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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-05-29

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


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
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


'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 offered.

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 cheaper.

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 drachmas.

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 defence.

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 "Athinaki" yesterday.

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 yesterday.

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 Albania.

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 resolution.

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 rented beforehand.

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 for Mykonos.

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


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