ECONOMY

In Brief

Greece, Bulgaria make progress on pipeline Bulgarian Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis agreed during talks in Sofia yesterday to set up the joint company which will undertake construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline within 2001, according to a press release in Athens. A tripartite committee, with Russian participation, will be established next month. In another meeting, Christodoulakis briefed Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Public Works Minister K. Paskalev of Greek interest and the possible participation of the Public Power Corporation in the planned privatizations of energy production companies in Bulgaria. The talks also dealt with the latest international developments and prospects for cooperation in technology and tourism. Eureko completes acquisition of Interamerican Eureko, the Dutch-based international insurance group, said yesterday its stake in Interamerican, Greece’s largest insurance company, rose to 98.07 percent after the expiry on Monday of its public offer of 20.74 euros per share to shareholders. The group said in a press release it now planned to call a general meeting to approve an application to the Capital Market Commission for the de-listing of Interamerican from the Athens Stock Exchange. We are very happy with the success of our public offer for Interamerican…We are now looking forward to working closely with our new colleagues to bolster the company’s already exceptional growth strategy in the broader region, said Joao Talone, Eureko’s managing director. The actual transfer through the electronic system of the 14,752, 644 shares involved in the acceptance of the public offer will take place until Tuesday, September 25, 2001. The amounts due to selling shareholders will be also be paid until that date according to the method each one has indicated. Eureko acquired a 54-percent stake in Interamerican in May to add to an already owned 23.54 percent. Bank to expand. ABN Amro Bank is to expand its existing network in Athens and Thessaloniki from 16 to 52 branches throughout Greece, mainly with a view to developing business among small and medium-sized commercial and private clients, the group’s director general in Greece, Arnoud Star, announced yesterday. He said the bank is to invest considerable amounts in human resources, increasing staff from 150 to 450, and in facilities for conducting business over the Internet. The sectors of leasing and merchant marine are also targeted for an expansion of activities. Industrial index slides. The index of production in mining, manufacturing, electricity, natural gas and water was down 0.4 in June in comparison to the same month in 1999, but rose 0.25 percent in the first six months, according to data issued by the National Statistics Service (ESYE). Manufacturing production fell 0.6 percent in June, the fourth straight monthly fall, but the average for the first six months was 1.06 percent, up in comparison to the same period last year. The largest declines among particular branches in the first half of the year were in paper products (-4.96 percent), tobacco (-4.05 percent) and chemical products (-3.66). -In the Continent, Dea for 80,000 tons of cargo, loading September 25 for a UKC round trip voyage, has fixed at W/S 150 while Exxon for same cargo quantity, loading September 28 and for same trip, has fixed M/T Natura at W/S 157.5.