ECONOMY

In Brief

Tourism policy on the table as positive data keep coming in The Inner Cabinet is meeting today to discuss the 10-year Greek tourism development plan drafted by the Tourism Ministry. According to the Institute of Tourism Research and Forecasts (ITEP), July has seen an 8.9 percent annual rise in foreign tourist arrivals in the country’s 11 major airports. In late May the World Travel and Tourism Council had predicted an 11.6 percent rise in Greek tourism this year. Separately, speaking at the first international golf tournament of overseas Greeks in Glyfada yesterday, Deputy Economy Minister Petros Doukas argued that Greece needs to build 10 new golf courses every year in order to be on a par in numbers with its rivals such as France, Spain and Turkey. Traders call for keeping Chinese garment quotas in place The National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) yesterday called for the full implementation of the June 10 agreement between China and the EU, which capped growth in 10 lines of Chinese textile exports at 8-12 percent a year. Chinese and European officials met last week to revise the pact and decide the fate of millions of pairs of trousers, sweaters and other textiles from China languishing in EU ports. Most of the new ceilings after the initial abolition of quotas on January 1 have already been reached. ESEE said in a statement that the revision is being sought by a small number of importers who resorted to excessive buying from China in order to overturn the quota deal, which would affect a large number of small European businesses and workers. Q-Telecom Information technology and telecoms group Info-Quest said yesterday it did not reach a deal with Apax Partners and Texas Pacific Group who had put in a 250-million-euro, non-binding bid for its fixed-line and mobile telecoms unit Q-Telecom in July. «The talks with foreign institutional investors. did not end in agreement,» Infoquest said in a stock market filing. The company said it will continue talks with other interested investors to sell off Q-Telecom. The sale is considered desirable as the unit’s further development in a high competitive market requires a great deal of financing. Info-Qeust’s stock crashed 12.73 percent lower yesterday. Tupras Turkish conglomerate Koc Holding said yesterday it would bid for state oil refiner Tupras in a consortium including global oil giant Shell. Koc said in a statement to the Istanbul Stock Exchange that Koc Holding, Aygaz, Opet Petrolculuk, Shell Overseas Investment and The Shell Company of Turkey Limited would work in partnership in buying into Tupras. The deadline for bids is September 2. The head of the OIB said last month that Turkey had received 13 pre-qualification bids for Tupras, whose 51 percent stake is slated for sale as part of the country’s IMF-backed privatization program. A previous sell-off attempt was thwarted last year by a court ruling. (Reuters) Hellenic Bank Hellenic Bank of Cyprus posted a 16 percent increase in first-half ordinary operating profit yesterday, but saw net profit fall on the back of higher provisioning costs. The Bank, Cyprus’s third-largest group, said operating profit rose to 15.5 million Cyprus pounds ($33.3 million) from 13.4 million in the first half of 2004. Net profit was down 62 percent, compressed by a 36 percent increase in bad debt provisioning. (Reuters)