ECONOMY

Record number of firms delisted in 2010

A record number of nine stocks were delisted from the Athens bourse due to public offerings this year, while at least another three are set to follow in 2011. The nine companies that have exited the Athens Exchange this year are Imako publishers on January 4, Rainbow Computer on February 3, SingularLogic on March 30, Benrubi on September 7, AB Vassilopoulos supermarkets and Liberis Publications on October 1, Agrotiki Insurance on October 12, Informer on December 2, and food company Vivartia, whose exit was approved by the Capital Market Commission (CMC) on December 24. The three companies set to be delisted from the Greek stock market are two firms owned by the Koutsolioutsos group, Folli Follie and Elmec Sport, which will be absorbed by listed company Hellenic Duty Free Shops, and clothing retailer Vardas. The latter began the process of accepting the public offering this week and its exit is imminent. Also this month, Vivere successfully completed its public proposal to shareholders of Fashion Box, accumulating 97.14 percent of its share capital, but the company does not intend to squeeze the remaining shareholders out, i.e. force them to sell their shares. By the end of 2011 the total number of stocks on the Greek bourse will probably not exceed 250, down from 261 today. In early 2011 the CMC intends to set in motion the process of abolishing the article that provides for the exit of stocks via public offerings, as this is damaging for small investors. Anastasios Gavriilidis, the head of the CMC, has gathered all the proposals from the parties concerned and is expected to draft a relevant bill in January after consulting Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou.