ECONOMY

In Brief

Committee to target repatriation of Greek capital A committee consisting of representatives of the Economy and Finance Ministry, the Bank of Greece and the Hellenic Union of Banks, and chaired by Deputy Finance Minister Apostolos Fotiadis is to undertake the task of promoting the inflow of foreign and Greek capital from abroad, the government said yesterday. Proposals, including tax incentives and for relevant legislation, are expected in a month’s time. Bank sources estimate that Greek capital abroad amounts to about 80 billion euros, or two thirds of the country’s annual GDP. The government seems to have been impressed by the initial success of a recent similar effort in Italy, which is estimated to have resulted in the repatriation of close to 20 percent of Italian capital abroad. Essential elements of this program were a short period of application – two months, no questions asked as to the origin of funds and a low tax rate. The ministry also announced plans for the abolition of the 11-percent property transfer tax for small firms undertaking lease-back schemes. EU opinion opens way for subsidies to sea transport infrastructure Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Anomeritis yesterday welcomed the recent opinion of the European Union’s Economic and Social Committee on the «Extension and continuity of inter-European networks to Europe’s Islands.» This lays down that EU roads should not be perceived as stopping at ports but as continuing on to islands as sea routes, on which transportation projects may be carried out. «The opinion vindicates our goals… The government has already begun planning special measures for the Greek islands, given that the proposal specifically includes Crete, the northern and southern Aegean and the Ionian islands,» he said. The development opens the way to national or EU subsidization of projects for the transportation of goods and passengers to the islands. Greek satellite Hellas SAT 1, the first Greek satellite, was put into orbit at 39 degrees east last Sunday after being transferred from another orbit, and is to begin experimental transmission shortly, Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis said. The satellite’s services, with separate frequencies for Greece and Cyprus, include television, Internet, telecommunications and multimedia services. Its joint Greek and Cypriot owners next year plan its replacement with a new satellite, which will help broadcast the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. The project cost a total of $250 million. Chipita Snacks company Chipita International expects pretax income growth of 20 percent in 2002, from 196.4 million euros last year. Chairman Spyros Theodoropoulos told shareholders the four-year joint investment plan for new production lines in all countries where Pepsico operates is expected to be ready by September. Management last year did not make use of the 10-percent share buyback scheme approved by shareholders, considering the share’s performance as satisfactory. OTE OTE Telecom plans to sell a further 8 percent of the Greek State’s 41.76-percent holding over the counter in the next 30 days, the company said in a letter to the Athens bourse. Under current legislation, the State’s holding cannot be lower than 33 percent.