ECONOMY

In Brief

OTE settles dispute with mobile operators OTE Telecom said yesterday it had settled an out-of-court dispute with the country’s three mobile operators over the rates the former state telecoms monopoly had charged them for using its network. As part of the settlement, OTE said it had also reached agreement with the three on interconnection charges for calls from fixed-line to mobile phones, effective retroactively from July 1, 2001 through to December 31, 2002. OTE said mobile operators Panafon Vodafone, CosmOTE and Stet Hellas had agreed to withdraw legal action over past claims and that it would pay the three a mutually agreed sum. It gave no further details. (Reuters) Silver & Baryte obtains syndicated loan Listed mining company Silver & Baryte yesterday signed a contract in London for a 90-million-euro syndicated loan for five years. The loan is managed by Alpha Bank, with EFG Eurobank acting as joint manager. Other participants include the Commercial Bank, General Bank, Hypovereinsbank and BNP Paribas. The loan will be used to refinance the company’s short-term liabilities and pave the way for further growth. Silver & Baryte last month announced the 100-percent acquisition of Hungary’s Bentonit Hungaria, which has bentonite deposits estimated at 3 million tonnes. NBG upgraded Lehman Brothers said yesterday it had upgraded the National Bank of Greece to «buy» from «market perform,» lowering its price target to 28.3 euros from 30.6, following failed merger plans with Alpha Bank. »We believe that the collapse of the merger process leaves Alpha Bank at somewhat of a strategic impasse, with a comparatively weak retail market position,» Lehman analyst Joanna Nader said. The bank repeated a «market performer» rating for Alpha Bank and raised the price target to 19.2 euros from 19. (Reuters) Tobacco fines The Competition Commission has imposed fines totaling 346,300 euros on five tobacco firms for concerted price rises on cigarettes sold in Hellenic Duty Free Shops (KAE) and a simultaneous abolition of discounts to the company for cigarettes sold in border post shopping facilities. The fines were imposed after KAE had filed a suit against them for raising their prices by 15 percent on October 15 and abolishing the 10-percent discount. Ioniki Trading company was fined 228,900 euros, Karelia, 61,600 euros, SEKAP, 48,400 euros, Keranis, 5,900 euros and Georgiadis, 1,500 euros.