ECONOMY

In Brief

OTE expresses satisfaction with Romtelecom agreement OTE Telecom Chairman Lefteris Antonakopoulos told the Athens News Agency yesterday he is happy about the conclusion of the recent deal with Romania whereby OTE will acquire a 54 percent stake in the country’s utility, Romtelecom. «OTE’s entry into this market is very important, coming at a moment of rapid developments and strong competition in the telecoms sector, and in view of the fact that Romania will become an EU member in five years’ time,» he said. Antonakopoulos added the deal will also benefit the Romanian market, as it will create a strong telecoms company that will contribute to the growth of domestic industry and attract foreign investors. «The Romanian market is already showing confidence in the new scheme,» he said. The deal, which has been initialed and envisages OTE’s injection of $243 million into Romtelecom, was approved by the Romanian government late on Thursday. The final signing is expected next week. Greece’s public sector spending on tech R&D almost half of total Greece has the largest percentage of foreign investment in research and development (R&D) in the field of technology among the 15 EU member states (24.7 percent of the total), according to the European Commission’s report on «Science, Technology and Reform,» released yesterday. The country’s public sector also ranks second in such investment (48.7 percent) but its private sector is in penultimate position (24.2 percent). According to the report, Denmark, Sweden and Finland lead in such investment while Italy and Spain must urgently mobilize more resources toward this end. The overall investment rate of Greece, Portugal and Ireland is considered satisfactory. Olympic Airways Athens International Airport (AIA) has submitted in writing its interest in a stake of at least 5 percent in the to-be-privatized Olympic Airways as part of a consortium, Transport Minister Christos Verelis told Reuters in an interview late on Thursday. The three banks acting as privatization advisers are expected to invite all companies that have expressed interest to submit detailed bids within the next three days, Verelis said. Extra taxes Tax inspectors have been out in greater force this year; inspections of the books of enterprises for past fiscal years in the first 10 months of this year yielded 40 percent more taxes than in the same period of 2001. The amount due for payment is 1,247 million euros, against 890 million last year. OPAP State-run football pools and gaming firm OPAP said net profits grew 16.8 percent year-on-year to 176 million euros in the first nine months of 2002. Profits before taxes, interest and depreciation (EBITDA) rose 7 percent to 289.4 million euros, and sales 12.7 percent to 1.3 billion euros. Michaniki Construction company Michaniki yesterday filed a suit against any persons involved in the assignment of the project for the aesthetic upgrading of the Athens Olympic Stadium to competitor Aktor. Michaniki claims the assignment was illegally made through direct negotiations and violates constitutional provisions excluding from public projects firms whose main shareholders also have media interests.