In Brief

Gov’t reiterates resolve to pass labor reform in utilities The government said yesterday it was undaunted by reactions to its efforts to introduce new labor regulations to public utilities. Labor Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos said after meeting the prime minister that this would include strict observance of the government’s income policy, particularly in the loss-making organizations. «The necessary structural changes and reforms may have a temporary cost… (but) why should someone be hired in the private sector and receive just more than 500 euros, and someone be hired in a public utility and have an income 30 percent higher?» he asked. «The concept of permanent employment status (in the public sector) is anachronistic and we must replace it with the pursuit of stable and full employment,» Panayiotopoulos said. Toyota to remain Turkey’s biggest exporter in 2005 ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp’s Turkish arm said yesterday it was on track to be Turkey’s biggest exporter again in 2005, mirroring last year’s success as sales in its main European markets boom. «With exports by year-end set to total about 140,000 vehicles worth more than $2 billion, Toyota Turkey aims to be Turkey’s leading exporter again in 2005,» the company said in a statement. The statement was released to mark the production yesterday of the company’s 500,000th vehicle since production began in Turkey in 1994. Toyota exported 119,000 vehicles in 2004 worth $1.86 billion, making it Turkey’s biggest exporter. The Japanese group, the world’s second-largest automaker, has already invested a total 730 million euros ($858.9 million) in Turkey. Exports began in 2002, mainly to Europe and especially to France, Germany and Italy. Toyota employs 3,100 people at its plant in northwest Turkey. Babis Vovos Babis Vovos construction firm yesterday announced it has signed a preliminary agreement to purchase 99 percent of the shares of Elfinko, a company which sells Opel cars and owns a 6,000-square-meter land plot at 340 Syngrou Avenue. Vovos plans to develop a commercial building of approximately 14,000 square meters of leasable area as well as 600 parking spaces on the site. The estimated total cost is about 40 million euros. Manufacturing keeps strength The Greek manufacturing sector expanded for a seventh straight month in November but at a slower pace, sustained by robust output and export growth, a monthly survey of around 300 companies showed yesterday. The seasonally adjusted Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dipped marginally to 52.4 in November from 52.8 in the previous month, data from NTC Research showed. The 50 mark separates contraction from growth. (Reuters) Best Bank award Alpha Bank received its «Best Bank in Greece in 2005» award this week from Euromoney, the financial conference organizer and publishing firm.