ECONOMY

In Brief

Greece’s tourism sector was the third leading cause of complaints from Greeks and foreigners, the country’s largest consumer rights group said yesterday. Main consumer group INKA said most complaints (16.5 percent) centered on the prices of goods and services, followed by complaints about restaurants and eating establishments (15.2 percent). Thirteen percent complained about the quality of products and services. It said up to August 30, it had received 6,403 complaints about tourism, with 77 percent of complaints lodged by Greeks. INKA last week led a nationwide boycott of shops to protest the leading cause of complaints – higher prices for goods and services brought about by companies rounding upward as they convert prices to euros. (Reuters) Six European transport ministers sign Memorandum of Understanding The Transport Ministers of Albania, Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Italy and Turkey in order yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the intermodal Pan-European Corridor VIII, in presence of the European Commission. This corridor links Italy to Turkey via these various countries. Loyola de Palacio, vice president of the European Commission, in charge of energy and transport, welcomed this step ahead: «The development of the corridor will positively contribute to the stabilization process in the Balkans, the forthcoming enlargement of the EU and the strengthening of cooperation between the European Union and Eastern Europe. We are bridging the gap with our neighbors.» This MoU is the last to be signed from the 10 Pan-European corridors outlined at the Helsinki European Council in 1997. All projects are now launched. Telecom operator IT firm Infoquest, the country’s newest mobile operator, has signed up 11,000 clients for its mobile and fixed phone services since its June launch, the company’s chief executive said. «We have 9,000 mobile clients and 2,000 fixed-line clients which is a pleasant surprise for us. People are thirsty for high-quality, lower-cost fixed-line services from alternative operators,» CEO Theodore Fessas told Athens daily Eleftherotypia. Infoquest launched fixed and mobile services under the Q-Telecom brand in June. Fessas said clients were attracted to Q-Telecom’s ability to combine mobile and fixed-line services but said he had no illusions about how big a threat the company was to the dominance of the other three mobile operators – CosmOTE, Vodafone and Stet Hellas – and OTE. «Even if we wanted to, we can’t bother them. We offer the same services (but) our pricing policy is integrated, more attractive for more people,» he said. Fessas said he had no news on plans by Cypriot telecom monopoly CyTA to invest in Infoquest. He put the chances of setting up a joint venture with CyTA at «50-50.» Analysts say the investment – put by Infoquest at about 50 million euros – would give the Greek company the capital boost it needs to entrench itself in the Greek market. (Reuters) No effect Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said today that Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co SA’s announcement that its two largest shareholders will be selling up to 5.5 percent of total outstanding share capital will not affect the company’s ratings. CCHBC is pursuing a listing on the NYSE. (Reuters) Robust growth however has brought with it above-average inflation, which rose 3.5 percent year-on-year in August from 3.3 percent in the previous month, the NSS’s statistics showed. Annual harmonized inflation climbed to 3.8 percent from 3.6 percent in July, significantly higher than the 2.1 percent estimated for the eurozone.