Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-05-29
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 29/05/1997 (ANA)
- 'November 17' terrorists resurface, kill shipowner
- Premier: Greece winning international business confidence
- Papantoniou calls on businesses to make investments
- SEB President: 'Considerable improvements made'
- National Defence Fund set up to buy arms
- A curious Turkish map
- Border patrols beefed up for summer months
- Stock market moves in range
- Greek flour mill company expands in Balkans
- Greece to auction treasury bonds
- Greeks claim damages from Gulf War
- 1997 may witness record number of Swedish tourists
- Nine Greek airports being renovated
- Greek waterpolo team qualifies for world championships
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
'November 17' terrorists resurface, kill shipowner
Police suspect the killing of shipowner Costas Peratikos last night was
carried out by the notorious "November 17" terrorist organisation, after a
ballistics report found the gun to be the same as that used in 10 previous
November 17 killings.
The organisation, which took responsibility for numerous bombings and
shootings throughout the 1980s, had appeared to be lying low. It was most
recently suspected of launching an anti-tank rocket at the US embassy in
Athens in February 1996, although November 17 never admitted responsibility.
Peratikos was fatally wounded yesterday afternoon when he was ambushed in a
downtown Piraeus street.
The two gunmen escaped the shooting scene by hijacking a taxi, which was
later found abandoned.
Peratikos was rushed to Tzanneion Hospital with four gunshot wounds and was
pronounced dead on arrival. The two gunmen apparently fired six shots, four
hitting their target, reports state.
According to eyewitness three men lying in wait for the shipowner in a
Mitsubishi truck jumped out as Peratikos approached to get his car.
Peratikos, 42, was born into an shipowning family which bought the Elefsina
shipyards in 1992, assuming the post of managing director of the concern,
but later deciding to close the shipyards down three years later, when
accumulated debt s reached 27 billion drachmas.
Premier: Greece winning international business confidence
Greece is emerging as an important economic factor in the Balkans and the
eastern Mediterranean, is recovering its credibility and is winning the
confidence of international organisations and business capital, Prime
Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday while addressing the Federation of
Greek Industries' (SEB) annual general assembly.
The SEB general assembly was inaugurated in the presence of President of
the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos followed by speeches by the premier and
National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.
Mr. Simitis called on Greek businessmen and workers to respond energetically
to new conditions facing Greece and to take advantage of opportunities
In his address, the premier said that "we must all realise we are coming
into a new order of things and must react dynamically, especially you, the
businessmen, who know that the market follows its own rules, does not
tolerate those who delay making dec isions, who don't invest, who don't
seek new opportunities and who don't adapt."
Reviewing progress on the effort to prepare Greece for the Economic and
Monetary Union (EMU), Mr. Simitis said Greece currently had "a rate of
development that is among the highest in Europe".
He cited as examples the downward trend in inflation and the fact that the
public deficit was on course in terms of the convergence programme.
"As long as we continue our efforts, we shall guarantee our participation
in the EMU by the beginning of the next century as partners on an equal
basis," he noted.
The premier said that efforts had already begun to reorganise the State and
the wider public sector, while an extensive programme of infrastructural
works was under way, along with a programme of strong incentives encouraging
businesses to make large investments and improve competitive ability.
Papantoniou calls on businesses to make investments
Mr. Papantoniou called on businesses to make investments since loan
interest rates will decrease even further in the coming period.
Addressing the business world, Mr. Papantoniou said its position on the
economy's development is of "crucial importance." However, the business
world is showing "limited response" despite the improvement in economic
conditions, stressing "that long-rang e business initiatives to a necessary
extent are lacking."
He predicted that the gap between loan interest rates and deposit interest
rates will narrow over the coming period. Namely, loans will become
On the government's economic policy, Mr. Papantoniou said structural
changes which must be implemented over the coming period are a "major
challenge" to enable the country to meet standards required for the third
phase of Economic and Monetary Union by the year 2001.
He further said priority must be placed on a privatisation policy in the
sector of public utility and state-run banks.
SEB president: 'Considerable improvements made'
SEB President Iason Stratos noted that the private sector and industry in
particular were at present in the front line of the struggle to gain a
favourable position in the international competition sector.
"In the face of new conditions today which dispute steadfast certainties
and impose new solutions, dialogue is being widened and enriched. The
common target is the triptych: 'Development-competitiveness-employment' and
the aim is shaping a modern framework which will provide social protection
and will allow for an unimpeded improvement in competitiveness on which the
income and employment of working people depends," he said.
Referring to statements made by Mr. Simitis and Mr. Papantoniou, the SEB
president said that indeed there were considerable improvements in
important macroeconomic indicators which definitely had favourable
repercussions for the business climate and prospects.
According to figures provided by Mr. Stratos, private investments in
industry currently represent more than a quarter of total investments and
concern, in their overwhelming majority, the modernisation and restructuring
of enterprises. At present, 56 per cent of Greek exports are industrial
products, while industry only produces 17 per cent of GDP.
National Defence Fund set up to buy arms
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday announced the
establishment of a National Defence Fund to support the massive armaments
programme of the armed forces which will cost an estimated four trillion
According to an amendment to be contained in a bill regulating matters
related to draft-dodgers, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said, Greek citizens will be
able to make contributions to the fund in order to bolster the country's
A parliamentary committee began discussing the bill on draft-dodgers, which
also contains provisions enabling conscientious objectors to perform an
alternative form of military service.
A curious Turkish map
Asked to comment on a geological map published by the Turkish Middle
Eastern Polytechic, which depicts the islands of Crete and Cyprus as
belonging to Turkey, Mr. Reppas said these designs were known to Greece and
should not be overestimated. The maps were reprinted in the Athens daily
The government, he said, follows these issues with great interest and takes
them into consideration when defining its foreign policy.
Border patrols beefed up for summer months
The national defence ministry will increase patrols of Thesprotia
prefecture and Corfu to protect these areas from Albanian-based criminal
gangs, Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis told Parliament
Replying to a question by a main opposition New Democracy deputy, Mr.
Apostolakis said that an additional gunboat will be provided by the Navy
for patrols, while a company of commandos would be stationed at Filiates by
the end of the month.
Recent raids on yachts rented by tourists have increased concern in the
area, which is very popular for the summer months.
Stock market moves in range
Share prices ended mixed to slightly higher on the Athens Stock Exchange
reversing an early strong downward trend and helped by heavy buying
interest in stocks in the Investment and Industrial sectors.
The general index closed 0.10 percent higher at 1,715.82 points. Banks fell
0.60 percent, Leasing were 1.18 percent off, Insurance dropped 1.01 percent,
Investment rose 1.81 percent, Construction eased 0.62 percent, Industrials
increased 1.38 percent, H olding were 1.62 percent up and Miscelleaneous
rose 0.42 percent. The Parallel Market index ended 0.30 percent up.
Trading was heavy and turnover reached 25.7 billion drachmas.
Xiosbank's share price almost doubled during its second day of transactions
on the market to close at 6,328 drachmas, up 99 percent from Tuesday.
Broadly, advancing issues led declining ones by 114 to 104 with another 36
issues remaining unchanged. Xiosbank, Titan Cement, St. George Mills scored
the biggest gains, while Remek, Elviemek, Radio Athinae and Ideal suffered
the heaviest losses of the day. National Bank of Greece ended at 38,700
drachmas, Commercial Bank at 14,000, Ergobank at 21,100, Alpha Credit Bank
at 21,900 and OTE at 6,830 drachmas.
Greek flour mill company expands in Balkans
Loulis Flour Mills SA, a company listed on the Athens Stock Exchange, is
steadily expanding in the Balkan region with the creation of a flour
production unit in Romania and a storage and packaging facility in
The company's turnover rose to 10.020 billion drachmas in July 1996-April
1997 from 7.977 billion in the previous corresponding period.
Profits rose to 637 million drachmas from 425 million in the same period, a
49.9 percent increase on the year.
Loulis expects 1996-97 sales to top 12.8 billion drachmas and pre-tax
profits to reach 750 million drachmas.
Greece to auction treasury bonds
The finance ministry will auction new three-, five-, and seven-year
treasury bonds aimed to collect around 250 billion drachmas.
The new bonds will be auctioned on June 17, carrying interest of 9.8, 9.2
and 8.9 percent respectively. The Treasury is expected to announced details
of a new 10-year bond in the next few days.
The finance ministry will auction 50 million drachmas worth of three-year
bonds, and the same amount for five and seven-year paper, while its 10-year
bonds will total 100 million drachmas.
Greeks claim damages from Gulf war
A special committee to decide on compensation payments to Greek citizens
and companies damaged by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 was set up by
the national economy ministry.
The Compensation Committee, set up by order of National Economy Undersecretary
Alekos Baltas, will examine claims submitted under the terms of a UN
The United Nations has undertaken the proper distribution of compensation.
1997 may witness record number of Swedish tourists
The record number of 449,000 Swedish tourists visiting Greece recorded in
1995, is expected to be broken this summer, while the tourist wave to
Greece from the remaining northern European countries is expected to also
reach high levels this year.
One million tourists alone are expected to visit Greece with charter
flights, while a considerable number of tourists will travel to Greece by
car and rail. An increasing number of tourists have been arriving in Greece
by air in past years and then travel ling to islands with sailing vessels
According to a survey conducted by Stockholm's mass circulation newspaper
"Expressen", 15 per cent of respondents prefer Greece for a holiday. The
survey showed that Greece is preferred by young people, employees and women,
whereas Sweden is preferred by workers and small businessmen.
The director of the Greek Tourist Organisation's (EOT) office for northern
Europe Haralambos Lianeris told ANA that "the Scandinavian market had had
continuous increases in past years. We want to stay at the high level where
we are at present and expand to new markets".
Nine Greek airports being renovated
Renovations at nine main airports in Greece, including Athens and
Thessaloniki, will be completed in time for this year's tourist season,
Transport Minister Haris Kastanidis stated yesterday.
At a regular press briefing, Mr. Kastanidis said 52 billion drachmas had
been allocated for improvements at the airports of Corfu, Ikaria, Irakleio,
Kos, Mykonos, Paros and Rhodes.
Certain projects had already been completed and opened to the public, such
as an extension of the waiting area for Rhodes and Corfu and a new runway
Athens and Thessaloniki airports were allocated 3.49 billion drachmas and
3.2 billion drachmas, respectively.
Greek waterpolo team qualifies for world championships
The Greek men's waterpolo team yesterday qualified for the semi-finals of
the Fina World Cup, beating the Atlanta Olympics gold medalists Spain by a
final score of 7-6. The scores for the four seven-minute periods were 1-1,
3-3, 2-1 and 1-1.
As Greece also beat Italy 6-4 in Tuesday's match and has now collected
sufficient points to qualify directly for the World Championships, to be
held in Perth in January 1998.
The world's top eight waterpolo teams are participating in the Fina Cup,
with the five top scorers automatically qualifying for Perth.
Greece faces the United States this evening.
Partly cloudy weather is forecast for most parts of Greece today with
intermittent rain in the central and northern regions. Winds will be
northerly, moderate to strong. Athens will be sunny to partly cloudy in the
afternoon with temperatures between 15-25C. Same in Thessaloniki with
temperatures between 14-21C.
Wednesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 270.042
Pound sterling 442.412 Cyprus pd 533.894
French franc 47.047 Swiss franc 190.395
German mark 158.854 Italian lira (100) 16.104
Yen (100) 233.408 Canadian dlr. 195.325
Australian dlr. 206.644 Irish Punt 408.843
Belgian franc 7.696 Finnish mark 52.675
Dutch guilder 141.246 Danish kr. 41.718
Swedish kr. 35.228 Norwegian kr. 38.206
Austrian sch. 22.571 Spanish peseta 1.881
Port. Escudo 1.576