ECONOMY

In Brief

F&C and Interamerican form mutual funds partnership Two member companies in the Eureko Group, F&C asset management and Interamerican, Greece’s leading insurance company, have agreed to set up a strategic partnership in mutual fund management in Greece, according to a press release yesterday. The agreement provides that F&C will acquire Interamerican’s mutual funds arm, Intertrust, which will be renamed F&C Greece and will supply portfolio management, development skills, and customer service, while Interamerican will supply and control distribution. Party to the agreement and further contributing distribution is NovaBank, Greece’s fastest-growing retail bank with over 70 branches. The agreement «is consistent with Eureko’s strategy of consolidating its money management activities into F&C,» said the statement. F&C presently has over 105 billion euros under management, ranking among the top 10 managers of European pension assets. Interamerican, acquired by Eureko last year, distributes 26 mutual funds. Building and retail sales continue robust growth Building activity rose 15.7 percent in volume in January to August 2001 from the same period of 2000, according to the National Statistics Service (ESYE). The development is largely attributed to strong housing loan growth. In regional terms, Central Greece topped the building activity growth rate list with 42.7 percent, due to the construction of large industrial plants in Boeotia. Western Macedonia was the only region where activity fell, by 9.5 percent. According to ESYE, retail sales grew 8.1 percent in the January to October 2001 period from the same period in 2000. Consumer loans at the end of October were growing at an annual rate of 45.1 percent, with total consumer debt standing at 7.4 billion euros. Supermarkets remained at the top of the sales growth table with 9.2 percent. Everest’s third highway complex Catering firm Everest has opened Olympus Plaza Food Park, its third restaurant and highway service-station complex, situated on the 210th km of the Athens-Lamia Highway near Alamana. The other two, which are run in partnership with Shell petroleum company, are on the 55th km and 447th km on the Thessaloniki-Athens Highway. Minoan sells vessel to France Minoan Lines has sold the ferry Aretousa to Compagnie Meridiolane De Navigation of France for 57.5 million euros, according to a statement yesterday. The Greek company last month agreed on a 200-million-euro loan to finance three new vessels, the first of which, the Olympia Palace, built by Fincantieri of Italy, has now been launched on the Patras to Ancona route. Fruit & veg complaint Deputy Finance Minister Christos Theodorou has instructed the Financial Crimes Squad to investigate complaints that certain wholesalers sell imported fresh produce to street market vendors as Greek, charging about 15 percent higher prices. – On smaller sizes, there is nothing moving out from Argentina and demand for Brazil is marginal. The South American west coast is also fairly quiet.