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Greek shipping register climbs up January 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy.
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The Greek commercial fleet will soon expand by up to 100 ships, according to the Merchant Marine Ministry, as a result of measures announced a few months ago by Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis to bolster the competitiveness of the national register.

Sources suggest that the minister’s office is already flooded with more than 100 statements of intention for raising the Greek flag from Greek shipowners. Furthermore, the same sources reveal that in the last few days, 18 vessels have entered the Greek register, which is far higher than at other periods.

“By opening up the market, we are attracting ships and creating new jobs,” Kefaloyiannis said yesterday.

The shipping community has responded enthusiastically to the government measures for strengthening the Greek flag. Representatives of the Greek Union of Shipowners (EEE) and of the Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee – London have stressed that “the measures for competitiveness are on the right course and the results will appear soon.”

The ministry has made a significant step forward by overcoming certain inhibitions of the past and adopting two measures that, so far, seem to have made the difference: First, it decided to proceed with a more flexible approach to the composition of crews for oceangoing ships. It ruled that the limit on the number of Greeks should be six, including all officers and crew. Second, the social insurance contributions of Greek seamen serving as low-level crew is to be subsidized. However, if a shipping company decides to have more than six Greek seamen and they are low-level crew, then the state, as an incentive, will subsidize the contributions not only of seamen but also of shipowners.

Kefaloyiannis stated that “the ministry’s aim is to attract 500 ships to the national register, which is why these measures have been taken, for the Greek flag to become stronger and more attractive.”

He also noted that within 2007 a number of reforms that are already under way will be completed, such as the measures for coastal shipping and for cruising as well as initiatives for the strengthening of the competitiveness of the national register.

Greek Sidenor invests 20 million euro upgrading production January 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy.
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Greek metals company Sidenor said that it will be investing 20 million euros to upgrade and expand existing production facilities to enhance its competitiveness.

The company said that the investments concern its plant in northern Greece in Thessaloniki, the plant of its unit Sovel in Almyros, central Greece, and the plant of its Corinth Pipeworks subsidiary in Thisvi, also in central Greece.

Sidenor added that it expects to complete this capital expenditure by the second quarter of 2008.

Greek Metka wins 110 million euro contract in Pakistan January 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy.
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Greek engineering company Metka said that it had won a 110 million euros project in Pakistan to build a 220 MW natural gas fired power plant.

The company said that it will cooperate with General Electric and Slovakia’s Istroenergo Group on the project. Metka added that the project will be completed by the end of 2008.

A broker said that this was a positive development for Metka, as it represents its first successful inroad outside Greece, and that Pakistan is a promising market where more than 15 GW of capacity should be added in the next 10 years.

Greek Danaos shipping company invests in Bulgaria January 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy.
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Greek shipping company Danaos Group will invest 266 million levs (136 million euros) over the next three years in a trading center in Sofia, the Bulgarian investment agency said.

The company, through its Bulgarian subsidiary Danaos Development, is planning to build shops, restaurants, cinemas and offices in the planned three-floor building. The center will employ some 1,000 people after it is finalized and another 360 during construction, the agency said.

EU newcomer Bulgaria has attracted a spate of foreign investment in real estate and new shopping malls over the last year and sees foreign direct investment rising to almost 5 billion euros this year, from a record 4 billion last year.

Intracom’s software unit wins 20 million euro EU deal January 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy.
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Intracom, Greece’s largest telecoms equipment manufucturer, said yesterday its software unit, Intrasoft International, won a 20-million-euro network contract for the European Commission.

Intrasoft will provide network support for about 40,000 end users in the EC, including its data, telephony, videoconferencing and television networks, for a six-year period, the company said in a statement.

“This is a key contract for the European Commission,” Intrasoft Chief Executive Athanassios Kotsis said in the statement. “It concerns business-critical activities which constitute the basis of its whole infrastructure.”

Intracom stock has gained about 6 percent this year and trades at about 30.3 times estimated 2007 earnings, a slight premium to its European peers which trade at about 28.6, according to Reuters Estimates.

Athens airport traffic attains new high January 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
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Athens International Airport (AIA) yesterday reported a new rise in both passenger and cargo traffic for last year.

In 2006, 15.1 million passengers used it, a 5.6 percent rise year-on-year, while the number of flights grew by 5.5 percent. Cargo traffic exceeded 120,000 tons, up by 3.6 percent from 2005. December was the month with the highest rise in passenger numbers (13.5 percent) from the same month in 2005.

AIA now has direct connections with 109 destinations in 49 countries. The Mideast and the USA were the two regions to which traffic recorded the highest increases (16.8 percent and 12.9 percent, respectively).

A poor Euroleague night for local clubs January 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.
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Dynamo overtakes Olympiakos; underdog Zalgiris stuns Aris

Olympiakos surrendered Group A’s second place to Dynamo Moscow last night with a 15-point loss, 84-69, in Russia. The two teams share 9-4 records with one round of first-stage group play remaining, but Dynamo’s victory last night gave it a better head-to-head record against Olympiakos, a 13-point winner of their encounter in Greece.

Tau Ceramica holds an insurmountable lead in the group with an 11-2 record while Efes Pilsen lies fourth, a win behind Olympiakos and Dynamo Moscow. The trio will battle for second, third and fourth places in next week’s final round of first-stage group play.

Olympiakos ends its campaign at home against German team RheinEnergie, the group’s bottom-placed team. The Piraeus team needs victory or risks slipping further in the group, which would give it a lower seeding for the next round’s draw.

Should Olympiakos lose and Efes Pilsen defeat Dynamo Moscow in Turkey next week, the combination would lock the trio on 9-5 records, a bad scenario for Olympiakos. The Greek club would end fourth because of a worse head-to-head record against both Efes and Dynamo. Wins by Olympiakos and Efes Pilsen would lift Olympiakos to second place. Wins by Olympiakos and Dynamo Moscow would preserve the status quo.

Dynamo Moscow led throughout the contest last night as it edged its way to the desired difference of 14 points or more.

Alex Acker led the scoring for Olympiakos with a total of 17 points. Dynamo Moscow’s Greek duo, Antonis Fotsis and Lazaros Papadopoulos, were among the Russian team’s leading players and scorers with respective tallies of 13 and 11 points.

Playing later last night, Aris suffered a shock 77-66 defeat against Group C’s last-placed Zalgiris in Lithuania. Zalgiris had lost 10 straight. A win would have assured the Thessaloniki team of a place in the next round. But it is now locked in a three-way battle with Pau-Orthez and Eldo Napoli, all on 6-7. Aris is placed fifth in Group C.