By Nicolas Bornozis
Greek stocks increased this week by 0.98 % closing at 2208.73 points, continuing the increase for second week in December, but at a slow rate. The FTSE/ASE 20 Index increased by 1.70% closing at 1123.17 while the FTSE/ASE 40 relised a slower increase by 0.26%, ending the week at 235.07 points. The FTSEASE small cap 80 Index dereased this week by 1.84% closing on Friday at 593.23 points.
Greece holds the 33rd place in competitiveness-regarding future growth- among 80 countries falling two places from last year, according to the data by the World Economic Forum. The main drawbacks are the inflexible labour market, the tax regime and the quality of the business environment.
The governor of Bank of Greece, stated that the GDP for fiscal year 2004 is expected to stand at 4 %. Speaking to the council of the Greek Industrialists Union, Mr Garganas argued that the increase in exports, tourism and shipping will provide the counterbalance for the lower growth in investments due to the completion of Olympic and many infrastructure projects. Mr Garganas argued for more structural economic reforms.
According to the National Statistics Service, the producer price index stood at 1,5% in August. On a monthly basis PPI rose 0,4 %. July PPI had increased 1,7 %. The components of the PPI with the highest increase were capital goods and energy with an increase of 1,2 % both, and consumer non-durables by 2,4 %. The delay in the release of the economic data is attributed to the recent strike of the National Statistics Service staff, that lasted for over two months.
Bonus of EUR 2,047m will be distributed to the projects (financed by the 3rd CSF) that exhibited the highest absorption rates. Construction sector will be among the main beneficiaries. According to press reports, about EUR350m will be distributed to road networks projects, EUR 300m to employment programs, EUR 80m to cultural programs and EUR 130m to programs that related with the enhancement of competitiveness. Finally, an amount of EUR 350m will be allocated to agricultural projects. According to the same press reports the final decisions will be taken on December 17th.
The Ministry of Finance is planning to borrow EUR 13bn in the first quarter of 2004 and raise a total of EUR 30bn debt in 2004. The new issues will be mainly 3, 5 and 10 year note. The first issue will take place on January 7th 2004.
TITAN CEMENT S.A.
Within the framework of its strategy to expand internationally in cement, TITAN Group announces the signing of the following agreement: The acquisition of 99,9% of the shares Zlatna Panega Cement AD in Bulgaria from the HEIDELBERG Cement Group of Germany. The Company owns a cement plant close to Sofia, with a production capacity of 1.000.000 MT, and three Ready Mix Concrete plants. The agreement is subject to the approval of the local antitrust authorities. Subsequent to the acquisition of Zlatna Panega cement in Bulgaria, and with an aim of simplifying the shareholding structures and of balancing its presence in the different markets of the region, TITAN Cement announces the conclusion of a second agreement: The sale of 99.9% of PLEVENSKI Cement AD in Bulgaria to HOLCIM of Switzerland and, the acquisition of the 46.5% stake of HOLCΙM in USJE Cementarnica AD in the F.Y.Republic of Macedonia, which results in the increase of TITAN?s stake in this company to 94,8%. The PLEVEN plant, located near the city of Pleven, has a production capacity of 500.000 tons, while the USJE plant, in the city of Skopje, has a capacity of 1.000.000 MT.
Lannet Communications announces the products’ distribution of the well-established firm Harris Corporation and its products’ integrated technical support in Greece and the broader Balkans region. This agreement is of strategic significance for Lannet Communications within the framework of reinforcing its presence in the Greek and European market. Specifically, Lannet Communications will plan, provide and implement integrated solutions in the following sectors: i.Telecommunications solutions and IT Systems for Government and Public Sector Organisations in general, ii. Communications of Radio/TV broadcast Interconnection for digital and analog solutions in Radio-TV organisations, iii. Wireless applications of microwave networking with “spot-to-spot” and “spot-to-multiple spots” architecture and iv. Advanced hardware/software network management systems
PETZETAKIS Group was awarded a significant Award during the “HRIMA Business Awards” organized by “HRIMA” Magazine. These new Awards are assigned through polling among market professionals in Greece (Certified Analysts, SEDYKA, Association of Greek Institutional Investors) and among the investment public. The objective of this contest is to promote and award the progress of Greek companies that effectively contribute to the development of the stock market and to the Greek economy in general. The PETZETAKIS Group was awarded the ‘Turnaround Return to Profitability Award”, presented by Ms. Leto Ioannidou, Vice President of the Athens Exchange.
ALPHA BANK SA
Alpha Bank’s Board of Directors approved a capital increase of Euro 473,709,77 by issuing 97,271 common shares of Euro 4.87 each, following the exercise of stock option rights by the Bank’s managerial staff, as provided for by the approved at the General Shareholder Meetings of 11/4/2000 and 9/4/2001 stock option programme. As a result, the shareholders’ equity of the Bank amounts to Euro 953,721,003.45 divided into 195,835,935 shares of Euro 4.87 each. The new shares will start trading at a date to be specified by further announcement.