ECONOMY

In Brief

Sea cruise passenger fees to boost state revenues Greece will impose a fee of 3.95 euros ($5.40) for each passenger boarding a non-European Union flagged cruise ship that docks in Greek harbors as the country seeks $1 billion a year in additional revenues from tourism. The levy, which will be reduced by 20 percent when at least 1 percent of the ship’s crew is Greek and by a further 7 percent for each additional Greek port of call included on the ship’s program, has been «met with enthusiasm» by sea cruise companies, the Maritime Affairs Ministry said in a statement on its website. Earlier this year, Greece lifted so-called cabotage restrictions that required non-EU ships operating in Greek waters to employ Greek sailors. The move will provide Greece with an extra 1 billion euros a year in tourism revenues, according to the Economy Ministry. (Bloomberg) Local stocks dip below the 1,500-point mark The Athens bourse gave up 1.10 percent yesterday, slipping below the 1,500-point mark. The benchmark general index ended at 1,493.59 points. The blue chip FTSE/ATHEX 20 index dropped 1.12 percent to end at 709.26 points, while the mid-cap FTSE/ATHEX 40 index shed 1.45 percent. Eurobank EFG slipped 1.60 percent to 4.30 euros and Hellenic Postbank retreated 3.75 percent to 3.08 euros. Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling dipped 2.03 percent to 19.30 euros and construction group Ellaktor ended at 3.39 euros, off 3.97 percent. Turnover reached 126.1 million euros versus 98 million previously. Emporiki support Emporiki Bank of Greece SA may rely on the support of French parent Credit Agricole SA to meet capital requirements amid new regulation, CEO Alain Strub said. «We are following these requirements and we shall do what we have to do at the time it is needed,» Strub said in an interview in Nicosia, Cyprus’s capital. «Whenever we need as Emporiki Bank the support of our group, we ask for this support and this support is given.» The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, which represents central banks and regulators in 27 European nations and sets capital standards for lenders, announced new rules in September that aim to head off another global banking crisis. The measures, known as Basel III, more than double capital requirements while giving lenders several years to comply. Emporiki said last week that its loss widened to 745 million euros ($1 billion) in the first nine months of 2010, from 472 million euros in the year-earlier period, on increased charges for nonperforming loans. The lender is «today on track» with targets it set last year, Strub said. (Bloomberg) Buy bonds Citigroup Inc advised investors to buy Greek two-year government notes, because the nation’s bailout means it isn’t likely to restructure its debt over the maturity of the securities. «Short-dated Greek bonds offer considerable protection against further negative news at current levels,» Steven Mansell, a fixed-income strategist in London, wrote in a note to investors yesterday. «A near-term Greek credit event is most unlikely, unless Greece is noncompliant with the terms of its existing bailout; thus far, there is no reason to suggest that this is about to happen.» Investors may protect against losses on the trade by selling five-year Spanish securities, Mansell wrote, because «the current risk premium priced into the mid-part of the Spanish curve is relatively low.» (Bloomberg) Value reduced Investors wiped out over a third of the market value of Greek marine fuel logistics company Aegean Marine Petroleum Network on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday, a day after the company posted weak quarterly results. Piraeus-based Aegean reported a third-quarter adjusted profit of 16 cents a share, less than half of analysts’ view. Analysts were expecting 35 cents a share. Shares in the company, which markets and supplies refined marine fuel and lubricants to ships in port and at sea, were down nearly 40 percent at $9.65, their lowest levels in nearly two years. The stock was the top percentage loser on the New York Stock Exchange. «The miss was driven by lower margins on bunker fuel sales as very slow tanker traffic heated up competition,» Dahlman Rose analyst Omar Nokta said. (Reuters)