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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-02-20

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] SSSB sees Alpha Bank wooing investors after merger collapse
  • [02] Foreign Exchange Rates - Thursday
  • [03] Weather Forecast: Cloud on Thursday
  • [04] Prosecutor files espionage, fraud charges against Kokkalis
  • [05] Greek stocks remain under pressure in ASE

  • [01] SSSB sees Alpha Bank wooing investors after merger collapse

    20/02/2002 19:57:53

    Alpha Bank, a blue chip on the Athens bourse, is likely to court investors in order to restore damaged confidence following the collapse of a merger plan with National Bank of Greece, Schroder Salomon Smith Barney (SSSB) said on Wednesday.

    "Alpha Bank and National Bank of Greece called off their merger on January 19. In our view, this represented a drawback in building international investors' confidence in Greece. We would expect Alpha Bank to make a considerable effort to restore confidence and show the market it can rely on the bank," SSSB said in a market report.

    "The merger cancellation should not affect Alpha's customer base, but it could delay investor appetite," the report said.

    The global investment house awarded Alpha Bank a 3M (Neutral, Medium Risk) rating and short term negative outlook, and set a price target of 19.10 euros.

    It also said that the the absorption of Ionian Bank had been slower than expected, but benefits should be exhibited in the medium term.

    "While we see Alpha Bank as a net winner in Greece, we believe a

    considerable cost saving exercise is still necessary to offset non-recurrent trading income and extraordinary income loss. We are currently underweight in Greek banks," SSSB said.

    "In the meantime, Alpha Bank is a leading force in Greek banking, in our view. The bank is set to benefit from growth in financial services in the country with the lowest bancarisation rate in the EMU," it noted.

    Although this growth was likely to take effect later than

    the market currently discounted, the bank's shares could suffer in the

    short term due to 2001 earnings disappointment, with earnings seen remaining subdued until the second half of 2002, the report said.

    [02] Foreign Exchange Rates - Thursday

    20/02/2002 18:26:17

    Indicative tourist buying rates per euro

    U.S. dollar 0.881

    Pound sterling 0.616

    Danish kroner 7.490

    Swedish kroner 9.267

    Japanese yen 117.8

    Swiss franc 1.493

    Norwegian kroner 7.825

    Cyprus pound 0.581

    Canadian dollar 1.401

    Australian dollar 1.703

    [03] Weather Forecast: Cloud on Thursday

    20/02/2002 17:57:10

    Cloud is forecast in all parts of the country, turning to rain or possibly storms in the eastern islands and rain mainly in the northwest. Winds south-southwesterly, moderate to strong, turning very strong in parts of the Ionian. In the north, temperatures will range from 4C to 15C; on the rest of the mainland and in the Ionian from 7C to 17C; and in the Aegean islands from 10C to 18C. Scattered cloud in Athens, with temperatures between 10C and 16C. Cloud in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 6C to 13C.

    [04] Prosecutor files espionage, fraud charges against Kokkalis

    20/02/2002 16:48:54

    An Athens first instance prosecutor on Tuesday filed felony espionage charges, among others, against telecoms tycoon Socrates Kokkalis, the president of the Intracom group.

    The indictments, including felony charges of fraud, embezzlement, money laundering as well as two counts of misdemeanor bribery, follow an 11-month judicial investigation initially spurred by allegations from main opposition New Democracy deputy Panos Kammenos, who claimed that Kokkalis had served for the former East German intelligence agency, better known as ?Stazi?.

    The same prosecutor, Dimitris Papaggelopoulos, also investigated the Kokkalis groups involvement with a project to launch a lottery in Russia, an issue that has repeatedly been the focus of several articles by the Athens daily ?Kathimerini?.

    Both investigation files have been forwarded to an investigating magistrate, the next step under Greeces criminal justice process.

    According to evidence listed in the indictments, and reportedly based on information gleaned from Stazis files, Kokkalis was recruited by the East German agency to commit industrial and hi-tech espionage for the one-time Soviet bloc under the guise of normal trade and business activities.

    Another claim is that Kokkalis -- the owner of the popular Olympiakos Piraeus football and basketball clubs -- bribed members of the Russian National Olympic Committee in order to win the contract for the Russian ?Lotto?.

    [05] Greek stocks remain under pressure in ASE

    20/02/2002 16:46:55

    Equity prices remained under pressure for one more session on the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday with the general index finding support at the 2,400 level.

    The index ended 0.37 percent down at 2,409.26 points, with turnover a low Dr 39.7 billion, or 116.5 million euros.

    Shares in Kokkalis Group's companies found support, the day after recording one of the biggest daily declines ever, with Intracom up 0.81 percent, Intralot gaining 5.71 percent, Intracat rising 0.47 percent, with only Panafon easing 0.69 percent.

    The IT Solutions index scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (1.73 percent) with the parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks rising 1.81 percent. The Holding and Construction sectors suffered the heaviest losses (0.97 percent and 0.74 percent, respectively).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.31 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index fell 0.34 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index rose 0.32 percent.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 176 to 136 with another 46 issues unchanged.

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