Shipyard transfer signing postponed again The signing of the deal transferring Hellenic Shipyards to Germany’s HDW Ferrostaal consortium has been postponed from Monday to Friday, May 17, following a request of the buyers who cited yesterday’s public holiday in Germany, sources said yesterday. Officials, however, attributed the delay to continued pressure on the government for improved terms regarding shipyard contracts with the Hellenic Navy. Meanwhile, the government sent new explanatory details to the European Commission on Wednesday regarding state loans to the shipyard and the funding of a voluntary retirement program. A reply is expected on June 6. General Bank may reduce army ties for foreign partner The Army Officers’ Fund is willing to considerably reduce its present 38.5-percent share in General Bank but not below a double-digit figure, the bank’s general manager, Yiannis Tsamourgelis, said on GBC channel yesterday. General Bank is looking only for a foreign, long-term, strategic partner to improve its know-how, he added. The bank has a large clientele among army and security forces staff. Food inspectors European Commission officials on Monday will start a 10-day inspection round of sanitary conditions and observance of regulations regarding the use of additives in the food and catering industry. The findings will be released at the end of June. Another team of inspectors is scheduled to check on the progress toward making recommended improvements in Athens’s wholesale market at Rendi in July. Metallon A one-day conference on the latest developments in the metallurgy industry is to be held in the framework of the 2nd Metallon exhibition (raw materials – machinery – tools and automation) in Helexpo’s facilities in Thessaloniki, May 16 to 19. The May 17 event, organized in collaboration with the city’s Aristoteleion University, will include presentations by business leaders and academics on metal processing, quality control, certification and the European Eureka initiative. Explosive deal Explosives firm Elviemek and Italy’s Pravisani SpA will hold equal shares in a joint venture aiming to expand commercial operations and providing for the transfer of know-how to the Greek firm, according to a press release yesterday. Management of the new firm, which has a start-up capital of 600,000 euros, will be exercised by Elviemek. Tourism Greece and Cyprus are working out plans for cooperation in tourism, particularly in view of the 2004 Athens Olympics. Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) Chairman Yiannis Patellis yesterday arrived in Nicosia for contacts and to attend the Taxidi 2002 tourism exhibition. Cyprus’s Tourism and Industry Minister Nikos Rolandis will meet Greek Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos in Athens on Monday. Bond loans National Bank shareholders yesterday approved the issuing of bond loans for up to one billion euros.