ECONOMY

In Brief

Investigation into Credit Agricole’s acquisition of stake in Emporiki Following a Kathimerini report last week, Athens prosecutors have launched an investigation into Credit Agricole’s acquisition from the government of an 11 percent stake in Emporiki Bank in two stages, starting in November 2000. The French bank acquired Emporiki’s shares at 43 euros (yesterday’s closing price was 24.32 euros), apparently with a secret clause that it could sell them back at the same price or the government would make up the difference should the shares be sold to a third party at a lower price. GNTO voted Europe’s best national tourism organization The Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) received the award for being the best national European tourism organization in 2005 at London’s World Travel Market show. The award was on the basis of voting by 156,000 travel agents. Aldemar Royal Mare Village & Thalasso was voted best hotel in Europe with thalassotherapy center; the Athens Inter-Continental as the best hotel in Greece; Astir Palace Vouliagmeni hotel as the top resort hotel; and Elounda Gulf Villas and Suites as the best hotel/villa complex. The number of foreign visitors in Greece was up 9 percent in the eight months to August this year and is projected to rise to a double-digit figure at the end of the year, according to a study presented at the World Travel Market. Separately, the first Hellenic Travel Show opened yesterday at Athens’s Syntagma metro station, featuring the attractions of six continental Greek regions until Sunday. Entrance is free. First homes A bill to be submitted to Parliament by month’s end raises the tax-free ceiling for first-time home-buyers or inheritors to 80,000 euros, according to the budget. By another provision, mothers bearing a third child receive a tax-free one-off sum of 2,000 euros, to be raised to 2,500 euros in 2007. HELEX Hellenic Exchanges, the holding company that owns the Athens stock and futures bourses, posted a 27 percent rise in nine-month net profit yesterday, boosted by higher stock market trading volumes. Net profit increased to 19.5 million euros. Third-quarter net profit rose more than sixfold to 6.4 million euros. (Reuters) Tsakos NYSE-listed Tsakos Energy Navigation (TEN) said yesterday it has ranked 82nd on Europe’s 500 listing of European fastest-growing businesses in 2005. TEN’s pro-forma fleet consists of 36 vessels of 4 million dwt. TEN operates a fleet of 25 vessels (including three chartered-in vessels) of approximately 2.9 million dwt with an average age of 6.1 years. Praktiker German do-it-yourself (DIY) chain Praktiker, a division of European retailer Metro AG, said yesterday it will open its 10th store in the western Romanian city of Craiova on Friday. (SeeNews)