ECONOMY

In Brief

Greece awaits Yugoslav proposals for investment aid Greece is ready to finance investments in Yugoslavia as part of its Balkan Reconstruction Plan, Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos said at the second Greek-Serbian forum in Athens yesterday. He said his ministry has already received 20 applications for financing from Yugoslav companies but none from the country’s government itself, to which Greece plans to give 80 percent of the 250-million-euro aid set aside for the country, although the relevant agreement was signed in July. This, he said, contrasts with other Balkan governments, which have already made applications. Greece has earmarked a total of 550 million euros for financial aid to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Bulgaria, Romania and Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). Speakers at the forum noted Yugoslavia’s high growth rate (4 percent last year), a falling inflation rate and tax incentives. The government has already privatized 75 firms and has similar plans for 250 more. Separately, an international council of investors in FYROM, sponsored by Greek firms active in the country, yesterday announced the election of its board, with Aristeidis Vlachos of Prime Info as its chairman. The founding members of the council, a non-profit consultative body, include Stopanska Bank, Alpha Bank, Euroconsultants, OKTA refinery, Veropoulos supermarket chain, Larin, Vendora, Prime Info and Kyriakidis. Lamy sees Christodoulakis over WTO issues Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis yesterday discussed issues related to negotiations by the World Trade Organization (WTO) with EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy, in view of Greece’s assumption of the European Union presidency in the first half of 2003. In this capacity, Greece will prepare the EU’s participation in the WTO ministerial conference in Mexico in September 2003. EU trade with SE Europe was also discussed. Bond loan Elbisco Holdings shareholders approved the issue of a 33.6-million-euro convertible bond loan through private placement, at a price higher than the firm’s share price on the date of issue. The issue was considered «necessary for the development of the group’s investment program and the speedy promotion and consolidation of activities in new, large, developed and demanding markets,» said a statement. Knitwear Textile group Fieratex is to invest 1.5 million euros in a new thermal processing production line for knitwear. «The investment is necessary due to the increased demand for this category of textiles in recent years, which has made the three existing lines inadequate,» the listed firm said in a statement. The new production line, to be financed through a four-year bank loan, is to be launched before year-end. Lamda Development Real estate and construction firm Lamda Development announced consolidated pretax profit growth of 103 percent in the first nine months to 2.98 million euros in relation to the same period last year. Turnover was up 63 percent to 44.49 million euros. The company, which this week inaugurated the new luxury office complex in the historic Hotel Cecil in Kifissia, north of Athens, currently has a 700-million-euro investment plan, while a share capital increase is due for completion on October 8. Electroniki Electrical goods retailer Electroniki Athinon is to set up a 100-percent-owned subsidiary in Cyprus, hoping to launch the island’s biggest store in Nicosia next month.