ETBA privatization to be finalized this week The transfer of Hellenic Industrial Development Bank (ETBA) to Piraeus Bank, which won the privatization tender, is expected to be completed this week as a result of a decision by the ministers of Economy, Nikos Christodoulakis, and Development, Akis Tsochadzopoulos, sources said. Piraeus Bank emerged as the preferred bidder for 57.8 percent of ETBA last October, after offering 510 million euros, but the sale has been hampered by the delay in the privatization of Hellenic Shipyards, in which ETBA holds a 51-percent stake. The two ministers are reported to have decided that the shipyard will be transferred to another public organization, such as the Public Portfolio Management Company or the Defense Ministry, if its sale to Germany’s HDW-Ferrostaal does not go through within six months. ETBA said last week the sale is only subject to approval by the European Competition Commission. Suburban railway contract signed The construction consortium comprised of the companies Aktor, Hellenic Technodomiki and TEV yesterday signed an initial contract with ERGOSE, Hellenic Railways’ technical company, to build the Athens suburban railway from Acharnes junction in the west to the city’s airport at Spata. The 84.5-million-euro project is estimated for completion in 18 months and includes the stations at Iraklion, the Olympic Stadium, Kifissias Avenue, Pendelis Avenue, Stavros, Pallini, Kantza, and Koropi. There will be connections with the existent urban railway facilities. Bids for a second project, regarding infrastructure work on the four-line railway between Treis Gefyres junction and Acharnes, and from Acharnes to the airport, will be opened tomorrow. Aluminium profits edge up Aluminium of Greece said yesterday its 2001 pretax profit grew 0.8 percent year-on-year to 88.7 million euros from 88 million in 2000. «Aluminium of Greece had considerably good results, despite a stable worsening of the financial environment throughout the year,» the company, majority-owned by France’s Pechiney, said in a statement. It will propose a per share dividend of 2.46 euros, translating into a dividend yield of 7.1 percent based on yesterday’s closing price, at its general assembly in May.(Reuters) Sarantopoulos 2001 p/tax profit up 4.7 pct Construction company Sarantopoulos said yesterday 2001 pretax profit rose 4.7 percent year-on-year to 7.8 million euros from 7.4 million in 2000. Turnover increased 10 percent on an annual basis to 115.4 million euros, the company said in a statement, adding that after its scheduled merger with peer Pantechniki, its order book of uncompleted projects will stand at 587 million euros. (Reuters) Ericsson wins defense deal Swedish mobile phone equipment-maker Ericsson said yesterday it had won a deal worth 50 million euros to supply the Hellenic Ministry of National Defense with a weapon locating system. Ericsson said it would deliver the ARTHUR system in 2004. (Reuters) The AHA slammed the government for not doing its part to help the hotel industry deal with the current crisis and meet the demands of the Olympic Games. Government inertia can be seen in the lack of progress regarding infrastructure projects, advertising of the 2004 Athens Games and the construction of a conference center in Athens, among others.