Restrictions lifted for island gas stations’ opening hours The government is lifting all restrictions to gas stations’ opening hours on the islands of Crete, Kos, Rhodes, Corfu, Lesvos, Samos and Chios for the summer period with an amendment the Development Ministry tabled yesterday in Parliament. The aim of the measure is to increase competition, as fuel prices tend to soar on the islands during the summer season. The amendment also provides for the Public Power Corporation (PPC) to be able to obtain a license for a new power plant of 800 megawatts to replace an old one and liberalizes the use of hydroelectric power for the production of electrical energy regardless of the amount of power produced. Cypriot growth in first quarter is revised upward to 3.8 pct NICOSIA (AP) – Cyprus’s economy grew 3.8 percent on the year in the first quarter, from 3.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006, the island’s statistics service said yesterday. The first-quarter figure was revised up from the 3.7 percent flash estimate published May 15. The revised statistics show that the broad business category of financial services, real estate and other business activities – which when combined accounts for a quarter of the economy – grew 6.2 percent from a year earlier. The sector that includes retail and wholesale trade, hotels and restaurants, as well as transport – which accounts for another quarter of the economy – rose 3.9 percent on the year. For all of 2006, Cyprus’s economy grew at a 3.8 percent rate. Car sales speed up Car sales in Greece rose by 4 percent year-on-year in the January-May 2007 period, reaching 131,193 units from the 126,031 registered last year, creating optimism of significant growth for the entire year. May saw a particularly strong rise that came to 10.6 percent on an annual basis with 29,251 vehicles sold. Toyota enjoyed the highest market share (8.8 percent) last month, ahead of Volkswagen (8.5 percent) and Ford (8.4 percent). Alapis in Croatia Athens-listed pharmaceutical products company Alapis, formerly known as Veterin, announced the opening of a subsidiary in Croatia named Veterin Farmaceutika DOO. The aim of the new Zagreb-based company will be the production and distribution of veterinary pharmaceuticals and nutritional supplements, the distribution of pet food and pet accessories. TOUSA asset sale Construction firm Technical Olympic is set for a profit of $55.7 million from the sale of its Dallas interests by its US subsidiary, Technical Olympic USA (TOUSA), to Texas housing company Wall Homes. Piraeus denial Piraeus Bank announced yesterday it categorically denied it is in talks or negotiations with Hellenic Bank, of Cyprus, for a possible cooperation agreement, as the latter bank reportedly stated to a news agency. Piraeus Bank added it does not even intend to discuss such a prospect in the future.