ECONOMY

In Brief

Gov’t unconcerned over EU query about OTE retirement plan Greece is not yet concerned about a European Union query over the state’s proposed funding for Greek telecoms operator OTE’s voluntary redundancy plan, Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said yesterday. «The EU has asked to be informed about the OTE issue. There was official contact yesterday. From what we see, there is no cause for concern so far,» Alogoskoufis told reporters. The government has said it will finance a fifth of OTE’s 1.5-billion-euro early retirement scheme for around 6,000 employees by transferring funds to OTE’s main pension fund TAP-OTE. OTE will bear the remaining cost. (Reuters) Postal Savings Bank planned for 20-30 pct flotation in about a year The Postal Savings Bank (TT), set for a listing on the Athens Stock Exchange in about a year, yesterday posted 2004 pretax profit of 180 million euros. The result is not directly comparable with the previous fiscal year’s 593-million-euro pretax profit, which spanned 24 months of operations. TT’s balance sheet showed loan-loss provisions of 38.3 million euros and net interest income of 271 million. TT’s planned listing is part of the government’s 1.6-billion-euro divestment agenda to raise money to pay down public debt, one of the highest in the eurozone. In March Panos Tsoupidis, TT’s chief executive, said the flotation will involve the sale of a 20 to 30 percent stake held by the state, without issuing new shares. He said that based on current market conditions, Postal Savings’ market capitalization is estimated at about 1.5 billion euros, meaning the planned flotation could fetch the government 300 to 400 million euros. (Reuters) Shipbrokers’ conference The Second Global Shipbrokers’ Forum is taking place on June 16-18 at the Divani Apollon Palace hotel in the southern Athens suburb of Kavouri. More than 3,000 domestic and foreign shipping and shipbroking representatives will be participating, the Hellenic Shipbrokers’ Association announced yesterday. The group also organizes specialized seminars, awarding the Shipbroking Gnosis Certificate after written and oral exams. Quality award Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas yesterday received the award for the politician with the most active record in quality issues in 2004 (ECO Q 2004). He stated that «it is our decision to apply, support and promote quality principles in production in our country, so that our economy’s competitiveness in the EU and internationally is bolstered to the highest degree possible.» Turbo-X-pansion Notebook computers Turbo-X, assembled by listed Plaisio Computers, have captured the fifth spot in the Greek market, taking a 6.5 percent share in the first quarter of the year from 2.8 percent last year, a Gartner Group survey showed. Hewlett-Packard remains the market leader, with 28.8 percent, followed by Acer, Fujitsu-Siemens and Toshiba. Plaisio is the only Greek assembler in the top 10 of a market expanding faster than the desktop one. In Q1, 46,530 notebooks were sold in Greece. Egnatia on its way The Egnatia highway across northern Greece will be ready and open to traffic by 2008, Egnatia SA’s chairman Apostolos Goulas said yesterday. He said only a small section in Kavala prefecture will be delayed. The section from Asprovalta, Thessaloniki, to the Nestos River will be ready by mid-2007, Goulas said.