In Brief

Foreign investors raise stakes in the Greek bourse Foreign institutional investors accounted for 40.32 percent of the total capitalization of the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) at the end of 2005, against 36.1 percent a year earlier, according to data released yesterday. Foreign capital inflows into Greek stocks totaled 5.22 billion euros during the year. Foreign placements were mostly in blue chips, representing 44.51 percent of the capitalization of the FTSE/ASE 20 index. Foreign institutionals also increased their placements in mid-caps, bringing their total share in the FTSE/ASE Mid 40 to 31.07 percent, from 20.6 percent at the end of October. Their share in the FTSE/ASE Small-Cap 80 index stocks remained low, at 15.35 percent. The ASE general index gained 31.5 percent in 2005, while the bourse’s total capitalization rose by about 36 percent. Hyatt Regency comes under the control of foreign funds Hellenic Casinos Company, the majority shareholder of Hyatt Regency Hotels and Tourism (Hellas) SA, announced it has agreed to sell 51.57 percent of shares of Hyatt Regency to funds advised by BC Partners, a leading international private equity firm, at a price of 11 euros per share. The transaction will take place as soon as the European Commission approves it, it said in a statement. Listed on the Athens stock market, Hyatt Regency owns and runs casinos in Athens, Thessaloniki and Tirana and controls luxury hotels in Greece’s two main cities, including the historic Grande Bretagne in Athens’s Syntagma Square. SMS games The National Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT) has asked cellular telephony networks to provide it with details about their games via text messaging (SMS) which burden participating subscribers, including children, with high costs: Each message sent to enter a draw for a car or cash prize costs as much as 10 times the price of a regular SMS to the benefit of networks and organizing companies. EETT said it «will examine whether it needs to intervene to protect users.» Phoenix on sale? Emporiki Bank effectively confirmed its intention to sell its insurance subsidiary, Phoenix-Metrolife, since in its answer to a press report about interest from a German group, it said, «It had always sought ways to use its assets in the best fashion but nothing can be announced as yet.» Any negotiations however will depend heavily on the bank’s relationship with main stakeholder Credit Agricole, as the price asked will be crucial. Iraklion-Manchester British Airways’ franchise partner, GB Airways, announced it will begin its Iraklion-to-Manchester service every Tuesday and Friday from May 2 to end-October. GB, which already links Iraklion with London, will charge a minimum of 180 euros plus tax for a return economy ticket including full service.

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