ECONOMY

In Brief

Unions warn gov’t against pro-employer measures Labor union umbrella body GSEE said yesterday that recent reports commissioned by the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV) were paving the way for tax and other measures favoring business interests, and urged the government not to give in to such demands. GSEE noted in a statement that business profits have been steadily on the rise in recent years, and said the government should address union concerns about rising prices, unemployment and social security. It warned it is ready to mobilize if proposals contrary to union interests surface. DEPA explores gas deal with Azerbaijan BAKU (Reuters) – Greece’s state gas company DEPA wants to buy gas from Azerbaijan’s giant Shakh-Deniz field directly when the exploration of the project comes into a second stage in 2010, DEPA Chairman Raphael Moissis said yesterday. «We have touched upon such possibilities during talks in Baku on June 21-22, but such discussions take several years.» DEPA has agreed with the Turkish state gas firm BOTAS to buy 0.75 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Azeri gas from 2006 and 3 bcm a year by 2010 via a 285-kilometer (177-mile) pipeline between Turkey and Greece to be built by 2006 and to have a capacity of 8 bcm a year. But Moissis said he would prefer to have a direct supply deal during the second phase when gas from Shakh-Deniz could be shipped to Italy, France, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Slovenia and Serbia via Greece if its price was not higher than prices at which Russia’s gas giant Gazprom sells to Europe. «A feasibility study to build a pipeline between Greece and Italy will be ready as early as end of July 2004, with investors to be found by the end of 2004,» Moissis said. Business awards The Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) yesterday announced its annual entrepreneurial awards as follows: Aluminium profile industry Alumil – Exporting Activity; pharmaceuticals firm Vianex and Athens Breweries – Application of Total Quality Management Systems; jewelry firm Folli-Follie and food company Uni-Farma Cleon Tsetis – Branded Products; ferry operator Attica Enterprises – International Activity; mobile operator Vodafone – Enterprise and Environment; cement maker Titan and Eureka Hellas – Corporate Social Responsibility; supermarket chain Atlantic – Rise in Employment; tech-firm Raycap – Research and Technological Development; newspaper Estia – Enterprise and Tradition. Chocolate industry ION’s Ioannis Kotsiopoulos receives the Self-Made Businessman award. Plaisio goes abroad IT retailer Plaisio Computers will invest about 3-4 million euros in a new store in Sofia, Bulgaria, its first abroad. Company sources said the decision is related to the large presence of Greek enterprises in the neighboring country. The firm expects sales and profit growth of 18 percent in 2004. Eurobank EFG Eurobank’s e-banking facility has been rated the best in Greece in PC Magazine’s annual report, due to the large number of online services, the high level of security in transactions and a user-friendly navigation environment.