Brussels takes Greece to court over PPC’s Lavrion plant tender The European Commission will refer Greece to the European Court over alleged irregularities by the Public Power Corporation in the award procedure for the construction of a new thermoelectric plant at Lavrion. The Commission believes neither of the two short-listed companies met the conditions of the tender. The project was eventually awarded to METKA. A Greek court recently acquitted the then board of PPC from charges of breach of faith, but reports suggest the board will soon face a new trial, accused of fraud in the Lavrion case. Separately, the Commission will send Greece three reasoned opinions, one step before referral to the court: regarding the award by the Agriculture Ministry of 24 studies on the protection and management of public forests; the non-application of an EU directive that exempts from withholding tax dividends paid by a subsidiary located in one member state to its parent company located in another; and the imposition of mandatory membership in the Greek National Association of Insurers for all motor insurance companies in Greece. No post-Olympic blues for new construction Construction activity recorded an increase in the first four months of 2005 on an annual basis, according to data by the National Statistics Service (NSS). The licenses issued increased by 3.2 percent, while the volume and surface covered rose by 5 percent, compared with January-April 2004. The number of licenses came to 25,736, corresponding to 6,461.7 square meters of surface and 23,545.3 cubic meters in volume. The rise is expected to be even more impressive during this year, as it is attributed to the imposition of value-added tax (VAT) from next year on new buildings. Fewer seafarers Greek seamen numbered only 17,897 in 2004, down from 18,747 in 2002 and 25,842 in 1994, according to a National Statistics Service census on September 20, 2004. The total number of seamen working on Greek and Greek-owned ships fell to 30,920, from 39,112 in 1994. Greek seamen on Greek-owned vessels correspond to 57.9 percent of all crews. Rokas deals Listed metallic products firm Rokas agreed jointly with Finnish company Konecranes to produce 10 rubber-tired gantry cranes (RTGs) storing and handling containers for the port of Malta, worth 1.2 million euros, with an option for another six cranes worth 800,000 euros. Rokas was also awarded by Halyvourgiki SA the study, production and installation of two bridge cranes, worth 600,000 euros. Nafpaktos stock Nafpaktos Textiles announced the increase of its share capital by 805,707.14 euros through capitalizing reserves. This raises the nominal value of the company’s stock on the Athens Stock Exchange from 0.69 euros to 0.76 euros as of 20 July, with the share capital reaching 8,747,677.52 euros. New NBG product The National Bank of Greece announced the issue of a new product in its «Capital Plus» series, named «Dual Range.» It is a special guaranteed-capital deposit in euros, of three months’ duration, offering higher yields than other deposit products as it is linked to the exchange rate with the US dollar and the British pound. It will be available from July 18-22.