Further delays in plans for first Greek satellites Plans for launching the first Greek communication satellites will be delayed further, after the Hellas Sat consortium put on hold a preliminary agreement with Boeing for construction of two satellites, sources said. Hellas Sat is said to be in negotiations for the scheme with three European companies,Austrium, Alcatel and Matra, which are said to be offering much better terms. It is also argued that Boeing has not secured a necessary license for delivery from the US administration. Hellas Sat, which has paid a deposit of $4 million to Boeing for the project, is 43.4 percent owned by Cypriot company Avacom Net, 25 percent by OTE Telecom, 19.6 percent by the Cyprus Development Bank, 10 percent by state-run Hellenic Aerospace and 2 percent by Canada’s Telesat. Hellas Sat officials are confident they will not miss the September deadline for exercising rights to launch on 39 degrees East by repositioning another satellite. Number of Telestet customers exceeds 2.1 million The number of customers of Stet Hellas mobile operator rose 29.8 percent in 2001 to 2,135,338, according to figures released yesterday. Total net additions in Q4 was 145, 353,up 41.7 percent on Q3. Contract net additions for the quarter were 74,174, an increase of 272.8 percent from Q3, whileprepaid net additions were 71,179, raising the total to 1,472,575, or 69 percent of the total customer base. Average turnover was 26.7 percent for the year, down from 27.6 percent in 2000. CSF II Spending under the Regional Operational Program for Central Macedonia, including national resources and EU investment subsidies of the second Community Support Framework (1995-2001) reached 281.9 billion drachmas, representing an absorption rate of 106.2 percent, the Economy and Finance Ministry said yesterday. The program, which additionally attracted 23.2 billion in private investment, financed 1,568 projects and 5,223 sub-projects. Visa growth The number of Visa cards issued in Greece stood at more than 3.4 million on June 30, 2001, 74 percent higher than a year earlier. Of these, 2.3 million were credit cards – up 37 percent from a year earlier – and 1.1 million were debit cards, which increased 313 percent. The total value of transactions with Visa cards (credit and debit) between July 1, 2000 and June 30, 2001 reached 2.7 billion euros, 32 percent higher. than in. the previous 12-month period. The average value of transactions using Visa cards was 79.2 euros. Reppas denies rumors Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas yesterday denied rumors of «friction» with Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis over the issue of social security reform, for which government proposals are pending. NovaBank NovaBank yesterday launched its 72nd branch, located at 54 Omonia St, in Kavala, northern Greece. The bank aims to expand its network to 120 branches by the end of the year.