ECONOMY

In Brief

ABN AMRO to sell Greek subsidiaries to Aspis Bank Dutch bank ABN AMRO said in Amsterdam yesterday it had agreed to sell its Greek operations to Aspis Bank, including 16 branches and the leasing and insurance brokerage subsidiaries but excluding the shipping and corporate departments. The two sides also tentatively agreed to set up a joint venture in asset management and assurance schemes and to consider a share swap scheme for their two mutual fund subsidiaries. ABN AMRO’s mutual fund subsidiary has assets of about 175 million euros. The deal provides that the Dutch bank will hold a 7-percent interest in Aspis. The move is seen as confirmation of the waning interest of foreign banks for autonomous presence in the Greek market. But this leaves the possibilities for strategic deals and acquisitions unaffected. Legal council rules against improved but late casino bid The State Legal Council yesterday ruled that an improved bid by Casino Attica, the consortium of the Loutraki casino and Piraeus Bank, for a 49-percent stake in the Mont Parnes Casino, submitted 11 days after the rival consortium of Hyatt Regency and construction firm Hellenic Technodomiki was declared winner early this month, could not be accepted. Casino Attica submitted an improved bid of 162 million euros – compared to Hyatt-Hellenic Technodomiki’s winning bid of 92.1 million euros – claiming irregularities and calling for a rerun of the bidding process. The 45-member council ruled with 26 votes against acceptance, 17 in favor and 9 abstenting. The winner of the tender has an option to acquire an additional 2-percent share following completion of an investment program. Separately, an Athens court ruled against an injunction applied for by Casino Attica, saying that a suit brought by the consortium is due to be properly considered in court in a few days’ time. The winning bidders said in a statement that Casino Attica is anxious to stop the development of Mont Parnes as this would mean more competition for Loutraki casino. Jobless rate unchanged in Q1 The unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2002 was unchanged at 10.9 percent versus the previous quarter, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said. The 12-month average unemployment rate to end-March 2002 fell to 10.5 percent from 10.9 percent in the same period a year earlier. NSS said 16.2 percent of women in the labour force were unemployed in Q1 while the figure for men came to 7.5 percent. (Reuters) Thessaloniki-Brussels Olympic Airways is to resume on Wednesday, July 3, flights from Thessaloniki to Brussels which had been cut as part of a savings drive. Flights will be one each on Tuesdays and Thursdays, officials told a meeting of local agencies pressing for the resumption of at least some of the 23 flights weekly cut. «As soon as the crisis conditions show some remission, it is quite likely that the remaining flights will be resumed… but nothing can be promised,» the officials said. ATMs Cash withdrawals from ATMs and purchases through credit or debit cards anywhere in the eurozone by residents in another member-state will be subject to no more additional charges for using the facility than in the country of residence as of Monday, July 1. The waiving of such charges, which amount to up to 4 percent, will apply for transactions of up to 12,500 euros. For sums thereafter up to 50,000 euros, charges will be equated on July 1, 2006. Livanis Publications Livanis Publications’s public subscription for listing on the Parallel Market of the Athens bourse was oversubscribed 3.55 times «with very satisfactory dispersion.» The price of share was set at 4.84 euros. The company, founded in 1972, issued 1,480,100 common registered shares.