ECONOMY

In Brief

Postal Savings Bank shares record impressive demand The public offering of Postal Savings Bank (TT) shares, completed yesterday, saw demand in Greece and abroad cover the stock issue by about six times, according to preliminary figures. The price of the stock will be announced today, expected at around 12.50 euros. The price range had been set between 11.30 euros and 13.50 euros. The investing public can purchase 30 percent of TT shares (some 42.26 million shares), while 1.24 percent will be go to TT employees and 3.6 percent will be used as a balancing tool. Q1 figures paint bleak picture for two banks outside the big five Geniki Bank reported a 20.2-million-euro loss in the first quarter, on higher loan-loss provisions against bad loans. The bank, majority-owned by France’s Societe Generale, reported a profit of 1.8 million euros in the same period last year. The company said operating income had fallen slightly, down 3.8 percent to 40.8 million euros. Consumer and home loans were up 22.5 and 28 percent respectively. Separately, Egnatia Bank posted a 52 percent drop in first-quarter net profits after it near-tripled provisions for non-performing loans. Net profits fell to 2.6 million euros from 5.4 million in the year earlier period, the bank said in a statement. It raised its loan-loss provisions to 10 million euros from 3.7 million last year. (Reuters) FDI boost Direct investment showed a net influx of 423 million euros in the year’s first quarter, against an influx of just 45 million euros in the same period last year, the Bank of Greece announced. This is attributed to the net influx of 566 million euros of foreign direct investment in January-March 2006. In March alone, Greek investments abroad showed a net outpour of 79 million euros, but FDI in Greece rose to 138 million euros. Trade balance Greece’s trade balance deficit grew by 2.4 percent in the first quarter of the year, the National Statistics Service said yesterday. It rose to 7,772.2 million euros, from 7,590.1 million euros in the first quarter of 2005. Yet with oil products excluded, the deficit narrowed by 7.5 percent year-on-year. Imports in Q1 totaled 11,613 million euros, posting a 1 percent annual rise, while exports in the same period amounted to 3,840.8 million euros, up by 22.8 percent from the previous year. Tourism increase Incoming tourism at Athens International Airport increased by 3.4 percent annually in the January-April period, despite the 5.6 percent decline in the overall number of arrivals. The biggest rise came from tourists from the USA, followed by Canada, Australia, Spain, Cyprus and Sweden. Corfu hotel facelift Corfu Holiday Palace and Corfu Golf Club are in for a radical renovation by owners Tsaousoglou hotel group that will cost 8 million euros. The group is also planning its expansion in holiday housing.