ECONOMY

In Brief

OTE raises interest in mobile phone arm OTE Telecom bought 500,000 shares in its mobile subsidiary CosmOTE last week, it said in a stock market filing yesterday. Investment bank Lehman Brothers sold 4 million shares in CosmOTE last week on behalf of WR Com Enterprises, a Greek founder of CosmOTE belonging to Vassilis Sarantitis. OTE, which owns around 59 percent of CosmOTE, said it bought the CosmOTE shares at 14.90 euros each. Market observers take the view that OTE is aiming at increasing its shares in CosmOTE to 70 percent before absorbing it, in line with the trend of other European telecom groups. Turkey’s leading magnates join up for telecoms bid ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Leading Turkish conglomerates Koc Holding and Sabanci Holding said they had formed a joint venture to take part in a tender for a 55 percent block sale of state landline company Turk Telekom. The statement from Koc and Sabanci said each of the groups would have a 50 percent stake in the venture. Turk Telekom has 19 million fixed-line subscribers, and sector analysts say it is the world’s 13th-largest telecommunications company. Parties which have expressed an interest in the tender include Spain’s Telefonica, Telecom Italia and Deutsche Telekom. Turkey has not yet set a price for the company. Turkish shares closed at a new high yesterday on news of the joint bid and amid expectations of a foreign bank tie-up and hopes for the sale of Yapi Kredi Bank. The main share index rose 1.17 percent to 25,604.65 points. Fund repatriation Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said there was no issue of compatibility of the recent provision for repatriation of capital funds with European legislation. «We consider the provisions are compatible with European regulations, besides, Community organs have ruled on a similar scheme by Italy in the past,» he said. The recent law allows Greeks to repatriate funds without declaring their source, and pay a 3 percent tax. Roussopoulos also said the government will await the completion of the ongoing judicial investigation into allegations of scandals during the stock market frenzy of 1999 before deciding whether to set up a parliamentary commission of inquiry. Greek arms Hellenic Defence Systems (EAS) will undertake arm-producing programs totaling 340 million euros up to 2011, Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos announced yesterday at the EAS plant in Aegion, near Patras. The new programs include the production of new 5.56mm rifles, additional MINIMI machine guns, mortars of 81mm and 120mm, pistols, grenade launchers, new buildings and equipment. Spiliotopoulos said, «This government’s basic policy is the substantial participation of the domestic defense industry in all armed forces procurements.» Export market surveys Four market surveys abroad have been ordered by the Panhellenic Exporters Association (PSE) alongside the Agriculture and Food Ministry’s program to promote products of quality and national significance. The surveys will deal with the current penetration and prospects of olive oil and edible olives, canned fruit, honey and aromatic and pharmaceutical plants in three target markets (France, Germany and the UK). PSE noted great strong interest in the above products at the recent SIAL international food exhibition in Paris.