In Brief

New initiatives for bolstering the textile industry thrashed out Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas yesterday chaired the inaugural session of the Permanent Committee for the Textile Industry, which approved the funding of enterprises through the «Competitiveness» program of the EU-subsidized Third Community Support Framework, the new investment incentives law and national initiatives to begin by May. The committee also recommended aggressive policy measures, such as participation in international exhibitions, environmental certificate and quality stamp requirements for products, as well as modernization of companies. Overseas expansion bolsters Intralot’s 2004 pretax profit Gaming operator Intralot yesterday posted a 6.4 percent rise in 2004 pretax profit, thanks to revenue growth in overseas operations. Profit reached 94.4 million euros. Sales increased by 1.7 percent to 325.9 million euros, compared with an average expectation of 317 million in the poll. Foreign subsidiaries made up 62.7 percent of group sales against a company target of 60 percent. Intralot has subsidiaries in 25 countries. «Sales were above market expectations, which show Intralot’s overseas operations are performing well,» said an analyst who declined to be named. The results, under Greek GAAP standards, are not entirely comparable with 2003 figures, as they include units in Poland, the United States, Peru and Cyprus which were incorporated at the start of 2004, while Malta was added in the third quarter. (Reuters) Inflation Greece’s EU-harmonized consumer inflation jumped to 4.2 percent year-on-year in January from 3.1 percent in December, National Statistics Service (NSS) data showed yesterday. Early this month, the NSS said headline consumer inflation picked up to 4.0 percent in January, a 22-month high, without the benefit of winter sales to shave prices. Car insurance solvency The Development Ministry will announce on March 1 which car insurance companies are to be granted solvency certificates. The announcement will be delayed by a week due to the many companies with deficits requiring second inspections to ensure they have come up with the capital needed to meet solvency criterion. Monitoring will continue after certificates are awarded, to confirm payment of the amounts required. Mutual funds Holders of domestic equity and balanced mutual funds will continue enjoying tax breaks (up to 3,000 euros from taxable income) if they retain them for at least three years in the 2005-2009 period, according to the recently enacted tax law. SME support body The Development Ministry yesterday set up the National Council of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (ESME). Minister Dimitris Sioufas said ESME will offer enterprises valuable support in strategic planning, advice and proposals.

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