In Brief

Gov’t looking into tax cut on interest income The government is considering a tax cut on interest earned from deposit accounts from 15 percent to 10 percent, with a view to boosting savings, sources say. The plan is to introduce the cut along with the tax amnesty extended to those who will repatriate savings, which was approved by Parliament this week. The Finance Ministry is to issue a circular to banks on the amnesty next week, setting out the details on how it is to be implemented. A reduction of taxes on interest income will make Greece’s the lowest rates in Europe which, it is hoped, will make Greek bank accounts more attractive to foreign depositors. The current tax rate of 15 percent on interest income is viewed as too high and unfair, especially for small savings, and, given the low interest rates, do not yield any substantial revenue to state coffers. It is also projected that the tax reductions will provide a further incentive for the repatriation of funds. At the same time, banks are preparing to offer a number of new savings and investment products for anyone interested in taking advantage of the new «friendlier» environment in which the tax amnesty for the repatriation of funds is seen as the central feature. Most Greek sex pay differentials attributed to discrimination factor Women’s wages in Greece are on average 25 percent lower than men’s, according to a Bank of Greece survey. The study shows that the greatest differences are in the lower wage scales, while middle incomes converge and high earners again have higher wages differentials between the two sexes. Productivity gaps between working men and women explain up to 40 percent the differences in their wages with the rest 60 percent, characterized as «female discrimination factor,» for which no explanation has been offered. This factor remains constant for all wage scales, as the difference between the earnings of males and females does not seem to fluctuate in correlation to wider or narrower differences in productivity along the lines of higher or lower wage earners. OPAP Deutsche Bank yesterday raised its price target on shares of gaming company OPAP to 16.3 euros from 15.7 previously and kept its «Hold» rating. «OPAP posted a strong set of second quarter and first-half results, outperforming our estimates by about 13 percent (6 percent) on average in terms of Q2 (H1) profitability mainly due to strong Kino performance,» Deutsche said in a research note. OPAP on Thursday more than tripled its first-half net profit to 288.5 million euros ($347.7 million), beating forecasts after reversing a provision that burdened 2003 results. «Our full, post-conference call, assumption review resulted in upward estimate revision in the period 2004-2006 inducing a new target price of Euro 16.30, plus 4 percent versus our previous of 15.7 euros,» Deutsche added. (Reuters) Emporiki Emporiki Bank is expected to report a 39 percent drop in first-half group pretax profit to 34.4 million euros year-on-year, burdened by high provisions and slow revenue growth, analysts said yesterday. Emporiki will report first-half results on Monday after the market closes. (Reuters)