way affected by the bankruptcy, declared yesterday, of TVX Hellas, the previous operator of Cassandra mines in Halkidiki. The consortium said it maintains its plans for the development of the mines and the creation of jobs in the area. Lamda Development Lamda Development will be included in the EPRA/NAREIT Global Real Estate Index of listed companies as of July 1, the firm said in a statement. The benchmark index, adjusted on a daily basis, comprises 244 firms based in North America, European and Asia, and Lamda Development is one of the 76 European firms included.