ECONOMY

In Brief

Pilot hydrogen production unit is launched today Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas today will inaugurate Europe’s first wind power-driven hydrogen production plant in Keratea, southern Attica. The unit, located in the Center for Renewable Energy Sources’ (CRES) wind park, will be powered by a 500KW wind generator and have a production capacity of 5 cubic meters of hydrogen per hour. The product will be bottled and used in future in fuel cells or hydrogen-fueled vehicles. The plant was created in the framework of an EU-sponsored research project and with the participation, apart from CRES, of private listed firm Rokas. TUI is the largest hospitality group in Greece Just 16.8 percent of Greece’s hotel rooms belongs to «brand» chains, much less than in the rest of the EU, according to «The 2005 Greek Hotel Branding Report.» Only 3.4 percent of Greek hotels belong to 71 «brands,» the 10 largest of which are: Grecotel (TUI), Mitsis, Louis, Iberostar (Thomas Cook), Aldemar, Esperia, Club Mediterranée (Accor) Kipriotis, Helios and Best Western. TUI, which manages another four chains, is the country’s biggest hospitality group, with a total capacity of 9,960 rooms in 43 hotels. Three Grecotel hotels, Rithymna Beach, Kos Imperial Thalasso and Pella Beach in Halkidiki, were among the top 10 chosen by British holidaymakers, according to the results of the Golden Awards Thomson 2005 competition announced within the context of the World Travel market in London. AB Vassilopoulos Belgian supermarket chain Delhaize Group said yesterday it had paid 11.4 million euros to increase its stake in Greek subsidiary Alpha-Beta Vassilopoulos SA to almost 60 percent. Delhaize spokesman Hans Michiels said the chain raised the stake to 59.7 percent from 51.9 percent in an operation conducted earlier this week. Alpha-Beta is Greece’s second-biggest food retailer in terms of market share, with 935 million euros in sales in 2004. Private equity Angelos Plakopittas, founder of private equity firm Global Finance, has bought a further 30 percent share in the company from EFG Eurobank, raising his total to 80.1 percent. Global Finance is setting up the 300-million-euro Southeast Europe Fund, which plans to acquire majority holdings in Greece, Bulgaria and Romania. EFG Eurobank will be the new fund’s anchor investor. Under supervision The Athens bourse yesterday put IT equipment firm Informatics under supervision, following the company’s statement of cash flow problems, seeking of bank loans and sale of property assets to ensure its continued operation. Money laundering The Athens Stock Brokerage Association (SMEHA) yesterday protested at the non-inclusion of its representatives in the new independent authority that is to be set up to fight money laundering.