ECONOMY

In Brief

Government will sell part of its stake in Athens Airport The government will float shares in Athens International Airport (AIA) this year and list it on the Athens Stock Exchange, Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said yesterday. «The government, in cooperation with its German partners, intends to proceed with a listing of Athens Airport this year,» Alogoskoufis told reporters at a luncheon held by the Foreign Press Association. The State owns 55 percent of AIA. German construction group Hochtief holds 39.8 percent, with Horizon Air Investments owning 5.0 percent and Flughafen Athen-Spata Projecktgesellschaft (FASP) 0.125 percent. The government is targeting proceeds of about 1.6 billion euros ($2.08 billion) from its privatization and state divestment agenda this year to help pay public debt. The government values AIA at about 1.8 billion euros, a high-level Finance Ministry official told Reuters. AIA said last week passenger traffic hit a record 13.7 million passengers in 2004. With visitors pouring in for last summer’s Olympic Games, AIA said passenger traffic rose 11.5 percent year-on-year, with the number of flights jumping 12.3 percent to a record 191,000. The airport, which started operating in March 2001, said cargo transport grew 8.4 percent to 119,000 tons. (Reuters) Minister to conduct talks on long-stalled pipeline Deputy Development Minister Giorgos Salagoudis heads the Greek delegation traveling to Moscow today for discussions with Russian and Bulgarian government representatives ahead of signing the political agreement for the construction of a pipeline from the Bulgarian port of Burgas to the Greek port of Alexandroupolis, to carry mainly Russian oil. The three-way discussions to be held tomorrow and Thursday are proof that the project is still on, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said yesterday, despite delays from Moscow and the recent agreement by Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania to build a rival pipeline from Burgas to the Albanian port of Vlore. Talks on the project, once considered a rival to the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, have been going on for almost a decade. Profit up Closed-end fund Arrow announced yesterday 2004 net profit rose 266 percent year-on-year to 7.66 million euros. The fund said it will increase last year’s dividend. Its board will propose to the annual shareholders meeting a dividend per share of 0.10 euros – a dividend yield of 3.9 percent based on Monday’s closing price. The shares gained 0.4 percent to end at 2.51 euros. (Reuters) Dividend raise Closed-end fund National Investments, a subsidiary of National Bank, announced yesterday its board decided to raise the 2004 dividend per share by 100 percent to 0.20 euros. The proposal will be made at the upcoming annual shareholders meeting, the fund said. The payout translates to a dividend yield of 8.3 percent based on the fund’s closing price yesterday. The shares gained 7.6 percent to settle at 2.40 euros. National Investments net profit jumped 345 percent to 41.5 million euros last year. (Reuters)