In a letter to the Athens bourse yesterday, listed packaging group Maillis yesterday denied rumors it is targeting the acquisition of an interest in the Flexopack firm, also listed on the Athens exchange. It also announced completion of the acquisition of one-third of the shares of North Carolina-based firm OMS. The group reported consolidated sales of 64.3 billion drachmas in the first three quarters of 2001, representing an increase of 12 percent from the same period last year. Consolidated pretax profits fell to 6 billion drachmas from 6.7 billion. Management estimates that despite the continuing unfavorable conditions in the international economy, performance in the final quarter of 2001 was particularly strong as a result of a restructuring and streamlining program and corrective moves in the commercial sector. It also projects a return to high growth rates in the first quarter of 2002. The group recently acquired Samuel Strapping Systems, the UK arm of Canadian firm Samuel Manu-Tech Inc. and one of its strongest competitors in Europe, for 10 million pounds sterling. «With the addition of Samuel Strapping Systems to its existing companies in Great Britain (Payne Strapping Systems and United Packaging), the group has strengthened its position and expanded its market share, and is developing into a growing player in one of the biggest European markets. It has also created significant margins for cost-cutting and boosting sales from tapping complementary distribution networks,» said managing director M.I. Maillis. This information deficit is augmented by the tendency of a number of local press reports to treat favorably company announcements or news which merit criticism and scrutiny and ignore and pay less attention to more important corporate news which may not impress or sell as much.