The Greek stock market rose this week, with the ASE gaining 1.83%, on the back of the buying interest for OTE and positive momentum in most international markets. Daily transaction volume rose to Euro 95m (+10% compared to last week) with institutional investors being the dominant force. The telecom and passenger shipping sectors outperformed the market, while the IT, building materials and banking sectors were the top underperformers. In parallel, most international bourses reached higher levels, in light of the release of 1Q03 corporate results that were in line with market estimates. For the upcoming week, investors may concentrate on the announcement of 1Q03 corporate results.
Domestic inflation rate in April is expected to reach 3.5% from 4.1% in March. According to Eurostat, Eurozone’s inflation rate in March remained unchanged compared to February at 2.4%. Furthermore, the industrial production index in February rose 0.2% and 1.8% m-o-m and y-o-y respectively, above market estimates (-0.3% and 0.5%). The current account deficit for January-February 2003 increased by €369m (16.1% y-o-y)
Four players in the local dairy market placed their binding offers yesterday for state owned dairy company, AGNO. The bidders are listed DELTA HOLDINGS, Kolios, Mevgal and Tyras. In other microeconomic news, 3 of the original 9 companies seeking to acquire a 35% stake in the Greek state-run natural gas company DEPA, proceeded to the second stage of the privatization tender by submitting non-binding strategic plans yesterday. The companies mentioned are: German Ruhrgas, Russian Gazprom, and Algerian Sonatrack. The state expects to receive a €300m from DEPA’s privatization. In the I.T. Sector, 3.592 Information Technology projects of €818.5m total budget have been approved for financing by the state through €710.5m.
Vodafone-Panafon announced that its total registered customer base for the year ended 31 March 2003, reached 3,382,765 representing a 14.1% increase compared to March 2002.
Total net additions for the last quarter (January-March 2003) were 164,048. Contract net additions reached the level of 68,312, 88.4% higher than the previous quarter. Prepaid customers net additions for the last quarter were 95,736, 38.4% higher than the previous quarter (October-December 2002).
COSMOTE is the first to commercially launch video MMS applications in the Greek market, which combine image and sound with motion, thus further extending its services portfolio. This new COSMOTE messaging service allows the Company’s customers to exchange their own short personal videos, simply by sending an MMS from a video MMS enabled handset. Committed to its customer centric philosophy of providing user-friendly and comprehensive services, COSMOTE has secured various ways of access to its video messaging service.
BANK OF GREECE
In February 2003, the current account balance recorded a EURO995 million deficit, slightly higher (by EURO42 million) than in February 2002. This increase resulted from the widening of the income account deficit and the narrowing of the transfers surplus. These developments were largely offset by a decrease in the trade deficit and a small rise in the services surplus. Specifically, the narrowing of the trade deficit was mainly accounted for by the increase in non-oil export receipts, which more than offset the growth of the non-oil import bill, and by the decline in the net oil import bill.
INTRACOM signed an agreement with RAYTHEON for the production of electronic subsystems of the ASPIS II internal electronic countermeasures suite of the F16 Air Force aircrafts. The contract in question, worth 34.5 million USD, incorporates the manufacture and final testing of these electronic units at INTRACOM facilities in Peania, Attica. The overall project undertaken by INTRACOM is expected to expand in the co-production of ASPIS additional units; consequently, the entire project, eventually undertaken by INTRACOM within the framework of the ASPIS II program, will exceed 42 million USD.
Alpha Bank believes that under the prevailing conditions of historically low interest rates especially for the medium and long term, the most advantageous proposition for a housing loan is the choice of a fixed interest rate. Thus Alpha Bank has launched a new pioneering housing loan program. This new program facilitates family budget planning and guarantees interest rates for 3, 5, 7,10 and 15 years, while it also alleviates the repayment of the loan during the first 18 months by offering an initial low interest rate of 4%.
Minoan Lines will dispose 21.13% of its 24.9% equity stake in Forthnet, through block
trades, during the 4/15-4/30 period. The latter is in line with the Minoan’s strategy to sell non-core assets and enhance liquidity.
Hellenic Petroleum’s AGM approved the distribution of Euro 0.15 per share as FY02 dividend. The share will trade ex-dividend as of April 22. The management estimates that 1Q03 EBITDA is expected to rise 15% y-o-y on higher refinery margins and inventory gains. Finally, shareholders approved the extension of the capital expenditure plan (Euro 1.8bn) until 2007.
Q – Telecom
Q-Telecom’s customer base as of the end of March 2003 reached 188.702 connections overall where the mobile connections reached 144.182 thereof 118.469 were prepaid customers and 25.713 were contract customers.