Greek electricity cheapest among EU members The price of electricity in Greece is lowest among European Union member states, both in absolute figures and in terms of Purchasing Power Units (PPU), a study released yesterday by Eurostat in Brussels shows. According to January to July 2001 figures, the price of electricity, including taxes per 100 kWh, was 7.87 euros for annual consumption of up to 600 kWh, 6.29 euros for annual consumption of up to 3,500 kWh and 5.43 euros for annual consumption of more than 3,500 kWh. Among the 15 EU members, Denmark is the most expensive, with respective rates of 30.68, 21.06 and 18.21 euros, respectively. The next low-cost countries after Greece are Italy and Portugal. In terms of PPU per 100 kWh, the respective rates in Greece are 10.34, 8.27 and 7.14., while Denmark’s are 24.73, 16.98 and 14.67. Greece not favored by winter tourists Greece is not favored as a winter tourism destination. Winter arrivals represent only 9 percent of the annual total, against 25 percent in the main competitor countries, according to recent figures. The difficulty does not appear to be caused by price differentials as winter travelers are mostly in high income brackets and only 8 percent of travelers’ choices appear to depend on the cost of holidays. Of winter visitors, 56 percent are married, 40 percent are older than 40 years of age, while the respective figures for summer visitors are 40 percent and 23 percent. National-Alpha merger The merger of National and Alpha banks is to start from their insurance, mutual fund and stockbrokerage subsidiaries, it was announced yesterday. The new companies which will emerge are estimated to hold a 25-percent share of the insurance market, a 33-percent share in the mutual funds market and 14 percent of stockbrokerage activities. The hotels, Astir Vouliagmeni and Athens Hilton, controlled by National and Alpha respectively, will not be merged into one company. Changes in bourse indices Alpha Leasing has replaced Intrasoft on the FTSE/ASE-40 index of mid-caps in Athens bourse-listed companies, following the latter’s absorption by parent company Intracom and its withdrawal from trading as of yesterday. Alpha Leasing’s former place on the FTSE/ASE-80 index of small-caps is taken by Helectra, which specializes in electrical equipment. Sales prices The Development Ministry has accepted a proposal by traders that during the upcoming sales period notices and labels display the original prices in euros and drachmas and the percentage of discount, without showing the discounted price as in years past. Sales begin on January 14 and will last until the end of February. Chinese-Greek contacts Chinese Ambassador Zhen Jianguo yesterday met Deputy Development Minister Dimitris Georgakopoulos and Greek Tourism Organization (EOT) President Yiannis Patelis for a discussion on the potential for cooperation in tourism between the two countries, which are to increase contacts in the framework of the Olympic Games of 2004 and 2008 the countries will hold in succession. -On Panamax in Far East, Noble has fixed M/V «Afros» 75,040 dwt, built 1985, delivery India Jan. 10-15 redelivery China at USD 7,000 daily.