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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 12-11-29
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 'Greece has entered a new era,' Hatzidakis tells Capital Link eventAMNA--Greece has entered a new, hopeful era, Greek Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks minister Costis Hatzidakis told a reception Wednesday night in New York at the Harvard Club in New York.
The reception was held in the context of the 14th annual Capital Link Investor Forum titled "Building a new Greece", which opens Thursday at the Metropolitan Club with Hatzidakis as the keynote speaker, and messages by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and European Commission Task Force for Greece chief Horst Reichenbach via webcast.
Hatzidakis acknowledged the "significant contribution" of the overseas Greeks and the support that has been forthcoming from them to the country of their origin, stressing that "Greece is not a lost cause, and this was proved by the Greek people with their immense sacrifices".amna
"Now, the hour of hope and growth has come," he added.
Hatzidakis put special weight on the structural changes and the legislative framework for investments, underlining the "fast track" process that facilitates interested investors in the speedy acquisition of the required licenses.
The minister further noted the re-start of the major infrastructure projects, the promotion of investment collaborations and the growth opportunities in Greece, and stressed that "Greece's stay in the eurozone is non-negotiable".amna
During the banquet the "Capital Link Leadership Award" for 2012 was presented to Greek-Australian Andreas Liveris, chairman and CEO of the Dow Chemical Company, for his leading role as a founding member of the Hellenic Initiative, which he created together with four other distinguished businessmen for the purpose of supporting Greece and improving the country's image internationally.
Liveris explained that the Hellenic Initiative is a global, non-profit, non-governmental organisation the vision of which is, through the generosity of the Greek Diaspora and phil-Hellene community, to provide substantive encouragement and financial reinforcement for the preservation of Greek organisations and programmes and to inspire a business development that will enable the Greek people to secure the long-term prosperity of the country.amna
Liveris called on all the Greeks abroad and phil-Hellenes to use all their abilities and capabilities to help the Greek people, particularly the vulnerable social groups.
Likening the present situation in Greece with the Great Depression in the US in the past, Liveris stressed the need of simultaneously achieving relief, recovery and reform, so as to reverse the climate in Greece.amna
Parallel to the main Forum session, there will be one-on-one meetings between Greek government officials, companies. management and investors.
While in New York, Hatzidakis will have several meetings with businessment, investors and officials of the Greek American community, and will be received by Archbishop Demetrios of America.amna
Hatzidakis will also pay a visit to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Friday, in the context of "Greek Day on the NYSE".
 Samaras to brief President Papoulias on Eurogroup decisionsAMNA--Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will be received by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias at the Presidential Mansion at 11:00 on Thursday, whom he will brief on all developments, also in the wake of the decisions taken by the Eurogroup on Tuesday morning.
On Wednesday, in a message posted by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on his personal Facebook account, the Greek premier says that "we, Greeks, know very well that we can achieve anything, but only through unity and decisiveness."
The video-message, titled "Greece is just starting up," shows Samaras addressing the nation and saying that the country has many times been through tough times in its long history, but always found the strength and courage to stand up and walk ahead. He also underlines that it is necessary for Greece to enter again a path of growth with stability, security and consensus.
 FinMin: No time for celebrationsAMNA--"This is not the time for celebrations, the difficult part for the country is now beginning, and we must think how to take advantage of this great opportunity," Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters, during a news conference to present the outcome of a Eurogroup meeting, the Greek minister said decisions taken during the Eurogroup meeting were very significant, creating the preconditions for Greece to remain in the Eurozone and to exit a vicious cycle of excessive debt and recession. Stournaras stressed it was imperative to move forward with reforms and privatizations. He said that the next tranche of an aid loan will be released by December 13. amna
Commenting on a Greek debt buy back programe, which he said would aim to reduce the nominal value of Greece's debt by roughly 30 billion euro, he said it would be voluntary and that it was the patriotic duty of all involved to participate and ensure it was successful.amna
The finance minister emphasised that Greece must now implement the structural changes passed by Parliament, press ahead with a privatisation programme and carry out reforms to make the social state more efficient, with social policies directed at those who really needed them, thus ensuring equal opportunities to health, education and other benefits for all.
Stournaras noted that the disposal of 10 billion euro for the bond buyback programme was a condition set by the Eurogroup in order to disburse the loan tranche of 43.7 billion euro (34.4 billion euro before December 13 and the rest in three installments within the first quarter of 2013) so that Greece's debt in 2020 is reduced from 144 percent of GDP to 122 percent of GDP.
The finance minister and the new head of Greece's Public Debt Management Agency Stelios Papadopoulos said that the bond buy back offer will be announced early next week, with two major international banks negotiating on behalf of the Greek state, and will remain 'open' for about seven days. The Greek state will put up roughly 10 billion euro borrowed from the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) to buy back bonds with a nominal value of nearly 30 billion euro. The loan from the EFSF will be in addition to the 43.7 billion euro financial aid tranche due to be disbursed by March 2013 and can be paid back from the proceeds of privatisations, they said. amna
Stournaras clarified that participation by banks in the bond buyback programme will not mean that they will receive additional capital. Regarding social insurance and pension funds, the minister said he would like them to "decide on their own" but indicated that there was also a 'plan B' if the bond buyback scheme didn't work.
The minister underlined, however, that "a face-value reduction of the debt is currently off the table".amna
Stournaras also used the opportunity to announce that he had asked his French counterpart Pierre Muscovici to send Greece a new copy of the controversial 'Lagarde list' - containing the names of nearly 2,000 Greeks with significant sums deposited in the Geneva branch of HSBC - indicating that it was just a matter of time before this arrived. The list and its fate since it was handed to the Greek government roughly two years earlier is currently the object of an ongoing judicial investigation that has just been sent to the Greek Parliament.
 The Thursday edition of Athens' dailiesThe Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
The Cabinet meeting and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' orders to his ministers, the anticipated regulation for the settlement of overdue debts and the race for the bonds buy-back, dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens' newspapers.
AVGHI: "The 'solution' a bubble - New looting of the social security funds".
DIMOKRATIA: "Asphyxiation: Memorandum in every ministry"
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Regulation 'breather' for debts to Tax Bureau".
ESTIA: "Channel of optimism".
ETHNOS: "7 bln euros list".
IMERISSIA: "Battle for the bonds".
KATHIMERINI: "Plan for liquidity in the market".
LOGOS: "The difficult stuff starts now".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "New favourable regulation for the overdue debts".
RIZOSPASTIS: "They escalate the massacre of the people".
TA NEA: "The 'Herod' tax (abolition of tax deduction for families with children) divides the government".
TO PONTIKI: "Lies in installments".
VRADYNI: "Pensions: All the changes for the professionals".
6 DAYS: "Government leaves the social security funds without a cent".
 DE.PA to launch e-auction for natgas suppliesAMNA--DE.PA, Greece's public gas provider, on Wednesday announced a first e-auction for the supply of natural gas, to be held in the first two weeks of December.
All licensed gas suppliers, major consumers and gas distributors are eligible to participate in the electronic auction. The first auction will cover a natural gas quantity of 365,000 MWh.
 Hellenic Sugar says profits up 135.28% in July-SeptAMNA--Hellenic Sugar Industry SA on Wednesday reported a spectacular 135.28 pct increase in its net after tax earnings to 7.465 million euro in the three-month period from July 1 to September 30, 2012, while turnover rose 7.48 pct to 50.707 million euro. Consolidated turnover (including subsidiaries in Serbia) totaled 76.113 million euro, up 24.94 pct from the same period last year.
Gross profit margin, however, fell to 14.74 pct in the three-month period, from 17.16 pct last year, while consolidated figure was 22.65 pct from 25.16 pct, respectively.
EBITDA was 5.262 million euro, up 12.13 pct from 2011, while consolidated EBITDA jumped 47.99 pct to 14.233 million euro. amna
Parent pre-tax profits jumped 132.51 pct to 713,540 euro, while consolidated pre-tax profits rose 101.73 pct to 8.613 million euro. Net parent profits was 236,570 euro.
 Joint Greece-China inter-ministerial meeting in BeijingAMNA--The foreign ministry's general secretary for international economic relations and development cooperation, Panagiotis Michalos, represented the country at the 11th joint Greece-China inter-ministerial meeting here this week, followed by a meeting with the director of the foreign investment and economic cooperation department of Chinese commerce ministry, Wang Shenyang.
The high-ranking Chinese official reportedly referred to the excellent prospects for an increase in Chinese investments in Greece following this week's closely watched Eurogroup decision in Brussels.amna
On his part, Michalos emphasised the efforts being made by the Greek government to rejuvenate Greece's recession-battered economy, calling on Chinese investors to increase their presence in the east Mediterranean country. amna
Michalos also referred to the need for a direct Beijing-Athens flight, a long-standing goal of successive Greek governments.amna
The Greek official accompanied Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas on his official visit to China, which included a round of meetings with Chinese leadership and business executives. amna
The visit by the delegation also coincided with an investment seminar organised by the Greek embassy in Beijing, in cooperation with Chinaʼs commerce ministry and Lazard Bank China, with the participation of the Invest in Greece agency.
Michalos also met with Lou Jiwei, the president of the China Investment Corp. (CIC), the largest investment agency in the country that now boasts the worldʼs second largest economy. amna
Labour sector legislation in Greece, reactions amongst Greek society to recent measures, the tax regime in the country and the state of the domestic banking sector dominated talks, along with the Samaras government's privatisation plan and efforts to attract FDIs.
CIC manages assets and capital worth 400 billion euros.
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