ECONOMY

In Brief

Greece dead last in broadband Internet penetration Only 0.5 percent of Greek households had access to broadband Internet services at the end of September, leaving Greece at the bottom of the table among European countries, according to the latest European Commission report on competitiveness. The EU average broadband connectivity is 6 percent, either through DSL or optical cable. OTE, the main provider of broadband services, had 28,000 ADSL subscribers at the end of September, although it estimates the number will increase fivefold by the end of 2005. Turkish tourism sector will grow by 15-20 percent next year ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey’s tourism sector is expected to grow 15-20 percent in 2005 and produce revenues of $14-15 billion, building on a strong performance this year, the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB) announced yesterday. TURSAB Chairman Basaran Ulusoy told Reuters in an interview the total of foreign tourists next year was expected to rise to 20-21 million from a forecast 17.38 million in 2004 and compared with 13.7 million last year. Tourist figures for the same period last year were hit by concerns over the war and its aftermath in neighboring Iraq. Tourism revenues this year are seen at $12.2 million. Official data for the first nine months of the year showed revenue raised from foreign tourists amounted to $9.6 billion. Including revenues from expatriate Turks visiting Turkey, total revenues were $12.64 billion in the nine-month period. Tourism revenues are a crucial source of foreign currency for Turkey as it tries to curb a large current account deficit, which hit $10.55 billion in the first nine months of the year. Ulusoy said this year’s performance was helped in part by improving relations with neighbors Greece and Syria as well as the development of its Russian market. Most respected Cement maker Titan, the National Bank of Greece, Delta Holdings, Coca-Cola HBC, Athenian Brewery, Alpha Bank, EFG Eurobank Ergasias, jewelry maker Folli-Follie, OTE Telecom and snack maker Chipita topped the Greek list of the «most respected companies» in a survey of CEOs conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Financial Times. Globally, the top three are General Electric – in top place for the seventh year running – Microsoft and Toyota. WPI up Wholesale price inflation accelerated to 2.9 percent year-on-year in October from 2.7 percent in September, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday. The 12-month WPI average stood at 2.3 percent. Less profit Water utility EYDAP yesterday reported a 46.4 percent drop in nine-month pretax profit to due to one-off losses of 9.58 million euros, but said it expects a profit at the end of the year. Profit fell to 29.47 million euros ($39.06 million) while revenues dropped 2.5 percent to 246.86 million euros. EYDAP said it expects a 30.2-million-euro profit at the end of the year. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) decreased by 15 percent to 63.59 million euros. (Reuters)