OTE and Forthnet dive after big developments

The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) benchmark index fell for the second day this week, losing 24.05 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,252.51. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 index of the country’s biggest companies advanced 0.1 percent to 2,261.03. Heavy losses by OTE telecom were largely offset by hefty bank gains. OTE fell the most in almost two months, dropping 7.8 percent to 18.82 euros. Marfin Investment Group gained 3.3 percent to 6.18 euros, the highest close since November. Greece and Deutsche Telekom agreed to each hold 25 percent plus one share of OTE, opening the way for Deutsche Telekom to buy Marfin’s 20 percent stake in Greece’s biggest telephone company. Piraeus Bank climbed 2.7 percent, Alpha Bank gained 2.6 percent and Hellenic Petroleum was 1.9 percent higher. In contrast, Eurobank slid 2.7 percent and Public Power Corporation fell 2.5 percent. Forthnet declined the most since September 2001, losing 9.9 percent, to 5.30 euros. Greece’s second-biggest provider of Web services said it plans to raise 300 million euros in a sale of new shares to finance the acquisition of pay-TV operator NetMed NV. Turnover totaled 3.03 billion euros, of which 2.65 billion was in OTE shares. (Bloomberg, Kathimerini)