ECONOMY

H1 gains for ETA

Hellenic Tourist Properties (ETA), the asset management arm of the Greek National Tourist Organisation (GNTO) which is slated for a market listing by year-end, yesterday reported a substantial jump in first-half results due to higher revenues from its holdings. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization were up by 26.2 percent to 14.77 million euros and pretax profits by 26.5 percent to 15 million euros. ETA said the 24-percent jump in first-half turnover came on the heels of a sharp increase in revenues from its holdings, namely its casinos on Mount Parnitha and Corfu, the state-owned marinas in Attica and rental from other assets. In line with the State’s fund-raising drive, ETA has put its possessions on the market and is currently reviewing offers from various bidders. A consortium formed by the Hyatt Regency Hotel and construction firm Hellenic Technodomiki has received the green light from the government for the takeover of a 49-percent stake in the Mont Parnes casino. The privatization of the marinas is in the final leg. ETA’s half-year gains were also helped by its exemption from GNTO’s liabilities and operating expenses, with the latter exceeding 10 million euros annually. ETA’s market listing is being handled by Alpha Bank, EFG Eurobank Ergasias and Commercial Bank. Romania has persistently failed to deliver on its promise of high growth for OTE, which has been investing abroad to offset the 2001 deregulation of its home fixed-line market. OTE paid $675 million for its 35-percent stake and management in 1998.