ECONOMY

In Brief

OTE completes sale of additional 8-percent tranche of shares OTE Telecom said yesterday it had successfully completed the sale of 8 percent of its outstanding shares, taking the level of state ownership down to approximately 33.7 percent. The 40.32 million ordinary shares were placed with more than 200 Greek and international institutional investors through the method of accelerated book-building, at a price of 16.50 euros per share, OTE said in a statement. Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley acted as joint book-runners and EFG Telesis Finance, the investment arm of EFG Eurobank Ergasias, acted as joint lead manager. The State has agreed to a lock-up period of 180 days on subsequent sales of its remaining shares. Garganas is sworn in as new central bank governor Greece’s new central banker, Nicholas Garganas, who succeeds Lucas Papademos as Bank of Greece governor and a member of the European Central Bank’s governing council, was sworn in yesterday. Garganas’s previous post will be filled by Nicholas Palaiokrassas who was also sworn in. The central bank’s other deputy governor will be Panayiotis Thomopoulos. Garganas, 65, has been a member of the central bank’s monetary policy council since February 1998. Appointed deputy governor in September 1996, he came in as an inflation fighter and supporter of the «hard drachma» policy which helped Greece make the grade and join the eurozone. A London-trained economist, he also chairs Greece’s Deposit Guarantee Fund. (Reuters) No more bids Amid charges and countercharges between the two rival consortiums that competed in the 49-percent privatization of the Mont Parnes casino, Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos yesterday confirmed that the bidding process had ended and that a final decision would be reached in a matter of days. «The management of Hellenic Tourism Properties (owners of Mont Parnes) and the government will confer today or tomorrow to adopt a position on the matter,» he said, adding that the counter-bid of 162.5 million euros submitted by the losing consortium Casino Attica on Wednesday was outside the bidding process proper and could not be taken into account. NBG acquisition Atlantic Bank of New York, a subsidiary of the National Bank of Greece, has completed the acquisition of US-based Yonkers Financial Corporation (YFC) for $67.3 million. The acquisition will raise Atlantic Bank’s assets to $2.5 billion and its number of branches to 19, two of which are in Boston, Massachusetts. YFC specializes in lending to small firms and in mortgages. Athens-Birmingham British Airways, in collaboration with Maersk Air, yesterday launched direct flights between Athens and Birmingham, England, three times a week. Departure times from Athens are 13.50 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 19.40 p.m. on Saturdays. God forbid… Alpha Bank’s subsidiary Alpha Insurance yesterday signed a contract with the Church of Greece to provide health and hospital cover to all the country’s monks and nuns up to age 75.