ECONOMY

In Brief

Tourism-boosting actions unveiled; funding to go toward personnel training The government will spend a total of 54 million euros by the end of the year in order to boost the competitiveness of the tourism sector, Tourism Development Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said yesterday. The funds will be spent mostly on training personnel in small and medium-sized tourist enterprises. Avramopoulos said that one of the programs will be open to Olympic Games volunteers who want to find jobs in the sector. Minister calls on refineries, fuel traders to hold prices down Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas asked representatives of refineries, fuel trading firms and gas station owners to show «restraint» in pricing their products, especially heating oil. The Association of Gas Station Owners has estimated that heating oil, which will begin to be sold on Monday, will cost 46 cents per liter, up from 33 last year. Sioufas said that international oil prices have risen 60 percent since the start of the year, «an unprecedented development,» adding that the tax on heating oil of 21 cents a liter is the minimum that can be imposed. Vovos share sale The major shareholder in real estate developer Babis Vovos plans to sell a 10.88 percent stake in the company, in conjunction with the company’s sale of own shares amounting to a 9.1 percent share. In a stock market filing yesterday, Charalambos Vovos said he plans to sell 3,693,280 shares up to October 31. He owns 73.88 percent of the company. He will offer another 10 percent of his stake if there is demand, making for a total stake sale of 20.88 percent. The company also plans to sell 3,092,730 own shares for a minimum price of 11.75 euros per share up to the end of the month. Both the transactions will be via book-building and to a limited number of Greek and foreign institutional investors, Vovos said. Deutsche Bank London AG has been appointed global coordinator and bookrunner for the transactions. National Securities and Alpha Finance are selling agents. Vovos shares closed 0.44 percent down at 13.52 euros yesterday. (Reuters) No bond, no stake Telecoms operator OTE yesterday denied media reports it would issue a state-backed bond and that Alpha Bank would take a stake in the operator. «OTE categorically denies today’s press reports on the possible issue of a bond guaranteed by the state,» it said in a statement. It added speculation that Alpha Bank is to acquire a stake in the operator was «completely unfounded.» (Reuters) Profit hike Closed-end fund Hellenic Investments posted a 133.7 percent rise in nine-month net profit to 33.1 million euros ($40.91 million), it said yesterday. The fund, 47.7 percent-owned by Piraeus Bank, said its net asset value (NAV) return in the first nine months of the year was 5.78 percent versus a 2.68 percent rise in the investment company index. At end-September, the fund was 67 percent invested in equities, with 2.3 percent in bonds and the remainder in cash. Its top holdings were in shares of OPAP, National Bank, Alpha Bank, Piraeus Bank, EFG Eurobank, PPC, Folli Follie, Hyatt Regency and Coca-Cola HBC. (Reuters)