Fourlis to invest 30 mln more

Fourlis, the Greek franchise owner of Swedish furnishing group Ikea, said yesterday it will move ahead with some 30 million euros of investments in 2009 as it expands its branch network in Greece and the Balkans. Fourlis, which has a market capitalization of 495.2 million euros, is moving ahead with plans to launch its first Ikea store in Bulgaria and two more Greek Ikea outlets, in Ioannina and Larissa, management told the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting yesterday. The group, which also has the franchise rights for Intersport, currently operates three Ikea stores in Greece and one in Cyprus. Shares in Fourlis rose 1.25 percent on the Athens bourse yesterday, trimming earlier gains of more than 2 percent, to end at 9.72 euros. The stock outperformed the broader market, which added 0.61 percent. Shareholders yesterday approved a 0.36-euro-per-share dividend for 2008, which translates into a yield of some 3.7 percent. The stock will trade ex-dividend on June 22.