In Brief

China and Greece to start direct commercial flights Greece and China are to be linked by direct commercial flights starting next week, Air China has announced. China’s state-run carrier will begin operating twice-weekly services between Athens and Beijing on November 28 with a flight out of the Chinese capital. It marks the first direct air service between the Olympic Games host cities for 2004 and 2008 respectively. Boeing 762 aircraft will be used, with a seating capacity of 213. Total flying time will be 13 hours and 50 minutes, Air China representatives said yesterday. The flights will stop over in Dubai. Departures from Athens will be on Monday and Thursday mornings, arriving in Beijing early the following day. Return flights from Beijing will depart Wednesday and Sunday evenings, with arrival early the next morning. (AP) Cosmote Germanos unit buys Romanian chain to expand Germanos, the wholly owned retail arm of Cosmote Mobile Telecommunications, bought a Romanian retail chain to expand in the country of 22 million residents. Germanos acquired the TEL SIM GSM chain for an undisclosed amount, according to an e-mailed statement from the Athens-based company today. The acquisition will add 19 stores in 18 Romanian cities to the existing network. Cosmote, Greece’s largest mobile phone company by clients, plans to have 200 stores in the country by the end of the year. (Bloomberg) ATEbank ATEbank said yesterday nine-month group net profit rose 93.9 percent to 219.1 million euros ($323.9 million) thanks to strong lending and one-off gains from the sale of shares. The company also said it will propose an interim dividend of 0.05 euros a share. ATEbank, Greece’s sixth-largest, said net profit on a recurrent basis, excluding capital gains of 80.6 million euros from the sale of shares, rose 23.4 percent year-on-year. The bank said its return on average equity was 21.3 percent – 14.2 percent based on recurring earnings. (Reuters) OPAP Gaming monopoly OPAP said yesterday third-quarter net profit fell 12 percent, lagging analysts forecasts, hurt by a one-off cost and high distribution expenses. Europe’s biggest betting firm said net profit was 112.1 million euros ($166 million), compared with an average forecast of 122.56 million by eight analysts in a Reuters poll. (Reuters) Turkish tourism The number of foreign visitors to Turkey rose 25.6 percent year-on-year in October to 2.15 million, the Turkish Statistics Institute said yesterday. In the first 10 months of the year, the number rose 18.3 percent to 21.1 million, the institute said. But income from tourism has grown more slowly than visitor numbers. In the third quarter revenues rose 8.6 percent year-on-year to $8.7 billion, after 1 percent growth in the second quarter. (Reuters) Cyprus home prices up Home prices in Cyprus were up 17.5 percent year-on-year in October, real estate price tracker BuySell said yesterday. Compared to September, home prices were 3.7 percent higher averaging at 107,686 Cyprus pounds ($276,117), it said. October was the 10th consecutive month of a rise, BuySell said. (Reuters)