ECONOMY

In Brief

Thessaloniki metro project goes to AEGEK-led consortium Attiko Metro, the Athens subway company, has picked a consortium of Greece’s AEGEK and Italian companies Impregilo-Ansaldo-Seli and Ansaldobreda for the construction of Thessaloniki’s planned metro line. The project, which is to take an estimated 6.5 years to complete, will involve construction of a double tunnel 9.6 kilometers long. AEGEK says the budget is 798 million euros, excluding taxes and unforeseen expenses. The cash-strapped company is anxiously awaiting signature of the contract as this will allow it to renegotiate its bank loans on better terms. Coca-Cola HBC says employees agree to restructuring Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling SA said yesterday that nearly all employees affected by the company’s planned restructuring of its Greek operations have either accepted voluntary redundancy or alternative positions within the company. Coca-Cola HBC said 147 of the 150 employees affected by the restructuring had reached agreement with the company. The company said on January 19 it would restructure the Greek operations, as part of a strategy to improve the company’s efficiency. (AP) ING-Piraeus ING Groep NV and Piraeus Bank have started to dissolve their cross-shareholdings but will continue their alliance, the Dutch financial services group said yesterday. ING said in a statement it had engaged Citigroup Global Markets Limited to place its entire stake in Piraeus Bank, about 8.36 million shares, with institutional investors via an accelerated bookbuilding process. Piraeus Bank has engaged ING Corporate Finance to sell on Euronext Amsterdam all 3.35 million certificates of ING Groep NV shares currently held by Piraeus Bank through a series of moderated sales, ING said. (Reuters) LSE chair Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis is tomorrow to inaugurate an academic research chair at the London School of Economic (LSE)’s Hellenic Observatory in the field of Greece’s economic relations with the broader region of Southeast Europe. «LSE’s ties with Greece have a long tradition. The creation of this academic chair will strengthen them further. We are particularly grateful to Mr Alogoskoufis and the Greek government for implementing this initiative,» said LSE Director Howard Davies. Alogoskoufis, who did his doctoral thesis at LSE, will also speak at an event titled «Greece, Your Strategic Partner in Southeastern Europe,» organized at a central London hotel by the British Hellenic Chamber of Commerce. PMI Greek manufacturing recovered in February, with operating conditions improving modestly as the sector returned to growth, a monthly survey of around 300 companies showed yesterday. February’s seasonally adjusted Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 51.0 from 49.6 in January, data from NTC Research showed. The 50 mark separates contraction from growth. (Reuters)