ECONOMY

In Brief

Shipowners meet Papoutsis over new measures The competitiveness of the Greek merchant navy and measures to bolster the Greek flag also strengthen Greece’s political presence in the EU and its institutional organs, as well as worldwide, Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis said yesterday after receiving a delegation of London-based Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee, headed by its president Epameinondas Embeirikos. Sources said the two sides agreed that relevant measures recently announced by Prime Minister Costas Simitis in Thessaloniki, which included a reduction in taxation on ships and seamen, were in the right direction. Emphasis was placed on the need to improve the organization of seamen’s training, as shipping firms find it increasingly difficult to recruit officers able to work with the new sophisticated electronic systems with which ships are equipped. The committee is meeting members of the Union of Greek Shipowners in Piraeus today. TIF reports more visitors The 66th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), which closed its gates on Sunday, attracted 295,950 visitors this year, up from 285,561 last year. Of these, 70,000 were admitted free of charge. The number of exhibitors was down by 4 percent, attributed to uncertainties in the world economy and the difficulties of listed firms as a result of the stock market slide. OTE Telecom, Attiko Metro and Interscala-Velko received the best exhibitor awards, while commendations were given to the School Buildings Organization, the Hellenic Sugar Industry and Almaco. Awards for best outdoor exhibition went to the Culture Ministry, Thessaloniki Renault branch network and OPAP football pools. Extra taxes up. The Finance Ministry ascertained additional taxation dues totaling 215.6 billion drachmas as a result of inspections on enterprises during the January-August period, up 26 percent from the same period last year. DANE addition. Dodecanese ferry operator DANE yesterday inaugurated the latest addition to its fleet, Diagoras, which company officials said confounded adverse forecasts and proved the firm’s ability to revitalize its prospects. Company president Jack Geronikolas said DANE’s plans for renewing its fleet were based on sound feasibility studies for vessels, meeting the strictest safety standards and upgraded service requirements. Diagoras was bought with own funds in Japan and underwent extensive changes in Greece costing 3 billion drachmas. Built in 1990, it is 141.54 meters long, 23 meters wide and can carry 1260 passengers, 70 trucks and 90 private cars. Informatics targets Dutch growth.Informatics is in negotiations for the acquisition of a majority stake in Holland’s Digistore, as part of its expansion drive into the Dutch market. Digistore, a listed company, specializes in business IT solutions and has plans for expanding in Belgium. Informatics already controls 80 percent of Digistore’s subsidiary ALLtrend and is planning their merger, which would leave it with a 67-percent stake of the new scheme. The company reported a 15-percent growth in consolidated first-half turnover to 8.1 billion drachmas. DRY CARGO