ECONOMY

In Brief

Aegean Airlines opts for more Airbus wings Aegean Airlines, Greece’s largest private airline, yesterday signed a contract for the purchase of eight Airbus A320 planes, with an option for 12 more. The $500 million buy will be 80 percent financed through bank borrowing, officials said. Delivery of the planes will start in 2008 and be completed in 2009. Aegean said it carried 11.6 percent more passengers in the 11 months to November, year on year, with the number topping 3,732,000. Despite higher oil prices, the firm said it expects to be in the black for the third straight year, with earnings of about 16 million euros. Company President Theodoros Vassilakis did not rule out it may be listed on the Athens bourse in the future. Tax fraudsters booked old suppliers for non-existent expenses A large number of firms used tax registration numbers of old suppliers with whom they had transactions years ago to falsely declare expenses for non-existent transactions in 2004, cross-checks by the Finance Ministry have revealed. For this reason, the ministry’s information systems department has sent notes to 340,000 firms and self-employed professionals who appear to have received various amounts as a result of such false declarations, inviting them to visit their public tax office in order to clear up their records. Coke Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co (CCHBC) the world’s second-largest bottler of Coca-Cola products by sales, said yesterday it is considering acquiring Cyprus bottler Lanitis. CCHBC said in a statement it was considering making a public offer for up to 100 percent of Lanitis. «It is part of CCHBC’s geographical expansion. Lanitis is a small company so the effect on CCHBC’s bottom line will be minimal,» said an analyst who asked not to be named. Lanitis has the Coca-Cola bottling franchise in Cyprus. (Reuters) Proton Bank IPO The initial public offering of Proton Investment Bank SA, which will be listed on the Athens bourse’s mid-cap market, will start on Thursday and end on Monday, December 19. The bank will float 3.5 million existing shares, of which two 30 percent tranches will be offered to institutional and private investors, respectively, and the remaining 40 percent distributed between the two categories in proportion to demand for each. The price range has been set at between 4.36 and 5 euros. Inflation Greek inflation fell to 3.5 percent last month from 3.8 percent in October, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday. The gap between Greek inflation and the eurozone average narrowed to a four-year low of 1.1 percent, the Greek figure being the higher. Cyprus growth A resurgence in the construction and service sectors saw Cyprus’s economy grow by 3.8 percent year on year in the third quarter from a seasonally adjusted 3.6 percent in the second. (Reuters)