ECONOMY

In Brief

PPC votes against possible Montenegro investment bid The Public Power Corporation (PPC) is staying away from the Montenegrin market after all. The Greek electricity utility has decided not to enter the tender for the privatization of a power-producing plant of 210 megawatts and of the mine feeding it. The PPC board put the Montenegro plan on ice when the completion of due diligence revealed risks in many domains, mostly related to the lack of any regulatory framework and the status of lignite mining. This would have been the first joint venture with US firm Contour Global in the two companies’ expansion into Southeast Europe. Vassilopoulos, head of supermarket chain, dies The founder of the listed supermarket chain Vassilopoulos, Gerasimos Vassilopoulos, passed away last weekend at the age of 89. He and his brothers introduced the first all-product food store in Athens, as opposed to greengrocers, in the early 1950s. Then, in 1970, he and his brother Haralambos created the first supermarket in Neo Psychico, and carefully expanded the chain beyond Attica in the 1990s, when it also entered the stock market. Later Belgian group Delhaize Le Lion bought a majority in the chain, with Vassilopoulos devoting himself from 1995 to the Food Bank against Famine, which he set up. Debt grows Greece’s public debt grew by over 4 billion euros during the year’s first quarter, reaching 219.8 billion euros, from 215.4 billion euros at end-2005 and 201.24 billion euros a year earlier. For all of 2006 the budget forecasts central government debt of 226.63 billion euros, or 117.2 percent of gross domestic product. Mytilineos in RES The Mytilineos group is entering the field of renewable energy sources (RES) in the southwestern Aegean islands, creating parks for renewable energy totaling about 800 megawatts. The combined development of the wind potential will be on the island of Milos via a power-producing unit of 100 MW, also tapping into the geothermal field, and on the islands of Kimolos, Poliegos and Serifos through wind parks. The islands will be jointly connected via underwater cable and to the grid in Lavrion, east of Athens. Company blacklist Interbank information system Tiresias will now be monitoring credit card fraud at small, medium-sized and large enterprises by creating a new data bank to include all companies whose contracts have been terminated by banks for unconventional or illegal behavior. Such examples are splitting a large transactions into smaller ones to receive bank approval, or the systematic acceptance of fake cards by specific companies. This «company blacklist» will try to contain the fraud – which costs consumers 2 million euros a year – in accordance with EU guidelines.