Winter sales offset effect of oil prices Consumer prices rose 3.2 percent on the year in January, compared with an annual rise of 3.6 percent in December, the National Statistics Service said yesterday. While higher oil prices continued to pressure the annual figure, the earlier start date of the winter sales helped offset the increase in oil prices, the NSS said. On the month, consumer prices fell 0.1 percent in January, compared with a 0.5 percent monthly rise in December. The data are in line with market expectations. Heating oil prices were 42.6 percent higher on the year and gasoline prices 14.6 percent higher. Housing related charges were 10.2 percent higher on the year, largely due to higher electricity costs and a rise in heating oil prices. Public transport costs were up 4.8 percent on the year owing to higher fuel prices. Excluding energy prices, January annual inflation was 1.9 percent. (AP) PPPs to be launched in school-building program Schools will be the first type of public facilities to be built and maintained by private firms under the new law on public/private partnerships (PPP). The School Buildings Organization (OSK) yesterday submitted a comprehensive plan to the Economy Ministry for the building of 27 new school complexes in the Attica area, at a budget of 105 million euros. An additional, 45-million-euro budget provides for maintenance and security. OSK’s chairman, Panayiotis Patargias, estimates that 480 new schools are required in Attica alone. Meeting this target, he added, would have taken 12-15 years under the traditional, state-operated school building program, whereas under the PPP system it will only take seven to eight years. The private firm that will undertake the construction of the schools will be paid off in annual installments for the duration of the contract, affording substantial relief to the state budget. Cosmote picks Nokia Telecom equipment-maker Nokia said yesterday it had won an order for a third-generation (3G) mobile radio network from telecoms operator Cosmote, but gave no value for the deal. Nokia said it would deliver radio access network infrastructure and a range of services including delivery, implementation and project management. (Reuters) CCHBC-Cardico Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (CCHBC) announced it is exploring forms of cooperation with listed dry nut wholesaler Cardassilaris & Sons (Cardico). The world’s second-largest Coke bottler said at the moment it cannot predict whether any form of partnership will emerge. Cardico has a current market value of 151 million euros and operations also outside Greece. Company databank Hellastat relaunched its corporate benchmarking financial analysis website (www.cbfa.gr) that offers a wealth of processed corporate data from 35,000 companies and 500 sectors of Greek economy in Microsoft Excel form. Data are updated daily. Subscription costs 1.36 euros per day.