In Brief

No change in regime for foreign shipping companies The government does not intend to bring about any changes in the regime governing foreign maritime companies, Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said yesterday. Speaking at the Maritime Club, he said changes are only being planned regarding offshore companies owning real estate assets, those used to overprice projects subsidized by the EU and the State or for stock market speculation. However, in response to comments that offshore real estate owners pay up to 37 percent of property value in taxes, Christodoulakis promised to «look into the matter carefully.» He said the government will do more to repatriate Greek shipping companies now based abroad and to attract young people to the industry. SSSB recommends Titan, forecasts higher profits in 2002 Titan Cement’s first-quarter results showed the strength of the Greek construction sector, investment house Schroder Salomon Smith Barney (SSSB) said in a report yesterday, upping Titan’s target share price from 41 euros to 46.5 euros and lowering its risk evaluation. SSSB said Titan’s results were better than expected and projects further improvement in 2002 as a result of lower fuel prices, higher domestic sales despite rising prices, and full consolidation of a recent acquisition in Serbia. It says that Titan has proved the most attractive investment among European firms of construction materials, with an average annual return to shareholders of 33 percent in the last 10 years. Garganas The central bank sees no reason to revise its forecast of a 3.5-percent GDP growth rate in 2002, against the government’s 3.8 percent, Nikolaos Garganas, the Bank of Greece’s governor-designate told the parliamentary committee yesterday which approved his appointment. He defended the full liberalization of bank lending, saying that any restrictions caused market distortions. Olympic Catering The government will launch a tender this week to sell a majority stake in its ailing Olympic Airways subsidiary Olympic Catering, a source said yesterday. «The tender will be announced through Olympic Airways this week and will concern about 68 percent of Olympic Catering,» the source told Reuters. No further details were available. The government floated about 32 percent of the food company on the Athens bourse in June 1999. Olympic Catering, which mostly provides meals for Olympic’s flights, had pretax profit of 1.9 million euros in 2000 and has about 900 employees. Greece has repeatedly failed to privatize its state carrier and said it plans to sell off Olympic Airways’ subsidiaries separately to strip the company of all non-flying activities and make it more attractive to potential investors. (Reuters) Robotics Robotics firm Zenon will go public from June 14 to 18 to list on the Athens bourse’s small-cap market, underwriters said yesterday. The price range for the initial public offering was set at 5.36 to 5.90 euros per share. The company wants to raise 5.8 million euros to use as working capital and to finance a new office building. Zenon had sales of 7.84 million euros in 2001 with net profit of 1 million euros. It projects profit growth of 15.4 percent this year. (Reuters) He said CSFIII projects were also on target, with more than 60 percent of the ventures, totalling 2,101, in progress. Public spending to the end of May came to 21.2 billion euros against the budget of 31.76 billion euros. The inflow of community funds this year amounts to 3.54 billion euros.

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