ECONOMY

Bourse may delist 20 companies

Twenty companies whose shares are listed on the Athens stock exchange could be forced to delist in the next year, pending the results of stress tests they will be subjected to by bourse officials. Ten will come under review due to low annual turnover levels, while the remainder will be examined for weak volumes of stock traded. «The bourse cannot receive indefinitely businesses with low turnover, which on many occasions end up serving other interests,» said Hellenic Exchanges CEO Spyros Capralos. «Our patience is running out and we want healthy business on the Athens bourse,» he added. According to analysts, the 10 companies at risk of being delisted due to their low turnover are Balkan, Elviemek, Kekrops, Keramia-Allatini, Reds, Klonatex, Emporikos Desmos, Zampa, Microland Computers and AEGEK. As of October, these companies will have 12 months to improve sales levels. Bourse officials are likely to help companies find ways to keep shares publicly traded but it is obvious that it is difficult to boost annual turnover to above 2 million euros under the current conditions unless the companies turn to export activities. More than 35 firms suffering financial problems have been removed from the Athens stock exchange since May 2004. Companies with low share dispersion, with a free float of 10 percent, which may face a limited future on the Athens bourse are: Karelia, Elbisco, Interfish, Vivere, Emporiki Bank, Vivartia, Attica, Minoan Lines, Ionian Hotels and Marfin Egnatia Bank. The companies will be given six months to lift their free float to above 10 percent with the possibility of a six-month extension to the deadline on hand.