ECONOMY

In Brief

Council set up to aid small and medium-sized enterprises The Development Ministry has set up a National Council for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (ESME) as well as an Experts Committee supporting the council’s work. Minister Dimitris Sioufas signed the decision yesterday and will assume the chairmanship of the council. It will consist of 27 members representing all parties and agencies involved. The Experts Committee will consist of 11 members, which will be able to set up work groups for issuing reports, surveys and recommendations on specific subjects. The remit of the Experts Committee will be to survey small and medium-sized enterprises’ issues according to data from national and international sources; monitor developments internationally, in the European Union and in Greece’s regions; make proposals and present regular reports and action plans to the council so as to improve the competitiveness of SMEs; and scientifically support and promote the decisions and work of the ESME. It will be aided in its work by the Ministry’s General Secretariat for Industry. OTE will provide cheap broadband access to students Telecoms provider OTE will offer cheaper broadband Internet access charges to students, it said yesterday, as part of a bid to attract more users and offset weakness in its core fixed-line business. ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) access fees will cost 5 euros a month for technical college and university students at the start of the academic year in September, compared with 35.90 euros now, OTE said. The activation price will halve to 17.50 euros from 34.99. The new charges are for the 512 kilobits-per-second (download speed) service. Last week, OTE Chairman and CEO Panayis Vourloumis told shareholders at the annual assembly the operator would target cheaper broadband rates at special groups even if it proved costly over the short term. OTE has said it aims to double the number of ADSL users to more than 120,000 this year from about 67,000 at end-March. Broadband users make up less than 1 percent of the Greek population compared with a European average of about 8 percent. (Reuters) TIM CFO resigns Mobile operator TIM Hellas announced yesterday its Chief Financial Officer Ruggero Caterini resigned after private equity firms Apax Partners and Texas Pacific Group bought a controlling stake from Italy’s TIM. Last week, Troy GAC Telecommunications, owned by Apax and Texas Pacific Group, closed the deal in which it bought an 80.87 percent stake in TIM Hellas for about 1.1 billion euros ($1.33 billion). Caterini’s resignation took effect on June 15, TIM Hellas said in a statement. He will return to Telecom Italia. (Reuters) Vovos sells Haralambos Vovos, chairman of the board of directors of listed firm Babis Vovos International Construction SA (BVIC) and major shareholder, announced his intention to sell up to 4,330,500 shares in BVIC, representing approximately 12.8 percent of the total share capital. The sale will leave Vovos with a 51 percent share in BVIC. As stipulated by many of BVIC’s sale and leaseback contracts, Vovos is committed to retaining at least a 51 percent stake. The shares will be sold to a limited number of institutional investors by way of an accelerated bookbuild. Deutsche Bank AG London is the global coordinator and sole bookrunner.