Visa use grows by a quarter, ahead of chip technology cards Visa Europe announced that total spending on Visa cards in Greece reached 8.3 billion euros in 2005, an annual rise of 25.4 percent, with consumer spending rising by 7.6 percent from 2004 to reach 4.1 billion euros. Visa card transactions increased by 14.2 percent to 71.9 million. Debit cards enjoyed a high rise of 26.6 percent in September last year from 2004, coming to 2.3 million cards and confirming positive forecasts. Leonidas Kassoumis, president of Visa Hellas, said yesterday that in the next two years the «smart» credit cards with the new chip technology will penetrate the Greek market much more than today’s 2 percent of all cards. The cost of the new card is tenfold but will be borne by the banks, not the consumers. Two rivals vying for Olympic Village shopping center The Workers’ Housing Organization (OEK) has shortlisted two consortia for the tender for the development and operation for 50 years of a shopping center in the Olympic Village at Thrakomakedones, in northeast Athens. Hellenic Technodomiki-Aktor and J&P-GEK/Terna-Vioter will bid in the second phase of the tender in February for the two OEK-owned plots of 92,000 and 11,000 sq.m for the construction of commercial spaces totalling 51,800 sq.m. The considerable delays in the procedure to date are attributed to the changes in OEK’s management. No payment, no power Albania’s Public Power Corporation has cut off electricity supply to 1,400 households and 160 companies for not paying accumulated debts. Most power cuts occurred in the Skodra area, to 591 households and 47 businesses, as the region’s debt comprises 28 percent of all power consumed there. In Tirana, 169 households and 53 companies are without electricity, as their combined debt to the power company comes to 200 million leks (1.62 million euros). Piraeus Bank-Trieris Piraeus Bank is creating an international investment company named Trieris Real Estate Fund, focusing on property investment in Southeastern Europe in view of the positive growth prospects in the region. The new company’s share capital will be at 50 million euros, coming from Piraeus Bank clients-investors. The funds for investment will be managed by a bank subsidiary abroad. New ELBO CEO The Hellenic Vehicles Industry (ELBO) appointed Dinos Benrubi as new CEO of the company and head of the Defense Industry Division. Benrubi had for years been a member of the Titan Cement managing committee, while the last two years he was director general at the Hellenic Aluminium Industry (ELBAL). Evangelos Mytilineos, president of Mytilineos group, remains vice president of the ELBO governing board.