ECONOMY

High dividend yields prized by investors

All is not lost on the Athens Stock Exchange. Some listed firms may offer significant dividend yields, up to nearly 7 percent, in 2002. The great decline in share prices provides investors with many buying opportunities, since there are several listed firms which do not fit into the present bleak landscape but whose results show a marked improvement and are thus expected to increase dividends. At a time when savings interest rates have dropped to 2.5 percent (with interest taxed at 15 percent), repos rates are at 4.5 percent and nine-month Treasury bills yield 3.64 percent, investors are looking far more carefully for high dividend yields. In presenting the companies which look set to offer high dividends, we have taken into account the dividend they offered in 2001, the closing price on Wednesday, October 9 and their first-half results. All these companies show an increase in first-half profit. For example, construction company Aktor shows a yield dividend of 5.71 percent, based on the share closing price on October 9. Its first-half profit rose 212 percent compared to last year. This makes a higher dividend for 2002 a near-certainty. The highest dividend yield, 6.44 percent, is offered by tobacco manufacturer Papastratos. This means that placing one’s money in the company is preferable to keeping it in the bank or investing it in repos or T-bills. Karelia, the other listed tobacco manufacturer, also shows a respectable dividend (4.64 percent). The company’s first-half profit rose 59 percent. Other promising companies are Delta Holding, with a 5.37 percent dividend and a profit increase of 24 percent, media company Teletypos, owner of private TV channel Mega, with a yield of 4.40 percent and a 6 percent profit increase, state soccer pools and lottery firm OPAP (4.34 percent and 12 percent, respectively), and construction company AEGEK, with a 3.81 percent dividend yield. Other companies offering higher profits plus a dividend yield of at least 2 percent are electronics retailer Germanos, steel company Sidenor, the Thessaloniki Water Company, mining company Silver & Baryte, construction company METKA, hotel and casino operator Hyatt Regency, the Public Power Corporation, cement company Titan, Intralot, Duty Free Shops, shipyard Neorion, Axon Holdings and Hellenic Petroleum.