ECONOMY

In Brief

Bottlers await detailed court decision on maximum prices next week The Council of State’s decision to ban the compulsory display of suggested retail prices on water and soft drink bottles and cans made in Greece – a practice considered to favor imported beverages – is leaving Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou with few options. He must decide to also impose this display on imported drinks – which would contravene EU rules – or abolish it altogether and risk profiteering. Only a loophole in the decision of the country’s highest administrative court could now spare the market from more regulations. Companies said they will wait until the decision is published on Tuesday and then decide what to do. The recent measure setting maximum prices for bottled water, coffee and other goods in places such as ferries and airports remains valid. Kathimerini multiplies net profit in 2004 Kathimerini yesterday reported an almost tripling of its net profits in 2004 to 6.98 million euros from 2.41 million in 2003, on growth of revenue from circulation, advertising and printing contracts. Sales were up 20.5 percent to 62.2 million euros. Group net income after tax and minorities was down to 7.0 million euros from 9.4 million in 2003, on turnover growth of 11.1 percent to 95.4 million. Shareholders approved a dividend payout of 55 cents per share, starting on June 10. Agricultural Bank results Agricultural Bank of Greece more than tripled first-quarter group net profit thanks to growth in net interest income, it said in a statement late Thursday. Net profit rose to 38.9 million euros from 12.3 million euros in the year-ago period while net interest income increased 32.6 percent to 163.8 million euros. Agricultural Bank reported financial results under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). (Reuters) Media Markt German retailing chain Media Markt will open a second outlet in Athens in time for the Christmas shopping season of 2005. The two-story store will be in Maroussi on a 12-year lease, covering 54 percent of the three-floor, 8,800-square meter building developed by Babis Vovos, to be completed by October. The first Media Markt outlet will open in Alimos. Shipbuilding event The Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE) and the Greek Certified Shipbuilding Engineers’ Association are organizing an event to discuss the current situation and the prospects of the shipbuilding industry in Greece, on Monday at 5.30 p.m. at Piraeus Nautical Club. Opening the proceedings will be Deputy National Defense Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos. Leroy Merlin Do-It-Yourself firm Leroy Merlin of France appears to be winning the tender for the fourth and final user of the shopping park of Athens airport, next to Ikea, Kotsovolos and Elmec Sport. The French company is entering the Greek market operating more than 280 outlets in France, Spain, Poland, Italy, Brazil, Portugal, Russia and China and employing over 30,000 people. Its total turnover reached 5.58 billion euros in 2004. Delta Dairy Delta Holdings now has 100 percent control of Delta Dairy, after buying out the 30 percent stake owned by France’s Compagnie Gervais Danone.