In Brief

NBG chief proposes dialogue from scratch with unions National Bank of Greece Governor Takis Arapoglou yesterday proposed to the Federation of Bank Employees’ Unions (OTOE) to begin dialogue from scratch on the hot potato of unifying banks’ auxiliary pension funds which have large actuarial liabilities, sources said. He is said to have proposed that any single auxiliary fund must be preceded by a solution to the problems of individual funds. OTOE said in a statement Arapoglou’s proposals were on positive footing. Separately, Giorgos Provopoulos, CEO of Emporiki Bank, whose fund has the largest liabilities, appeared optimistic and said a plan that envisaged equal participation from banks and the government in the funding of the new scheme, aired last week, was a golden opportunity. Further meetings are due today. Plan to subsidize start-ups in culture and environment The Labor Ministry will accept applications from this Friday until August 31, 2006 to subsidize up to 6,450 unemployed professionals in the domains of culture and environment, aimed at encouraging them to start their own enterprises. The grants will amount to 9,000 euros per person and last for 12 months. Eligible are people aged 18-64, who are listed as unemployed at the Manpower Organization (OAED), with unemployment documents valid until beginning the enterprise (May 1, 2004 at the earliest) and having passed the individual assessment process. Activities may range from theater and photography to forest protection and refuse management. ASE – Foreign investors Good news continues for the Athens Stock Exchange, as foreign investors emerge as the dominant force in blue chips. In November, foreign investor participation in the FTSE-20 index rose to 41.8 percent of the total stock value of the index, from 39.9 percent in October. Last month saw the placement of 7.46 percent of National Bank of Greece shares, a great part of which went to investors from abroad. Generally, foreigners were mainly buyers while domestic investors were predominantly sellers. In the mid-cap shares, though, foreign investors’ share was only 35.8 percent. Bottled water prices The end of regulation on the price of bottled water was recommended yesterday by a Council of State judge after an injunction filed by the Association of Coastal Shipowners and Olympic Catering. The proponent argues that regulation should come after a «rational setting of the highest price using methods and criteria of technical nature,» which courts can audit. No single sale price or any percentage of profit should be set, it added. Kantor into real estate Real estate is the next field of activity for Greek consultancy Kantor, in cooperation with GVA Worldwide, a company present in 120 cities across five continents with a significant role in the global commercial property market. Kantor will be able to offer services in all sectors of commercial real estate, such as optimization of real estate portfolio, expedience and viability studies, planning and developing projects, property management, etc.