ECONOMY

In Brief

Gov’t says Attiki Odos could be transferred earlier After a prosecutor’s investigation revealed the size of the costs for the construction of the Attiki Odos east-west highway north of Athens, and with traffic on a steady increase, the Public Works Ministry yesterday announced it is expecting «an earlier transfer of the project to the Greek state» than 2022, an option the contract provides for if the constructing consortium realizes a return of 11.3 percent on its capital. Ministry officials admitted it would be hard to monitor the consortium’s profits, but a special agency will systematically watch the traffic, revenues and operation of Attiki Odos. Arapoglou assumes post of HUB chairman National Bank of Greece President Takis Arapoglou yesterday was elected new chairman of the Hellenic Bank Association (HBA), following Alpha Bank’s Yiannis Costopoulos’s decision to step down after a 37-year presence in the agency. Also elected as deputy chairmen were Dimitrios Mantzounis (Alpha), Nikolaos Nanopoulos (EFG Eurobank) and Georgios Provopoulos (Emporiki). EET further decided to merge the Bank Ombudsman with the Capital Market Ombudsman and create a new agency named «Banking-Investment Services Ombudsman.» Greece in China Greece will be the honored country at the Beijing International Tourism Exhibition, set for June 22-24, Deputy Minister for Tourism Development Anastasios Liaskos and Beijing Tourism Minister Yu Changjiang announced in China, on the second day of the Greek delegation’s visit, as streets in Beijing and Shanghai are adorned by posters with the motto «Live your myth in Greece.» Separately, Astir Palace Vouliagmeni hotel recently received the silver ECTW Marketing award, organized by the China Tourism Committee, for the Greek hotel’s intense presence in the Chinese market. Lukoil in Bulgaria Top Russian oil firm Lukoil reopened its offer yesterday to buy out minority shareholders in its Bulgarian oil refinery Neftochim at a price of 27.83 levs a share. Lukoil already owns 93.16 percent of the refinery at Bulgaria’s Black Sea port of Bourgas, having bought 22.05 percent of the shares in a similar offer which closed in January. The tender is open for 28 days to shareholders of 6.75 percent of Neftochim. Its illiquid shares did not move with the tender announcement. Earlier, they rose 0.68 percent to 26.62 levs in only one trade. (Reuters) PPC real estate The Public Power Corporation (PPC) will seek to hire a consultancy firm specializing in property investment, to explore the potential for tapping the real estate of the corporation’s subsidiaries. PPC also announced it will participate in the privatization tender for Bulgaria’s electricity-producing stations in Varna and Bobov Dol, submitting binding offers for 100 percent of shares of both. Banking complaints Bank customers’ written complaints rose by 34 percent in 2004, according to the Banking Ombudsman, with most of them concerning card credit.