ECONOMY

In Brief

Unbudgeted revenue boost may offset shortfalls Public finances will receive an unbudgeted-for boost of 470 million euros from taxes on the higher-than-expected profits of the Public Power Corporation, the soccer pools lottery company OPAP and the Postal Savings Bank, and 70 million euros from retroactive taxes on small firms and the self-employed, Deputy Finance Minister Giorgos Floridis said. These sums are hoped to offset shortfalls resulting from the lower profitability of firms and meager stock transactions volumes. OPAP yesterday reported a 25.3-percent first-quarter rise in pretax profits to 95.6 million euros, year-on-year, due to strong growth in its sports betting game Stoichima. Turnover for the same period increased 31 percent from last year to 467.8 million euros. Stoichima contributes about 75 percent to OPAP’s revenues. Preliminary deal for Greek satellite order signed The Hellas Sat company, of Greek and Cypriot interests, has signed a preliminary agreement for the purchase of a satellite from the French firm Astrium. Under the deal, signed in Paris on Thursday, the satellite will be launched into orbit in March 2003 at 39 degrees east and will have 30 relay transmitters. The cost, excluding launching, will be $58 million, plus $6 million to be paid over the next 10 years. The final deal will be signed in June. Hellas Sat, whose Greek shareholders are OTE Telecom and Hellenic Aerospace, and whose Cypriot shareholders are Avacom and the Cyprus Development Bank, is negotiating the launch with one French, one US and one Russian company. An initial order for a satellite placed with Boeing was canceled last year. Traveling children Athens International Airport (AIA), in cooperation with the association «The Smile of the Child,» yesterday inaugurated a children’s creative entertainment area, where specially trained childminders offer young passengers, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, a wide range of activities and games. More information is available on AIA’s website (www.aia.gr). Ecotourism The Goethe Institute’s Thessaloniki branch is today holding a symposium on «Tourism, the Environment and Social Development» in partnership with the environmental protection association Oikotopia; 10.30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 66 Vassilisis Olgas St, tel 0310.889.610. Greece-Cyprus-Balkans Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos yesterday announced a program of joint project financing by the Greek government and Cypriot businessmen in Balkan countries after holding talks with Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Cassoulidis. The program’s launch is in July. Giakoumis said other banks are likely to adopt a «wait-and-see» attitude before taking any action. Because of strong growth in first-quarter net interest income, they have the luxury of keeping their rates unchanged.