Titan Cement eyes APCC buyout

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Titan Cement has expressed its intention to acquire 44.2 percent of Egypt’s Alexandria Portland Cement (APCC) targeting its further expanding strategy in the country. Citing a relevant statement issued by the company, Titan will buy the stake for 21.64 Egyptian pounds per share on average from Alexandria Development Ltd, which holds 88.45 percent in APPC....


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CosmOTE tops subscription target in 2nd quarter

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CosmOTE leading cellular telephony company has announced its subscribers’ rate for the second quarter of the current year. Citing the relevant release, the company’s subscription rate recorded an increase of about 28 percent compared to the same figures for the respective period in 2001, reaching 3,211,607 subscribers.
During the same period of the year, CosmOTE realised 136,539 news mobile contracts, out of which 81.6 percent in the card phone sector and 18.4 percent to client contracts. The c...


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AGET Hercules records 4% jump in sales for 2001

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AGET Hercules cement industry, member of the Lafarge group, has issued its official report on the company’s performance for the previous year. As noted in the relevant release, the company was in such position to confirm that last year’s operations within the Lafarge Group, as its member, were very fruitful.
In particular, Hercules Group’s sales for 2001 presented an increase of four percent reaching 554 million Euros. The group’s operational income also increased by 18 percent compared to 2000...


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Eurostat surpasses Greece in GDP growth, report shows

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Record speed in the GDP growth rate, among the European Union states, was recorded by Greece in the first quarter of the current year.
According to figures provided yesterday by Eurostat, all the EU states, except Finland, showed an increase in their GDP in the first quarter of 2002. Greece comes first with a GDP growth rate of 4.3 percent compared to the same period last year. The growth rate recorded is 12-14 times higher than the Eurozone average, while it is three times higher than the Uni...


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Terrorism breakthrough just around the corner

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DNA tests have positively linked a terrorist suspect with a 1999 rocket attack against the German ambassador’s residence in Athens, the Greek police recently stated. Savvas Xiros was reportedly injured when firing the rocket at the German residence, and police discovered nine drops of blood at the site, now matching those of Xiros. The suspected terrorist, who was arrested when he was severely injured in a botched bomb attack on June 29, has been linked by Greek police to the terrorist group “No...


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Tax reforms on the cards

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Greek Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis has unveiled the first of a series of tax reform measures aimed at simplifying taxation procedures within the context of far-reaching tax reform. The reform package, which is expected to be submitted for approval in a week, will curtail both administrative costs and red tape, the Greek press said....


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Subsidies for fishing sector to strengthen current climate

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Greece’s fishing sector has finally drawn attention to a governmental body and new decisions have been taken on matter to enable the sector to develop further. This initiative attracts great attention in terms of its efficiency since this field can be one of the key economic factors of the country.
Three new measures to support Greek fishery are to be activated by the Ministry of Agriculture, whilst reinforcement operations are to be initiated in the country for the first time in order to expan...


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Credit card sales climb 22% to CYP 207.01 million

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Credit card sales continued to rise in the first six months of this year, with the value of local card transaction reaching CYP 207.01 million, up 22 percent compared to the same period last year, the Financial Mirror of Cyprus reported last week. The number of transactions also showed a healthy jump, climbing 18 percent to CYP 5.33 million, while the average increased from CYP 38 in 2001 to CYP 39 per transaction in 2002. According to figures released by JCC Payment Systems Ltd. (JCC), local ca...


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Social insurance deal with The Netherlands

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Cyprus and The Netherlands recently signed an agreement for cooperation in social insurance, which implements the principle of equality in the treatment of the Cypriots and Dutch people in the sector and guarantees the maintenance and transfer of social insurances to persons moving from one country to the other. The agreement, which also enhances bilateral economic relations, was signed in The Netherlands by Cypriot Ambassador to Amsterdam Evripides Evriviades and Secretary General of the Dutch ...


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Maltese bankers’ group on income tax act changes

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In view of the recent changes to the Income Tax Act (ITA) regulation withholding tax on investment income, including interest earned on bank deposits, and which became retroactively effective from the year’s inception, the Malta Bankers’ Association has recommended that customers reassess their individual positions. These customers, the association explains, may also possibly alter the instructions they had previously given to their bank. Any such requests should be made in writing, and be submi...


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M3 increases along with credit expansion

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The central bank of Malta has reported that in May broad money, M3, increased as domestic credit expanded and the net foreign assets of the banking system continued to grow. M3, which consists of currency in circulation and residents’ deposits with the banking system, put on 20.7 million Maltese pounds, or 0.7 percent. Bank deposits denominated in Maltese pounds accounted for almost the entire increase, as residents’ foreign currency deposits fell for the second consecutive month and currency in...


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EU committed to Helsinki resolution

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The EU is committed to the 1999 Helsinki EU Summit conclusions on Cyprus, as they have been reaffirmed by the European Council in Seville last month, Finnish Minister of Foreign Trade and European Affairs Jari Vilen stated during his recent visit to the island, quoted by CNA.
“We are hoping for the possibility to have a united island in the EU but that is not a precondition” for Cyprus to join the EU, Vilen said during a joint press conference with Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides. ...


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Diesel subsidises to farmers under way, says Klerides

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Finance Minister Takis Klerides has stated that the cabinet approved a subsidy on diesel for agricultural purposes, the setting up of a technical committee for farming debts, and a CYP 500,000 cash injection into the farmers’ social insurance fund, the Cyprus Mail daily reported last week.
Announcing the decision, Klerides said the decisions had been taken under the special agricultural policy being adopted by the government as of January 1, 2003.
Klerides said that according to the plan the g...


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Turkish role less constructive in peace talks, UN report shows

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In a recently issued statement, the UN Security Council noted that the Turkish Cypriot side has been “less constructive” than the Greek Cypriot side in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem and in this regard expresses its disappointment that progress remains slow and the June target date for agreement had not been met, CNA reported.
In a statement read out by the Security Council President, British permanent
representative to the UN, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, after the Council was briefed by th...


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Matav ups registered capital by HUF 490 mln

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Hungarian telecoms group Matav Rt announced its registered capital grew by HUF 490 million via a share issue on July 1. CIB Bank Rt purchased and the transferred back the 4.9 million shares, worth HUF 916 each. The shares were transferred back so that Matav would not have to repurchase the shares on the open market. The company said the five-year share option plan will require the issue of another 5.6 million shares in 2003 and another 6.5 million the year after. Three hundred and twenty workers...


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APV appoints members for Szerencsejatek board

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Hungary’s State Privatisation and Holding Rt (APV) sent out members of the Board of Directors of Szerencsejatek Rt, the state lottery company, and appointed a new board, APV was quoted as saying by Econews. The APV also saw eye to eye with former CEO Jozsef Gebler, who was replaced by Gabor Szekely effective July 5....


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Index.hu launches free dial-up Internet service

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Index.hu, an Internet portal, has introduced its free dial-up Internet service, called Ingyennet, to bridge the gap between telecom group Matav’s cancellation of discount tariffs earlier this month and the launch of new state-funded packages on August 1, according to Bluebull. Hungarians will have access to the new service, through analogue and ISDN phone lines, between 2am and 6pm on weekdays and 2am and 3pm on weekends in the coming weeks. The service is now under testing phase. PSINet Hungary...


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GlaxoSmithKline opens new vaccine plant in Hungary

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GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical groups, has launched a recently obtained and revamped vaccine production facility in the eastern town of Godollo. The Anglo-American company purchased the facility from Human Rt, a subsidiary of Israeli Teva. It plans to develop the plant into a top producer of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccines within the next three years. GSK, which has shelled out GBP 10 million for the Hungarian plant, anticipates it will be able to exp...


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ORTT kicks off inquiry against Pannon Radio

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ORTT, the Hungarian state media supervision board, has kicked off a pressing review of right-wing radio station Pannon Radio’s morning broadcast on July 4, ORTT spokeswoman Eva Vekony said. According to the board, the broadcast persuaded listeners to take part in the unauthorised protest at the Erzsebet Bridge that played havoc on traffic. No other information was disclosed concerning what possible actions ORTT might take against Pannon Radio....


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Synergon ups Infinity stake to 70% – report

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Synergon IT Rt, a Hungarian systems integrator, said it has upped its stake in Infinity, its Czech-based unit, to 66.68 percent from 50 percent plus one share. News of the increase was disclosed through the Budapest Stock Exchange’s information system. In the February-March period, Infinity recorded HUF 730 million sales, according to Econews....


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Hungary in 51st spot – Fraser Institute

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The Canadian Fraser Institute said in its latest report on the most economically free countries that Hungary ranks 51st out of 123 nations. The report was issued during the G8 summit in the Alberta town of Kananaskis. The institute assesses the level of economic freedom based on different factors like government size, legal structure, freedom of trade with foreigners, credit, labour and business regulations, and property rights’ security....


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CBA Trade clinches top spot in retail market

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CBA Trade Kft, a supermarket chain operator, clinched the No. 1 retail spot in Hungary as it recorded revenues of HUF 295 billion (1.21 billion Euros) in 2001. The ranking was determined by market research group ACNielsen Hungary Kft and disclosed in the Mai Piac trade paper, according to BBJ. Co-op Hungary Rt ranked second with hypermarket chain Tesco Global Stores Rt rounded out the top three. Their turnover figures amounted to HUF 260 billion and HUF 188 billion, respectively.
Some other gro...


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Ministry launches plan to offer new Net access prices

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Hungary’s IT and Telecommunications Ministry said Matav Rt, the country’s No. 1 telecom group, said it would keep its flat-rate Internet access package until the first of next month. In a statement, the ministry said it launched a plan wherein the government and ISPs would offer equal amounts of funding to ensure that clients get advantageously priced Net access packages.
According to the new plan, night time rates will be 85 percent cheaper than official telephone rates.
A group of 10 consume...


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Kovacs: Medgyessy’s claim on IMF secret is plausible

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Laszlo Kovacs, leader of the Hungarian Socialist Party and foreign minister, acknowledged that Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy’s claim that the country was able to keep its plans to join the IMF secret from the KGB for some time is plausible, Interfax quoted the foreign minister as telling the Hungarian International Press Association. Although Kovacs was never a member of the secret services, he admitted to participating in a small group working within the communist party about 20 years ago that...


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Poor market conditions force ITI to cancel IPO

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ITI Holdings media group did not carry out its planned initial public offering because of poor market conditions, a high offer price and worries about the ITI’s ownership structure lacking transparency, the company said in a statement, cited by Bluebull. ITI Holdings cancelled the IPO after the subscription closed. Media reports had claimed this IPO was going to be the largest seen on the Warsaw Stock Exchange since 2000. ITI Holdings controls the nation’s second largest commercial station TVN, ...


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lektrim energy scheme ready end-July – report

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Elektrim’s energy scheme should be ready by the end of July, Bluebull quoted an unofficial source as saying. “There are three options for Elektrim to choose from,” the source said. These are: creation of a new entity, consolidation within the group, or to keep the company structure as is and to slash costs. If the company were to decide on consolidation, it would entail an alliance between energy investment contractor Megadex with energy dealer Elektrim Volt. “Such a company would have an annual...


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Treasury says willing to give up 11% of TPSA

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Poland’s Treasury Ministry announced it would be willing to give up 11 percent of its shares in TPSA to stock exchange investors, WBJ reported citing the Puls Biznesu. Based on the report, the ministry had planned to issue a tender for the TPSA stake by December 2002. However, the ministry’s press office later denied such a claim. Treasury Minister Wiesaw Kaczmarek was quoted as telling the daily Rzeczpospolita that he is working on the next phase of TPSA’s sell-off, saying: “It’s not a final de...


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OECD: GDP growth for 2003 to reach just 2.5%

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Poland’s GDP growth for 2003 will stand at only 2.5 percent compared to the 3.1 percent government estimate, OECD said in its latest report. Main culprit for the laggard pace of economic growth is the decline of investments brought on by higher interest rates two years ago. “It is important to tighten fiscal policy next year,” the OECD report said. “If not, Poland might face many years of high budget deficits, high unemployment and larger public debt,” it added. This will likely happen if the co...


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Huta Czestochowa’s money woes

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Polish steel mill Huta Czestochowa must resolve its huge debt problem if it wants to keep operating until it is consolidated with state giant Polish Steel (PHS), WBJ quoted Huta Czestochowa’s President Wacaw Korczak as saying. “The synergy between Huta Czestochowa and the other four (PHS) mills is not as strong as the synergy within that group of mills,” Korczak said. “We have integrated production, so we don’t need to buy steel to increase our production and sales ... The primary achievement of...


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M&As to intensify in 2003 despite lacklustre H1

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Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in Poland will intensify in 2003 even though the first six months of 2002 showed a lacklustre performance, WBJ quoted Krzysztof Rozen, head of KPMG Corporate Finance for Central and Eastern Europe, as saying. “I would expect that the situation will start improving after the next six months,” Rozen said. “(Companies) are now coming out of the slowdown.”
Dealogic said in its latest report that M&A deals were worth USD 700 million, representing a 40 percent drop from...


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New, controversial ban on second-hand clothing

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Poland recently implemented a new and controversial government ban on second-hand textile and shoe imports even though many believe the challenging restrictions could leave scores of citizens without decent clothing, according to WBJ.
The new law, which was initiated to ensure that the country’s textile industry, worth GBP 40 million, will not falter and be whipped by imported second-hand fashions, valued at GBP 28 million.
Those who oppose the ban include fashion designers, actors and models....


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Security firms seeking consolidations with SMEs

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Security companies in Poland are increasing their efforts to consolidate thanks mainly in part to the sales of small and domestic companies; many banks are now selling off their security and cash-processing businesses, according to WBJ.
Securitas Polska head Pawe Rafalski noted that banks are giving up their internal security services and cash-processing businesses or divisions out-and-out because the majority of them are hoping to contract out these services. Securitas Polska purchased cash-pr...


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Belka resigns, many worry budget deficit will balloon

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In a surprise move, Marek Belka, finance minister and deputy premier in Poland’s left-wing government, resigned Tuesday before last after eight months in office amid news that Poland’s 2003 economic budget deficit would balloon to 4.5 percent of gross domestic product. Belka cited “personal reasons” for the resignation, saying his “energetic potential” in the post had been “burned out.” “It’s hard work. I’ve always said that in Poland the work of a finance minister is seasonal work,” Belka told ...


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CSSD on new cabinet

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The CSSD chair recently spoke with President Vaclav Havel concerning the formation of the new cabinet, which will have 16 members, according to PBJ. Besides Spidla as premier, four deputy chairs - CSSD’s Stanislav Gross (interior) and Pavel Rychetsky (justice), KDU-CSL’s Cyril Svoboda (foreign affairs) and US-DEU’s Petr Mares (culture) will join the cabinet.
Bohuslav Sobotka (finance), Jaroslav Tvrdik (defence), Petra Buzkova (education), Marie Souckova (health) Jaroslav Palas (agriculture) and...


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eEurope 2005: Writing future history

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EU on the right path to dream economy by 2010

The Europeans declared at Lisbon Summit the eager desire, determination and dedication to make the European Union the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy with improved employment and social cohesion by 2010. Racing to meet this objective eEurope Action Plans are being churned out, adopted and implemented over the recent years. eEurope 2005, which got the nod at the Sevilla European Council last month, provides a favourable environ...


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CAP reform must carry on

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There is no doubt that the European Union is in deep trouble over the principles on which to base its new agricultural policy. The first of those principles, as laid down by the Commission, is to change the focus of the support from production to producers. Indeed the document that was produced endorses the idea that the focus of aid should shift from production to the farmers themselves.
This principle triggered the past two reforms of the EU agricultural policy in 1992 and 1999. Now we have...


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US behind Trans-Afghan gas pipeline

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US government plans to support the implementation of a gas pipeline project carrying Turkmen gas across Afghanistan to Pakistan signal the increase of Washington’s role in the transportation energy supplies in the region under the watchful eye of Moscow. US Ambassador to Turkmenistan Laura E Kennedy said Washington fully backs the nearly 1,500-kilometre gas pipeline, which will be built along the Dovletabad (Turkmenistan)-Kandagar (Afghanistan)-Multan (Pakistan) route. It will have a capacity of...


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