ECONOMY

In Brief

National Bank to participate in Turkish venture capital fund The National Bank of Greece (NBG) will be the largest contributor to a new venture capital fund in Turkey which will invest in non-listed companies, the bank said in a statement. The Turkish Private Equity Fund I will have an initial capital of $40 million, of which $15 million will be accounted for by NBG. The other participants include the European Investment Bank and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation. The agreement is seen as part of NBG’s strategy of expanding its activities in SE Europe. The fund, which will collaborate with the venture capital company Advent International, will be to finance the growth or acquisition of Turkish companies which are leaders in their sectors and are managed according to European standards. The most likely sectors of interest are retailing, foodstuff exporters and those in the process of deregulation, such as telecommunications. Measures for tourism industry expected next week The National Tourism Council is expected to announce during a session on Tuesday measures of support to tourism enterprises hit by the crisis triggered by the September 11 attacks in the US. Athens hoteliers have asked for a lowering of their social insurance contributions by 25 percent, exemption from VAT until the situation returns to normal, greater flexibility in terms of employment, wage subsidies, and an easing of restrictions to foreign cruise ships for anchoring in Greek resorts. Other operators have asked for favorable lending terms to manned yachting enterprises, a 50-percent reduction in marina docking charges and mergers among yachting firms. Internet card ACN, a subsidiary of IT group Altec, is introducing Netcarta, a card providing specific access time to the Internet at a much lower cost than that of a three-month subscription. The card, which will come in increments of 5, 10 and 20 hours’ access time, will provide connection through both PSTN and ISDN lines. Buyers automatically acquire a username and password. More information may be obtained at www.netcarta.gr Thessaloniki-Skopje The stock exchange of Skopje, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), has made an official proposal to Hellenic Exchanges holding company for a 10-percent participation in its share capital. The proposal was part of a broad framework for cooperation discussed in Thessaloniki yesterday between the city’s Stock Market Center (TSMC) director Vassilis Margaris and Skopje counterpart Evgeni Zografski. The talks also concerned possibilities for dual listing and FYROM firms listing on TSMC’s emerging markets exchange, as well as the provision of knowhow to Skopje. Hellenic Shipyards The privatization of Hellenic Shipyards, which appeared to have stalled since being announced on October 11, looks like coming to a successful end soon after the winning bidder, Germany’s HDW Ferrostaal, received assurances of continued orders from the Hellenic Navy, sources said yesterday. – Panamax quieter in the Atlantic with market dropping a little although the grain houses are still active. Cargill has fixed M/V «Thalassini Tyhi,» 73,205 dwt, built 1994, delivery UK Jan. 20, trip via US Gulf, redelivery Skaw/Passero at USD 7,800 daily.