ECONOMY

In Brief

OTE upbeat it will meet its broadband users target OTE telecom is on track to meet its target of 500,000 broadband users this year, its chief executive said yesterday, a key part of its strategy to offset erosion in its voice traffic. «Broadband is not just the future of the company but is also that of Greece,» CEO Panagis Vourloumis told reporters. OTE, which had slightly more than 260,000 users on Monday, estimates that the Greek broadband penetration rate, at 2.5 percent, is the lowest in Europe, held back by high prices and consumers’ lack of knowledge of the technology. The country’s dominant telecoms provider has said it plans to invest 946 million euros over the next three years to boost its network and broadband services. OTE will launch a mobile unit next month that will visit major cities in the next two years to educate Greeks on broadband technology in a bid to increase takeup of the service. (Reuters) Competition Commission imposes heavy fine on Coca-Cola HBC The competition watchdog imposed an 8.7-million-euro fine on Coca-Cola HBC (CCHBC) yesterday for failing to comply with competition rules, but the bottler said it would likely appeal. The regulator said it had fined CCHBC, the world’s second-largest bottler of Coca-Cola products, for failing to respect a 2002 ruling regarding a ban on the exclusive use of its coolers at points of sale. The watchdog said the bottler failed to stop practices that favored wholesalers and retailers who exclusively sold CCHBC products. The bottler said it has always complied with the Greek law and would consider appealing the decision. (Reuters) Rio-Antirio bridge National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) emeritus professor Theodosis Tassios has raised serious doubts about the Public Works Ministry’s expert committee’s report about what caused the fire on the Rio-Antirio bridge last year, defending its construction. At the same time, some committee members have refused to sign the report. Seaplane routes AirSea Lines, Greece’s first seaplane operator, said yesterday it would invest 100 million euros in the purchase of about 30 seaplanes to expand operations across the country’s island archipelago and launch services between Greece and Italy. Earlier this year, the start-up company began its first flights in the west of the country and has carried some 50,000 passengers so far. It says Greece may have the potential for a 300-million-euro market. Its future fleet will fly routes between Corfu and the southern Italian port of Brindisi. (Reuters) Bouncing up Bounced checks and unpaid bills of exchange recorded a significant rise in May, according to Teiresias SA. Compared with April, bounced checks rose by 40.73 percent, reaching 10,507, to a total worth of 109.3 million euros. In the January-May period they rose by 11.22 percent annually, reaching a total value of 522.3 million euros. Unpaid bills of exchange numbered 12,812 in May, rising by 58.23 percent from April.