ECONOMY

In Brief

Business expectations deteriorate sharply in May Greece’s Economic Climate Index (ECI) fell heavily in May, mainly reflecting a steep decline in business expectations in industry, the business-sponsored Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said in its monthly review yesterday. The seasonally adjusted index fell from 91.4 points in April to 86.5 (base 100 for 1990-2003), the lowest level in over two years. Expectations in industry slid to 94.3 points in May from 97.7 in April (base 100 for 1990). The outlook also deteriorated in retail commerce, from 108.1 in April to 106.1 in May, mainly affected by downbeat sales projections. In services there was no appreciable change and construction was the only sector with a definitely sharp improvement, from 70.6 in April to 93.7 in May, as negative forecasts for employment, particularly in public works, were markedly cut. Finally, the consumer confidence subindex registered a small improvement. Hellenic Seaways to add more new ships to Cycladic routes Hellenic Seaways (HSW) announced it will add a fifth high-speed vessel to its fleet next month, linking Piraeus with Syros, Tinos, Myconos, Paros and Naxos. The coastal shipping company will also add the Nissos Myconos ferry to its services from Rafina to Andros, Tinos and Myconos, with two trips per day as of this summer. «Our fleet is today coming to 34 vessels, of which 16 are conventional and 18 are high-speed ships. We have 14 vessels aged under 10 years and the average age of our ships in 2005 went down to 16.8 years from 21.6 years in 2004,» the HSW annual general meeting was told last Friday. Credit Securitization EFG Eurobank said yesterday it is planning a 750-million-euro securitization issue backed by credit card assets. Advisers to the securitization are Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch and EFG Telesis Finance. The bank is planning a road show abroad on June 30. Proceeds will be used to fund the bank’s lending program. The issue is expected to be placed between July 11 and July 15. Eurobank said its issue is the first securitization of credit card debt by a Greek bank. (Reuters) Hyatt Regency Hotel and casino operator Hyatt Regency yesterday reported a 135 percent rise in first-quarter group net profit boosted by a one-off gain from the sale of a stake in hotel company Lampsa. Hyatt said net profit came in at 28.6 million euros, with 17 million euros coming from the sale of a 20.1 percent stake in Lampsa Hotels, owner of the landmark Hotel Grande Bretagne in central Athens, earlier this year. Group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were flat at 26.4 million euros. Group gross sales, on which the government levies a gaming tax of around 32 percent, rose 2.2 percent to 74.7 million euros. The Mont Parnes casino, where Hyatt holds a 34.3 percent stake, posted a 21.4 percent rise in first-quarter sales to 33.6 million euros. Of this amount, 16.9 million euros came from table games and 16.2 million from slot machines. Visits to the casino were up 22.8 percent to 182,260 guests. (Reuters)