One in 10 of ASE listed firms now under suspension

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) yesterday suspended from trade the stocks of another four firms which had failed to publish their first-quarter results under the newly required International Financial Reporting Standards within the specified deadline. The four are electrical goods retailer Radio Korassidis, its subsidiary Elephant, construction company Themeliodomi and Corinth Spinning Mills (Cor-fil). On Friday, July 8, Radio Korassidis and Elephant asked the Capital Market Commission for an extension of the deadline to July 20. On Thursday an Athens court is due to hear an application by three creditor banks (Piraeus, Eurobank and National) for placing Radio Korassidis under the provisions of bankruptcy law 1892/1990. The financially strapped group, whose debts are estimated at more than 100 million euros has recently come under increased pressure from suppliers. In a letter dated June 21, Britain’s Kenwood group said it would suspend the agreement for distribution of its goods by Korassidis, effective September 21, unless other developments made this necessary earlier. France’s Brandt Appliances notified the company in early June that it had assigned export insurance company Coface RBI the task of collecting overdue debts. The other two firms suspended from trading, Themeliodomi and Cor-fil were placed as under supervision on February 28 and March 3, 2005, respectively. The addition of the four to the suspension list has brought the total number to 36, which is just under one-tenth of all ASE-listed firms, and double the number from four months earlier. Other recent additions to the list have been gym operator Dynamic Life, software firm Ipirotiki and IT firm Emphasis, where subsequent probes have revealed serious financial irregularities. Analysts say that a large number of firms have been under suspicion for dubious practices for a long time, notably, the basic shareholder placing financial directors above all other departments, investors’ funds being channeled to bogus subsidiaries abroad, company statements replete with inaccuracies as well as fictitious balance sheets.

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