ECONOMY

In Brief

Simitis, Juncker agree on Frenchman at helm of ECB The prime ministers of Greece and Luxembourg said yesterday that the next president of the European Central Bank should be French, sticking to an EU pact reached in 1998. «The first president of the central bank had to be the head of the Dutch bank and the second had to be French. That was the decision and this decision must be applied,» Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters through a Greek interpreter. Standing next to him, Greek premier Costas Simitis added: «This is Greece’s view as well.» ECB Governor Wim Duisenberg has announced his retirement next year. Under a 1998 EU agreement, his replacement will be French, with Bank of France Governor Jean-Claude Trichet the leading candidate. Trichet, however, is currently under judicial investigation in France for mishandling the privatization of Credit Lyonnais. Bank of Greece governor Lucas Papademos is among the candidates for the ECB vice-presidency, in replacement of France’s Jean Noyer. RAE sets power transportation charges The Energy Regulatory Authority (RAE) said yesterday the charge for every kilowatt carried through the Electric Energy Transportation System in the new deregulated framework will be an average 0.44 of a euro cent. Of this charge, 30 percent will be paid by the producers and 70 percent by the consumer. Given the lack of independent producers to date, the charge is to be taken on by Public Power Corporation (PPC) temporarily until PPC straightens outs its particular cost structures, RAE said. The charge was determined via an analysis of the stability of the system and has been differentiated into three zones so as to provide incentives for the construction of plants in the Attica region where there is the most consumption. Teletypos improves results Television and entertainment company Teletypos, which owns the TV station Mega, yesterday reported improved 2001 pretax profits of 11.78 million euros, from a turnover of 124.72 million euros. The company said it will up its dividend to 17 cents per share. High profitability is projected to be maintained in 2002, particularly thanks to the scheduled «Bar» reality show, whose cost is budgeted at 3.82 million euros. Managing Director Ilias Tsigas indicated Teletypos does not intend to sell its take in the Multichoice digital TV platform, saying digital television may well become more competitive as compared to conventional TV in the future. Drachma countdown In view of the February 28 deadline, the Hellenic Union of Banks advises holders of drachma notes and coins to convert them into euros in commercial banks as soon as possible. After that date, conversion will only be possible at the Bank of Greece, while state tax offices will only convert coins. Harmonized inflation up Harmonized consumer price inflation, which is used for comparison among EU members, rose in Greece to 4.8 percent year-on-year in January from 3.5 in December.