ECONOMY

In Brief

VAT on real estate not official, but… Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said yesterday the government has not yet made up its mind whether to introduce value-added tax (VAT) in the market for new buildings. However, Christodoulakis seems to have been unaware that the ministry’s website yesterday displayed a page with reference to the introduction of VAT and the indexation for inflation of the so-called «objective» property prices – officially set every two years – to be adopted as of 2003, when the next price review is due. Sources also said the responsible ministry department has recommended an 18 percent rate. Federation of Greek Industries (SEV) Chairman Odysseas Kyriakopoulos yesterday also endorsed the measure, saying that the extensive black economy in the sector leads to unfair competition. Christodoulakis said a draft bill on the fourth phase of tax reform, which concerns real estate, will be tabled in Parliament in January. The bill will introduce two new taxes to replace the existing 20 taxes levied by local government. Porto Carras casino license deal signed Olympic Technical group said yesterday its member Sithonia Beach Porto Carras had signed a deal to buy the casino in the Porto Carras resort in Halkidiki, northern Greece, and the accompanying operating license for 21.13 million euros. The deal will allow the reopening of the casino which has been shut since October 2000 when a court ordered the company owning the license evicted from the Porto Carras hotel complex. The deal is subject to the approval of a special legal provision now being prepared by the Development Ministry. The group said it hopes to operate the casino by Christmas. Bourse Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) Chairman Panayiotis Alexakis is holding a virtual roadshow of investment opportunities in the bourse on www.greece.capitallinkforum.com at 5 p.m. today. The roadshow will include presentations by the National Bank of Greece and Vodafone. Ferries Shipowner Gerasimos Agoudimos is to regain majority control of GA Ferries by buying back for 15 million euros the 47 percent stake which he sold to Minoan Flying Dolphins (MFD) two years ago, sources say. MFD, now renamed Hellas Flying Dolphins, is said to have agreed on the sale price, much lower than the acquisition price, after deciding that GA Ferries, consisting of seven vessels, is not part of its strategic plans, partly because of stronger competition on the Dodecanese island routes. Investment fund Shareholders of Alpha Trust Andromeda open-ended investment fund yesterday approved the absorption of sister company Alpha Trust Orion, whose stockholders will receive 0.71 shares of the merged company for each share they hold. Both funds are listed and Alpha Trust said the move will boost trading volume and reduce the share price discount. Interamerican Shareholders of insurance firm Interamerican, which is controlled by the Dutch-based Eureko group, yesterday approved a 50-million-euro share capital increase.