ECONOMY

In Brief

Chipita Q1 group pretax profit up 54 pct y/y Croissant and snacks maker Chipita said yesterday group pretax profit after minorities rose 54 percent year-on-year and forecast profit growth of 30 percent for full year 2002. Pretax profit in the first quarter reached 3.8 million euros on sales growth of 11.4 percent to 43.9 million euros, Chipita said in a statement. On the basis of first-quarter results, sales are projected to grow 20 percent in 2002, it said. First-quarter results included a capital gain from the sale of a bread unit to Katselis. Chipita lost 1.14 percent to 8.68 euros on the Athens bourse yesterday. (Reuters) Q-Telecom announces fixed rates pre-launch Q-Telecom, the new telecoms provider owned by IT firm Infoquest yesterday announced price rates for phone calls on its fixed network, aimed at building its market share as it enters the telecoms market in June. Q-Telecom said charges for long-distance domestic calls over its fixed network would be up to 12 percent lower than OTE rates, calls to mobile networks up to 13 percent lower and international calls 20 percent lower on average. It said it would also offer a 10-percent discount on calls after the fourth minute, although this will not apply to local calls. Calls will be charged per minute with no minimum duration, which Q-Telecom said would provide customers with up to a further 15-percent saving. The company plans to launch commercial fixed and mobile services in June, taking on dominant fixed-line operator OTE and other alternative fixed telephony providers like Forthnet. In the mobile segment, it will compete with CosmOTE, Vodafone Panafon and Stet Hellas, offering second-generation mobile services. (Reuters) Posidonia Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Anomeritis on June 4 will inaugurate the four-day international shipping exhibition Posidonia at the Piraeus Exhibition Center building which will host 1515 companies from 70 nations in 520 pavilions. The event will be preceded by the Posidonia Congress at the Athens Concert Hall at 9 a.m. on the previous day where speakers will include European Commission Vice President Loyola de Palacio, the President of France’s Shipowners Union Philippe Louis Dreyfus, the head of Mexico’s PEMEX Internacional oil company Rosendo Zambrano and easyGroup Chairman Stelios Hadzioannou. On May 31, Piraeus Mayor Christos Agrapidis will give the firing shot at Mikrolimano for the Posidonia Cup sailing race for which 19 entrants have registered so far. The exhibition takes place every two years and attracted 30,000 visitors in 2000. Construction materials The Heracles cement company has invited and received expressions of buying interest in its building materials subsidiary Alfamix, sources said. Naxos Marbles and Dionysos Marbles are said to be among the suitors, which also include an unnamed big European company. Heracles wants to shed Alfamix as part of restructuring plans with a view to concentrating on cement production, but requires suitors to submit five-year business plans and pledge they will not proceed to layoffs. The group’s building materials sector, apart from cement, reported losses in the last two years. Verelis said the suburban railway project, currently financed by the Public Investment Program, will seek private sector partners in 2006. They would be expected to pump in funds to finance the network’s expansion in return for the concession to the railway.