ECONOMY

State firm on maximizing the third tranche of structural aid

Up to the end of last month, Greece had received 89 percent of community funds earmarked for 2001 under the Third Community Support Framework, Deputy Economy Minister Christos Pachtas said yesterday, noting that the country plans to exploit to the maximum the third tranche of structural funds. He said the inflow of structural funds allocated for last year amounted to 2.78 billion euros up to April. Greece also expects an additional payment of 229 million euros from Brussels which would boost total structural funds received to date to 3 billion euros. Pachtas said the high absorption rate shows that Greece plans to make full use of the community funds this time and that «we don’t intend to lose a single euro.» Greece’s determination to put the third package of structural funds – 21 billion euros over a six-year period – to maximum use came after it had squandered funds allocated to it under the previous two programs. The State will put up 31.76 billion euros of its own to match Brussels’ input for the period 2000 to 2006. Pachtas said the inflow of funds by the end of the year is projected to come to 5.23 billion euros, which includes this and last year’s budget. By the end of the year, Greece will have absorbed 60 percent of funds earmarked for 2002, he said. The deputy minister said 1,493 projects have been approved out of 2,750 proposals submitted. Of this figure, 780 are national ones while the remaining 713 relate to regional development. Pachtas said the State plans to launch tenders shortly for a series of projects intended to strengthen businesses. The budget for the ventures has been set at 6.1 billion euros. Among the sectors benefiting are information technology in the private and public sectors, small and medium-sized enterprises, and the fishing and agricultural industries. An additional 704 million euros will fund programs targeted at small and medium-sized businesses at the regional level, especially those active in manufacturing, tourism and information technology. Tenders for these projects will kick off next month. The deputy finance minister also announced the launch of a website, www.hellaskps.gr, providing the latest information on community-funded projects. The conclusions from the survey showed that acquiring companies tended to over-estimate the benefits of M&A, especially in terms of profits and sales and the response from investors as mirrored in the share price. They also underestimated the targeted company’s market strength, its technological expertise and executives’ talent.