International Optimism about early war ending help the Greek Market. Banking and passenger shipping led the rally.
By Nick Bornozis
The Greek stock market rose this week, with the ASE gaining 4.07% closing at 1,603.79. Daily average turnover value was formed at €89.47. The FTSE/ASE 20 Index closed higher by 4.74% than last week, at 773.58. The FTSE/ASE 40 Index rose 4.55% closing at 172.18. The FTSE/ASE 80 Index also rose this week by 7.61% at 423.34. The banking, IT and passenger shipping sectors outperformed the market, while the telecom and energy sectors were the top underperformers. In parallel, international bourses consolidated, since investors had already discounted the short war period in Iraq.
With the apparent collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, fundamentals are
expected to start playing a key role in investor investment decisions. Uncertainty over economic and corporate issues is still high and therefore, a sustainable upward movement for the General Index at this juncture seems rather unlikely. Banks are expected to remain in focus.
According to the ASE authorities, during the Jan-Feb period the ASE’s market capitalization dropped 16.56%. Also according to the ASE, on March 31, foreign institutional investors control 29.42% of the total market capitalization from 28.66% at the end of 2002.
In economic news this week, the government submitted the draft plan relevant to the adoption of IAS for FY03 results. Furthermore, the listed companies are also obliged to report interim results under IAS as of FY04. January’s retail sales rose 7.2% y-o-y and the inflation rate in March stood at 4.1% vs 4.3% in February. Furthermore, the harmonized inflation rate settled at 3.9% vs 4.2% in February. Meanwhile, domestic 2003 and 2004 GDP rates in Greece are expected to reach 3.6% and 3.8% respectively. December’s building activity index rose 14.9% y-o-y. The respective figure for 2002 stands at 15.3%.
The advertising revenues for the media recorded a 7.40% increase during 1Q03 to €360,19m, while March 2003 revenues increased 9.89% to €137,49m. According to the National statistics Service, the agricultural trade deficit for FY2002 surged 72.2% y-o-y to €1.84bn. In construction news this week, the company responsible for the building of the Northern Greece Highway realizes contests for six new projects totaling €734.5m. Three additional contests regarding equal projects totaling €156m will take place later in 2003.
Alpha Bank S.A, one of Greece largest banks, has been notified by Moody’s: that its short-term credit rating has been upgraded to Prime-1 from Prime-2. Alpha was one of the A3 long-term rated European banks selected for this upgrade by Moody’s. This week, Alpha Bank has also successfully closed a Euro 500 million senior debt issue, following a well received European investor roadshow.
Lavipharm Corp., the U.S. based R&D engine of Lavipharm Group, focusing on solubilization, formulation and drug delivery, announced that it has entered into a three-year Research Collaboration and License arrangement with GlaxoSmithKline to further the applications of Supercritical Fluids (SCF) to Drug Delivery. Under the terms of the collaboration, the companies will utilize Lavipharm’s proprietary expertise, know-how and scale-up capabilities in supercritical fluids (SCF) technology applied to pharmaceutical particle design and formulation. This week, Lavipharm S.A. also announced the signing of a license agreement with Senetek PLC (NASDAQ SNTK), a healthcare technologies company focused on developing and co-marketing products applicable to the anti-aging markets in key skin care/dermatological and sexual dysfunction categories worldwide. Under the agreement, Lavipharm will launch a line of Kinetin-based skin care products in the pharmacy market under its well-known brand name “Castalia”.
Bank of Piraeus
Standard & Poor’s, has affirmed the BBB/Stable/A-2 assigned to Piraeus Bank, according to its recent analysis. As S&P’s explain, the ratings on Piraeus Bank S.A. balance the Bank’s successful growth strategy, sound capitalization and satisfactory liquidity.
The companies System Soft and AlphaNova, -provider of CRM software, a unique product for the management of affiliated corporate networks- and member of the Delta Singular Group, announced the undertaking of a CRM project for the Sakson Group of companies. Sakson is active in the fields of petroleum products, chemicals and lubricants as well as in accessories for vehicles and services, through the representation of important international houses.
Vodafone announced this week the launch of Vodafone Mobile Connect Card. Mobile Connect Card allows customers to connect to their business applications, such as e-mail and calendar, while they are on the move.
Hellenic Petroleum decided to invest Euro 270m in the construction of an electrical power unit in Thessaloniki (capacity of 390MW). The project will be financed through a 14 year syndicated loan.
OTE plans to dispose of its 20% stake in Telecom Serbia in case of not swapping it with the Serbian operator’s mobile arm by the end of the year. Furthermore, the organization will announce, within the next week, Rom Telecom’s updated restructuring plan.