ECONOMY

In Brief

DEKA to buy heavyweight shares after convertible bond expires The state portfolio management agency DEKA said in a stock market filing yesterday it will buy shares of Hellenic Petroleum and OTE Telecom from Hellenic Finance after the expiration of convertible government bonds. The shares had been transferred to Hellenic Finance in July 2000 as part of two convertible bond issues which together raised about 960 million euros for the State. Investors did not exchange bonds for shares as Hellenic Petroleum’s bond had a conversion price of 15 euros per share versus a current market price of less than 7 euros. Similarly, OTE’s bond had a conversion price of around 32 euros, much higher than the current share price of around 10.30 euros. The transaction will be over-the-counter. DEKA will buy 25 million shares or 8.21 percent of Hellenic Petroleum and 14.9 million shares or 3.05 percent of OTE from July 28 to 30. Senior Finance Ministry officials have hinted that the State will look into placing the Hellenic Petroleum stake. Latsis Group, which owns 25 percent in Hellenic Petroleum through a subsidiary, holds the right of first refusal in a potential placement of the refiner’s shares. (Reuters) Exports hoped to make up for fall in local demand for cement Heracles cement company’s CEO Albert Corcos told reporters he expects domestic demand to decline by around 7 percent after the completion of Olympic projects but that the company will not be affected as exports will make up for the shortfall. He said private construction activity continues to be strong and that investment in infrastructure will continue in the medium term with the help of European Union investment subsidies. According to data presented by Heracles, the Greek construction market absorbed an annual average of about 10 million tons of cement in the last five years, with 20 percent going to public works and the rest to private construction. Olympics-related projects accounted for about 5 percent of consumption annually. Heracles supplied a total of 970,000 tons of cement for Olympics-related projects in this period. Sales reached a peak last year, when the firm reports a 64 percent rise in profits to 117 million euros. Bank of Cyprus Bank of Cyprus announced a management restructuring yesterday, appointing its general manager in Greece to the newly created position of group chief executive and removing executive powers from its chairman and vice chairman. General Manager (Greece) Andreas Eliades has been appointed as group chief executive officer, deputized by Charilaos Stavrakis, who has also been appointed as CEO of the bank’s Cyprus operations. The new arrangements take effect on January 1, 2005. (Reuters) Albania-FYROM road The Albanian government has decided to construct a new, 72-kilometer (45-mile) road which will significantly shorten the drive to the neighboring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Ministry of Transport said yesterday. (AP)