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Greece-Turkey: bilateral business, trade, tourism and investment relations

Bilateral business, trade, tourism and investment relationsBilateral business, trade, tourism and investment relations

<<< Back to INVgr's Special Section on South-East Europe

Greek-Turkish relations enter new 'orbit'...

"Our trade and tourism ties are growing... What Turkey and Greece have achieved in recent years is indeed impressive! Turkey and Greece should continue to strive for new horizons in their relations, to the benefit of their peoples and democracies... Turkish-Greek partnership will not only benefit the two countries and their peoples, but it will also serve as an element of peace and stability both in our region and Europe at large." -- Abdullah Gul, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Turkey, writing in To Vima of October 21, 2003

"The two great national leaders [Greek and Turkish statesmen Eleftherios Venizelos and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk], on the basis of common sense and wisdom, contributed to Greek-Turkish co-operation and friendship which continued and flourished for some years... We do not want the next generations to live as we have lived... peace and love are deeply consolidated in the sentiments of the two peoples." -- Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey, speaking at a joint press conference, held by Dr. Costas Karamanlis, the Greek Prime Minister, and his visiting Turkish counterpart, in Athens on May 7, 2004

"We confirmed our coincidence of views with respect to the new 'orbit' into which Greek-Turkish relations have entered and ascertained with satisfaction the progress they are making." -- Dr. Costas Karamanlis, the Greek Prime Minister, speaking to reporters on May 7, 2004 after his meeting with the Turkish Prime Minister, who arrived in Athens for an official visit -- the first by a Turkish premier since 1988 -- heading a large delegation of government officials, entrepreneurs and media. Addressing this Turkish delegation, the Greek Prime Minister said that his country remains steadfastly adhered to the target of the reunification of Cyprus "so that Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots together can enjoy the benefits of participation in the European Union."

Karolos Papoulias
Karolos Papoulias, President of the Hellenic Republic (photo courtesy of the ANA)

"Greece is optimistic that Turkey's course towards Europe will also end in a full normalistion of our bilateral relations, but for this course to be completed, Ankara has to revise standing positions in its foreign policy and effect a real revolution in its domestic affairs. We hope that the required will exists. If it does not, then this course will stop in the middle. The European Union has a responsibility towards its citizens not to accept entry by states that fail fully to adapt to the [EU's] system of principles and values." -- Karolos Papoulias, President of the Hellenic Republic, addressing army officers at a reception at the Soufli army officers' club in the northern prefecture of Evros on April 23, 2006. The President celebrated Orthodox Easter Sunday with officers, NCOs and servicemen of the 50th Mechanised Brigade near the border with Turkey

"In this long path of five years [as Greece's Foreign Minister (1999-2004)], in the European Union, I think that my country, Greece, has had an important role to play. We are proud of our decision in Helsinki, which helped both to change the relations between the European Union and Turkey, but also helped Cyprus become a member... By the end of the year [2004], we will also be making a very important decision and Greece would very much like to see it as a positive decision, and that's on Turkey..." -- George A. Papandreou, former Foreign Minister of Greece, during his farewell press conference in Brussels on January 26, 2004; in 1997, he was awarded the Greek-Turkish peace and friendship award Abdi Ipekci for his efforts to strengthen relations between Athens and Ankara

"Unless something bizarre or peculiar should happen before December [2004], the Greek government will say 'yes' to Turkey because we believe that this will make our part of the world a European neighbourhood, because it is good for the Turkish people and for Turkey's neighbours, who will feel that their problems can be solved more quickly, more easily, in a more European way." -- Yiannis Valinakis, Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece, speaking to N-TV, the Turkish television channel, on May 8, 2004

"Greek companies will continue to seek new opportunities for investment and joint ventures with Turkish companies, seeking both to tap into the far larger and more lucrative Turkish market, and also to penetrate markets further to the east, such as the Caspian Sea Basin and Central Asia. Greece's door to that underdeveloped treasure trove will surely be Turkey. Just the same, Turkish companies will increasingly look to penetrate Balkan markets, and share in the billions of dollars in international aid and loan packages, in conjunction with their Greek counterparts, whose sense of unease over Greek-Turkish security problems restrains them from sharing the potential that Balkan opportunities may offer. It may well come down to the essence of the business deal: win-win regional trade access for Greek and Turkish companies. The private sectors in both countries need each other for effective penetration of geographically integrated regions. Greeks can cross Turkey into Central Asia, and Turkey can cross Greece into the southern Balkans. Each side opens the door for the other, maximises opportunity and profit, and helps spread the benefits that accrue from co-operation in commerce, industry, currency stabilisation, construction, health systems, food processing, banking, insurance, tourism, environmental protection, and so many areas in need of desperate investment to rebuild the lives of all the people of South-East Europe." -- John Sitilides, Executive Director, The Western Policy Centre, addressing the Equity International "South-East Europe Finance Conference" in Washington, D.C. on November 14, 2000.


In January 2002, INV International Ltd. launched a unique new INVgr section that aims to promote and strengthen the bilateral business, trade, tourism and investment relations between Greece and Turkey.

Business between Greece and Turkey has gained impetus due to an improvement in political ties over the last 5-6 years, bringing a fivefold increase in the volume of two-way trade. In excess of 25 bilateral agreements have been signed between the two countries over the past five years. Greece's trade deficit with Turkey jumped 71.7% in 2003 compared with the previous year, totalling USD 477.19 million. Turkey's exports to Greece rose by 52.8% last year to USD 902.64 million, while Greek exports to Turkey rose 36.16% to USD 425.45 million. Bilateral trade exceeded USD 1.3 billion in 2003, up 47.1% from the previous year and sharply up from EUR 200 million in 1999. "We can soon raise this to EUR 5 billion," Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, said at a luncheon hosted by the Greek-Turkish Business Forum in Athens on May 7, 2004. It was the first official visit by a Turkish Prime Minister since 1988.

Latest Greek-Turkish bilateral trade data

Bilateral trade between Greece and Turkey exceeded USD 2.17 billion in the 10-month period January-October 2006, with Greek exports to Turkey marking a larger proportional increase than Turkish imports to Greece reaching USD 865.6 million, marking a substantial 62.1% year-on-year increase over 2005. Greece's trade deficit with Turkey nevertheless has increased reaching 10.7% over the same period, due to a 40.1% increase in Turkish exports to Greece, reaching USD 1.309 billion. (Source: Greek-Turkish Chamber of Commerce (GTCC)).

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Golf courses in Turkey

INVgolf - Golf courses in Turkey

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NBG Group reports increased net profit for fiscal 2006

Finansbank's results particularly encouraging

February 22, 2007 -- State-run, ATHEX-listed National Bank of Greece (NBG) announced yesterday that its full-year 2006 group net profit rose by 36% year-on-year, broadly in line with market expectations, on strong growth in retail credit. NBG, the first Greek bank to venture into Turkey last year with the acquisition of Finansbank, said net interest income grew by 19% to EUR 1.892 billion.

"Finansbank's results were particularly encouraging," said Chief Executive Takis Arapoglou in a statement. "Its profitability confirmed our expectations, exceeding EUR 156 million."

The NBG Group, also present in Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Albania and Cyprus, said its overall loan portfolio expanded by 20% to EUR 37 billion, Finansbank not included.

Source: Greek News Agenda.

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Eurobank EFG to acquire 70% of Tekfenbank

Eurobank EFG

Eurobank EFG and Tekfen Group form strategic alliance

May 8, 2006 -- EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA (Eurobank EFG) and Tekfen Holding (Tekfen Group) agreed today to join forces in the Turkish financial services market. According to the agreement, Eurobank EFG will acquire 70% of Tekfen Group's holding in Tekfenbank together with its wholly-owned subsidiary, Tekfen Leasing (together the ‘bank’).

Tekfen Group will remain a strategic shareholder in Tekfenbank, holding almost all of the remaining shares in the Turkish bank. The consideration for the transaction implies a total valuation for Tekfenbank of approximately USD 260 million based on a Net Asset Value of the Bank estimated at closing of USD 80 million. The partners agreed that, as part of the overall transaction, Tekfenbank will acquire full ownership of EFG Istanbul Securities, currently a subsidiary of Eurobank EFG. The transaction's closing is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to take place in the third quarter of 2006.

With  570 employees, Tekfenbank is a universal bank that provides a complete range of banking products and services in Turkey. The bank has an efficient and selective network of 30 branches, which covers the most affluent areas of the country. Tekfenbank is focused on small and medium-sized (SME) business customers. This SME customer base is well-diversified and highly loyal, while the bank’s retail clients comprises usually of higher-than-average earners. The bank’s loan portfolio totalling EUR 200 million is considered to be of a very good quality, reflecting the management’s conservative credit policy and risk appetite. Total assets reached EUR 468 million at the end of 2005.

Tekfenbank's strategy for the medium-term envisages strengthening its SME presence by (1) attracting additional customers through its existing branches, (2) extending its distribution network, (3) increasing per customer exposures, and (4) driving the cross-sell ratio, especially with regards to affluent clients. Tekfenbank also intends to move into new growth business segments, such as mortgages and asset management. Furthermore, the bank, in conjunction with its future subsidiary EFG Istanbul Securities, intends to enhance its activities in capital markets.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the Tekfen Group is one of Turkey’s most respected privately-owned corporate groups and is active in the areas of contracting, agri-industry, real estate development and financial services. With total assets amounting to USD 1.6 billion, the Tekfen Group's 2005 turnover reached USD 936 million.

Eurobank EFG is the third-largest Greek banking group -- National Bank of Greece SA and Alpha Bank SA are the largest and second-largest, respectively -- with a presence in Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Poland, Turkey, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom and Ukraine. Listed on the Athens Exchange (ATHEX), the bank ranks second in terms of market capitalisation (approximately USD 13 billion).

Eurobank EFG considers that Turkey will experience high growth rates in the medium-term, both as an overall economy and as a banking system. Eurobank EFG believes that Tekfenbank offers a strong operating platform to enter such a market as (1) Tekfenbank operates state-of-the-art infrastructure allowing for quick expansion and introduction of new products, (2) the careful policy of the Tekfen Group and of the current management has created a bank of a very high quality and (3) the Tekfen Group remains as a strategic partner in Tekfenbank following Eurobank EFG's acquisition. Furthermore, this transaction is in line with Eurobank EFG’s practice of entering new countries with selective investments and aiming to add shareholder value through organic growth.

Through this cooperation the two shareholders expect to combine their strengths in the Turkish financial services market -- Eurobank EFG's know-how on traditional and contemporary banking products will be leveraged along with the Tekfen Group’s extensive presence and knowledge in the Turkish market. In addition, the financial strength of the two shareholders and their commitment in Tekfenbank secure the bank’s medium and long term growth.

The HSBC Group, through its investment banking offices in London and Istanbul, acted as sole financial advisers to Tekfen Group on the disposal of 70% of its holding in Tekfenbank. EFG Istanbul Securities, a subsidiary of Eurobank EFG, acted as adviser for the transaction on behalf of Eurobank EFG.

Source: Eurobank EFG.

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Alpha Bank SA confirms Turkish ambitions

Alpha Bank SA

Cautiously following in National Bank of Greece SA's footsteps, Alpha Bank SA says it plans on gaining a foothold in Turkey. Bumper profits mean that money is not an obstacle

By Elaine Green

April 21, 2006 -- Alpha Bank last week revealed it is targeting extensive growth in the Balkans. As predicted in the April 14 edition of the Athens News, Alpha also confirmed tentative interest in acquisitions in Turkey.

Although the bank's emphasis is on organic growth, acquisitions are also in its sights, Yiannis Costopoulos, chairman of the bank, said at its annual shareholders' meeting on April 18. Any acquisition in Turkey would not be of the size of the National Bank of Greece's acquisition of Turkey's Finansbank and entry into these markets would be "careful and limited", he added.

By contrast, NBG is paying USD 2.7 billion for Finansbank. According to Athens News' information, Alpha has not made any formal approach to the two small Turkish banks - Alternatifbank and Sekerbank - it has considered, whilst medium-sized Tekfenbank is also understood to be of interest.

Rightwing backlash

Alpha's softly, s˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙tting, given pockets of nationalist sentiment in Turkey. The latest was expressed by pension fund OYAK's CEO, Yildirim Turker, who told Turkish reporters that it would not sell out to Greeks at any price, and reportedly praised nationalist sentiments as "noble".

In Romania, Alpha has found no such resistance and is expanding rapidly. Dimitrios Mantzounis, the bank's chief executive, said it plans 40 new units in Romania, 30 in Bulgaria and 11 in Serbia, raising its total network to 267 units in South-East Europe by the end of 2006.

"Whilst these countries, due to their size and better growth prospects, are the focus of our strategic interest, this does not imply that we are not looking into other markets that offer opportunities for expansion," he added. What he failed to mention was that Alpha is also reportedly bidding for a number of banks in the Balkans as well. Serbia's Vojvodjanska Banka is one such target, with final bids due at the end of this month.

The bank made bumper profits last year. "2005 was particularly important and productive for us. Our activities continued to grow rapidly, at a rate higher than the market average, in both Greece and southeastern Europe, in an environment where competition is continuously becoming more intense," Mantzounis said.

Net profits attributable to shareholders after tax were EUR 502.2 million compared to EUR 408.2 million last year. Profits before taxes from Greek retail banking recorded a massive 47%, while it was even higher in the Balkan network, reaching 64%.

"High profitability led to a return on equity of 23.1% versus 21.8% in 2004, while total equity grew to EUR 3.1 billion at the end of 2005. Capital adequacy remains at a high level with the total capital adequacy ratio standing at 13.5% despite the strong growth of our activities in 2005," he added.

Local economic reforms helped

Costopoulos talked up the progress of the Greek economy in 2005, describing it as "a year where economic activity remained at high levels, whilst a number of structural changes took place supporting long-term prospects".

Yiannis Costopoulos
A firm plan for growth: Yiannis Costopoulos, Chairman of Alpha Bank
plans to expand the bank's network across South-East Europe

"Amongst some of the most significant structural changes which took place in 2005 were regulatory adjustments providing more flexibility in the labour market, the extension of working hours for retail stores and the introduction of the legal framework for state and private sector partnerships," he added.

He praised measures aiming at improving efficiency of the public utility companies (DEKOs), the clampdown on tax evasion, the continuation of the privatisation programme and the acceleration of the measures for the liberalisation of the energy market.

The general shareholders' meeting voted to pay EUR 0.84 per share dividend as well as green-lighting an offer of four new shares for each ten existing ones and a new share buyback programme.

Source: Athens News.

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Intralot SA sees Eden in the East

The gaming company is eyeing acquisitions in China, a lottery bid in Turkey and has landed a EUR 35 million contract in Taiwan

April 21, 2006 -- Intralot's shares rose last week amid news that the [ATHEX-]listed gaming subsidiary of Intracom is to get a foothold in the Far East. Intralot's CEO Constantine Antanopoulos told the Athens News that Asia is a priority for development. It is especially interested in buying gaming firms in China.

Targets should be "small and smart", he said, using Intralot's existing presence in Turkey as a case in point. Intralot's operations in Turkey began with local players in which they jointly established a successful lottery company, Inteltek.

Constantinos Antonopoulos
Constantinos Antonopoulos, CEO, Intralot SA
(photo courtesy of Intralot)

"The gaming market is really beginning to open up in China," he said. Changes are planned in sports betting and gaming machine law in China, Antonopoulos explained. Hong Kong-based analysts confirm regional markets could yield investment prospects for the private sector. "There has been a lot of talk in the last couple of months, about private companies setting up and applying for gaming licences in China," one such analyst told this newspaper.

A Deutsche Bank research report said that new regulations are set to support games such as the local Keno as well as video-lottery machines. There is a possibility that the Chinese government might double the payouts on lotteries, which could in turn potentially double sales. China's lottery market is strictly controlled by the government, and foreign investors cannot participate in their own right in offering lottery games or software at present.

Rumours were also confirmed last week that Intralot has landed a new contract in Taiwan. On April 19 it announced that it has been selected as the preferred bidder by China Trust Commercial Bank (which is licence holder for Taiwan lottery) to provide the IT system, terminals and maintenance services for the local lottery. The project runs over seven years and amounts to 35 million euros of revenue for Intralot at the first phase alone.

Lottery bid in pipeline

In Turkey, Intralot was one of the first Greek companies to enter the market, and as group chairman Socrates Kokkalis has recently stressed, the group believes the country has great investment potential. He also confirmed that Intralot will bid for Milli Piyango, the Turkish National Lottery.

The tender has not been launched yet, but when there is a development, Intralot will inform investors and the stock exchange, officials added. The National Lottery is run by the Turkish state and has just under USD 1 billion in revenues. Local conglomerates as well as OPAP, the state-controlled Greek Organisation of Football Pools, are also eyeing bids.

Intralot's first venture into Turkey was via Inteltek, in which it is a 25% shareholder. The consortium operates Sportoto in Turkey, an OPAP-style football-betting player. It has proved very profitable, Intralot director for Turkey and senior officer for Inteltek, Costas Georgoulas, told the Athens News in an earlier interview. "We have been heartily welcomed here and found it a wonderful environment to do business in. From the early days we overcame potential barriers and developed a good and trusting relationship with the government, Turkcell and everyone concerned," he said. Turkcell owns 50% of the consortium.

Still mulling over Telsim stake

Separately, parent group Intracom still has an option to acquire 10 percent of Turkey's mobile player Telsim. Kokkalis said his firm has not yet decided on whether to acquire the 10% stake.

The lower end of analysts' estimates put the value of the stake at EUR 380 million, although since Vodafone acquired Telsim for USD 4.55 billion, a sale price of over USD 500 million is expected for the 10% stake, they add.

Source: Athens News.

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Turkey -- where only fools rush in?

Alpha Bank and Eurobank EFG are not ready to announce a deal in the wake of National's mega-buy. On the contrary, they prefer a watch-and-wait strategy

By Elaine Green

April 14, 2006 -- Economic diplomacy has always been further ahead than its political counterpart when it comes to Turkey and Greece, analysts reckon. In the late 1990s, when relations started to warm again between the two countries, it was the business community that was at the forefront of the thaw, a leading banker pointed out to the Athens News.

Following the National Bank of Greece's (NBG) acquisition of Turkey's Finansbank earlier this month, there are numerous deal scenarios running rife. Whilst the road has opened up for other banks to follow suit in the medium term, some reports would have the reader believe that the likes of Eurobank EFG and Alpha Bank are ready to announce tomorrow a new Turkish banking acquisition. Indeed, almost every day last week reports were released with different rumours linking almost all leading Greek banks with every plausible target in Turkey.

The reality is that in the longer term the NBG buy has seemingly opened the way for further deals but, as one banker remarked, "timing is everything" and the Turkish market "could probably not stomach another Greek buy of a Turkish bank with the next few months".

Reactions in Greece have been positive -- but if a Turkish bank were to take over a Greek bank, the nationalists would surely come out of their dens, just as they have in a few minority demos in Istanbul, observers remark. Yet a significant Turkish investor in a Greek bank may soon be closer to fact than mythology.

Turks on NBG board?

In the case of NBG, its ownership structure is set to change. Already it lies somewhere between a state-controlled and private bank, due to the high percentage of institutional investors with stakes, although all are under 5%. The Greek state has ultimate control over policy and makes top appointments. Yet NBG's ownership of Finansbank could act as a trigger to transform the Greek bank's structure, an NBG source told this newspaper.

"This is an aspect of the deal I have not so far seen reported, but it is a very significant one," he added. The structure of NBG is likely to change as a result of the deal, he said. Asked if this would mean that Finansbank Fiba Holdings could buy into the bank at a later stage, he declined to comment, but said that the Turkish deal would transform the nature of National.

Fiba Holding chairman Hüsnü Özyeğin said he would like to take a stake in NBG if one had been available as part of the deal, but this is not the case at present, he told us, apparently leaving the door open for such a future possibility. Clearly NBG is not quite ready for a Turkish shareholder yet -- despite Özyeğin's roots being tied closely with Greece. His family is of Turkish-Cretan origin. He can communicate in basic Greek and has an obvious admiration for the country and NBG.

Alpha denies Denizbank buy

Meanwhile, talks are underway between other Greek banks and Turkish targets, but the protagonists are keen to avoid the limelight.

Alpha Bank last week released an announcement on Turkey's Denizbank. "In relation to certain articles in the financial press which indicate Alpha Bank as having expressed interest in participating in a sale process of the Denizbank, Alpha Bank announces that the articles in question express presumptions of their authors , and do not reflect the reality," officials said. Denizbank has an estimated value of EUR 2.35 billion.

Turkey's Alternatifbank and Şekerbank are also not on its immediate shopping list, executives maintain. "The press is linking almost every bank in Turkey with us since the National Bank of Greece's acquisition of Finansbank," a source at Alpha told this newspaper. "Officially, it is not in our business plan to acquire a bank in Turkey, but to expand in the Balkans," he added.

"Unofficially, we are looking around the Turkish market very informally, but we have not got as far as pinpointing a target yet," he said. The sale of 51% of Turkish bank Şekerbank to listed Dutch bank Rabobank collapsed in February, following a Turkish court ruling that the sale price of EUR 78 million offered by Rabobank was too low. Rabobank is to pay EUR 141 million for the stake, which it declined to do.

Turkey's Tekfen Bank is seen as the most plausible takeover target in the pipeline for Alpha, however, sources say.

Eurobank EFG CEO blows cool on buys

Rumour mongers have also linked Eurobank EFG with an imminent buy of Şekerbank. But Nicholas Nanopoulos, chief executive offer, told this newspaper that this is "just press talk", adding that the bank is not at the stage of focusing on any specific targets in Turkey yet. However, he did not deny interest in eventual acquisitions, but said EFG was watching the market "to see how it develops".

Source: Athens News.

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  Major foreign strategic investments in Turkey's banking sector

TAŞ BNP Paribas (France) acquired 50% of the holding company for the bank
Koç Bank UniCredito Italiano (Italy) acquired 50% of the holding company for the bank
Yap i ve Kredi Bank The Koç/UniCredito Italiano (UCI) partnership acquired a 57.4% stake in the bank
Disbank Fortis (Belgium / The Netherlands) acquired an 89.34% stake in the Turkish Foreign Trade Bank (better known as Disbank)
Finansbank NBG (Greece) acquired an initial 46% stake for EUR 2.3 billion (see further details of this deal below)
Garanti Bank Dogus Holding AS, a Turkish conglomerate that owns 55.1% of Garanti, the third-largest privately-owned bank in Turkey with assets of USD 21.7 billion (as at July 30, 2005), sold 25.5% of the total stock to GE Consumer Finance (GECF), the global consumer lending unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE)

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From National with love

Greece's leading bank has become the proud owner of one of Turkey's most dynamic financial players

By Elaine Green

April 7, 2006 -- Some Turks might be wary of Greeks bearing gifts, but the Ozyegin family have welcomed with open arms National Bank of Greece's offer to buy Turkey's Finansbank. In a landmark deal paving the way for other Greek enterprises to buy into Turkey's would-be EU economy, NBG is set to pay EUR 2.3 billion for an initial 46% stake. The buy has been dubbed as the largest ever overseas investment by a Greek company.

After approvals have been granted towards the second half of July, NBG will prepare for a public offer on the Istanbul Stock Exchange to gain a controlling stake of Finansbank.

The market liked the news, with NBG shares up over EUR 2 apiece on April 4, despite trading being suspended the day before and the fact that it will fund the buy via a EUR 3 billion rights issue to help pay Finansbank as well as fuel further regional acquisitions. Finansbank ranks fifth in Turkey by assets of 11.61 billion euros. It has 5.2% of lending market share, 208 branches and more than 1.7 million clients.

Turks and analysts pegged the deal as an endorsement of Turkey's efforts to join the European Union and a sign of greater cooperation to come between the two nations. Turkey started accession talks in October and EU member Greece has been one of its strongest supporters in this regard.

One over on the Yanks

NBG beat out much bigger US rival, Citigroup. Indeed NBG chairman and chief executive Takis Arapoglou was a former top executive at Citigroup. "No doubt he played up the geopolitical strengths of Greeks over American investors and also knew from the inside the weak spots of Citigroup," one industry observer speculated.

Asked by this newspaper why NBG was chosen over Citigroup, the chairman of Finansbank, Husnu Ozyegin, said that the two banks share a common culture and interest in developing their banking activities in southeast Europe. He also commented upon the sincerity and warmth the Greeks had shown him.

Ozyegin declined to comment if this could lead to further joint acquisitions or what these developments might comprise. Both parties also confirmed to this newspaper that NBG will not acquire any of the international activities of Finansbank, except in Malta. Citigroup was known to find the Romanian assets of Finansbank as one of its most attractive features. Reports had earlier claimed that Citibank was prepared to offer more than EUR 3.5 billion for 56% of the target.

Anthimos Thomopoulos, NBG's chief financial officer, declined to say how much above the deal price offer per share it might be prepared to go to. He noted that the deal price is 7.16 new Turkish liras per share. NBG does, however, intend to keep Finansbank listed, he said. Finansbank's Netherlands, Russia and Romanian assets are not part of the sale.

Fiba Holding will remain as a shareholder of Finansbank with a 9.68% share, and the Ozyegin family, along with the executive management team, will continue to hold their current positions. The remaining 44.32% stake of Finansbank is owned by various local and foreign investors. The transaction will include Finansbank's subsidiaries Finans Invest, Finans Leasing, Finans Portfolio Management and IBTech, Fiba said.

Arapoglou boasted this deal made his bank "a true regional player", adding that "Turkey's economy is the biggest and fastest developing in southeast Europe. For the National Bank, its expansion into Turkey is an inseparable part of its strategy - especially in light of its European perspective". The purchase will increase NGB's reach to a region with 142 million residents, he said. The new NBG entity will be of a formidable size, with assets of EUR 69 billion and 1,059 branches, just under half of which are located outside Greece.

"Both the economic and political risks were taken into consideration to reach a decision, but it was decided it was worth making the investment," Arapoglou added.

Finansbank Chairman Hüsnü Özyeğin will retain his 10% stake in Finansbank under the terms of the deal. Özyeğin said that "Greece has gone through the same convergence process ahead of EU entry that Turkey is going through now".

The move is seen as a green light for other Greek banks to make acquisitions in the country. Until now only Eurobank has been present in Turkey via a modest brokerage operation. Readers may remember that the Athens News last year predicted NBG's entry into the Turkish market and named Finansbank as an attractive potential target. Other banks such as Alpha and Piraeus also told this newspaper they were waiting for NBG to make the first move into the neighbouring country. Denizbank, a Finansbank peer, is now tipped as a likely target for Alpha.

NBG will not stop there. Buys in Serbia and Romania remain on the agenda, Thomopoulos told us. NBG has been shortlisted for Serbia's Panonska Banka and has been invited to submit a binding bid for Vojvodjanska Banka, a target also tipped by this newspaper as being on NBG's list more than a year ago. Egypt's market looks good, Thomopoulos confirmed, whilst not wanting to commit himself to giving a view on Alexandria Bank, the country's flagship privatisation launched last week.

Numerous speakers at the Economist Conference's "New Priorities" event last week (April 4-6) referred to the merits deal as well as Piraeus Bank's pioneering effort for the sector in Egypt via an earlier buy.

Source: Athens News.

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Greece, Turkey seek to boost trade ties

Kürşat Tüzmen (R) visits George Alogoskoufis in Athens (photo courtesy of the ANA)

April 5, 2006 -- Greece and Turkey are seeking to boost trade ties by establishing regular co-operation, Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said today.

After a meeting with Turkey's visiting Minister of State for External Trade, Kürşat Tüzmen, Alogoskoufis told reporters that ways would be found of increasing the volume of trade.

"I reiterated to Mr. Tüzmen Greece's standing policy of supporting Turkey's European outlook coupled with adherence to EU specifications. Turkey's incorporation into the EU will have a beneficial impact for both countries and for the wider region," he added.

Welcoming Greece's position over Ankara's EU entry bid, Tüzmen said the two countries shared a complementary role.

He also noted that the private sector was ahead with ministries in both countries lagging slightly, welcoming National Bank of Greece SA's acquisition this week of Finansbank AD, which he said demonstrated the level of confidence between Greece and Turkey.

Only 10 Turkish companies are operating in Greece compared to 228 Greek firms with a presence in the neighbouring country.

"Our aim is to increase the number of firms doing business in both countries... Over the last three years, the volume of bilateral trade has doubled," Tüzmen said.

Trade data

  • The trade balance between the two countries remains in favour of Turkey.

  • In 2005, the trade deficit was 245.5 million US dollars. In 2004, Turkey was the seventh-largest recipient of Greek exports, accounting for 4.52% of total sales abroad.

  • Turkey ranked 15th amongst countries that exported to Greece, with a 2.32% share.

  • On the basis of Turkish data, Greece is 13th among recipients of Turkish goods at 1.9%, ranking 34th on the basis of exports towards Turkey at 0.6%.

  • According to 2004 data, Greek exports to Turkey in recent years have been dominated by fuel (29.9%), cotton (23.7%) and plastics (14.3%).

  • In the same year, Turkey exported a wide range of manufactured industrial goods to Greece including iron (14.4%), vehicles (10.3%), machinery (7.1%), electrical sound equipment (6.5%), and iron products (5.5%).

Source: ANA.

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NBG Group to acquire Finansbank AS

Finansbank AS

Özyeğin family nets EUR 2.3 billion for 46% stake

April 5, 2006 -- State-run National Bank of Greece SA (NBG) announced it agreed to pay the Turkish Özyeğin family EUR 2.3 billion for a 46% stake in Finansbank, Turkey's fifth-largest private bank.

NBG's latest acquisition marks the largest foreign investment ever made by a Greek company in Turkey and the first major multi-billion-euro Greek-Turkish deal to date.

In May, NBG will seek shareholders' approval for a rights issue of up to EUR 3 billion to finance the acquisition. The subscription period will run from the end of May through to the beginning of June, while the share capital increase is expected to be completed in July.

Özyeğin's Fiba Holding AS of Turkey will purchase Finansbank's international holdings, excluding Malta, from NBG for USD 580 million.

Commenting on the transaction, Takis Arapoglou, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of NBG, said: "This is a historic moment for NBG as it takes this transformational step to becoming the leading international banking group in the South-East European region. The addition of such a high quality business and management team strengthens us enormously." Arapoglou added that Finansbank's name will remain intact in Turkey.

Commenting on the deal, Hüsnü Özyeğin, Founder and Chairman of Finansbank, said: "It gives us great pride that Finansbank, with its unique approach to banking is recognized by an international bank and as a demonstration of this faith the executive management team of Finansbank is requested to continue in their current positions. Our new partner will further expand the scope of our stakeholders and customers, especially with its strong presence in the South-East European region."

The Greek financial group has undertaken to retain Finansbank's local management, led by Harvard-educated billionaire Hüsnü Özyeğin, although Finansbank's board of directors will consist of five members appointed by NBG and two members from Finansbank -- of which one should be Özyeğin himself.

Since Finansbank is listed on the Istanbul bourse, NBG's mandatory tender for up to 44.3% of Finansbank remaining shares should be launched in July -- following the completion of the Greek bank's acquisition of an initial 46% stake -- and concluded in October. If the tender process proves to be successful, NBG will control 90.3% of Finansbank. But in case minority shareholders will not fully subscribe to NBG's tender, and assuming the Greek banking group does not have any other expansion plans, any unused capital will need to be returned to shareholders by the fourth quarter of this year.

"The Turkish banking sector is expected to be one of the most dynamic banking sectors in Europe," a joint statement said, adding that the key features of the transaction were as follows:

  • NBG has agreed to acquire from FIBA Holding and its affiliates a 46.0% interest (437 million Tradable Shares) in the Ordinary Shares of Finansbank and 100.0% (100 shares) of the Founder Shares for a total consideration of USD 2,774 million (TRY 3,737 million, EUR 2,291 million) of which USD 451 million (TRY 607 million, EUR 372 million) relates to the Founder Shares and USD 2,323 million (TRY 3,129 million, EUR 1,918 million) relates to the Ordinary Shares.

  • The combination of Greece's largest bank with one of Turkey's leading mid-market banks creates the leading South-East European banking group, with a presence in six countries outside Greece. The complementary geographic fit diversifies NBG's footprint into the high growth Turkish market.

  • At the agreed purchase price of TRY 7.16 per Tradable Share and the agreed purchase price for Founder Shares, this represents a price of 3.6x 2005 year end pro-forma consolidated book value and 17.8x pro forma 2005 earnings. The price paid for the Tradeable Shares is in line with the one month and three month volume weighted average price of the Finansbank shares traded on the Istanbul Stock Exchange.

  • NBG intends to launch a Mandatory Offer for the remaining Ordinary Shares held by the minority shareholders of Finansbank in the second half of 2006 following receipt of the required regulatory approvals and its acquisition of the Founder Shares and the 46.0% interest in the Ordinary Shares. If NBG acquires less than a 4.01% additional stake (38 million Tradeable Shares) of the Ordinary Shares through the Mandatory Offer, FIBA Holding and its affiliates have agreed to sell to NBG sufficient Ordinary Shares such that NBG will achieve a 50.01% ownership position in Finansbank upon completion of the Mandatory Offer.

  • FIBA Holding will retain a residual stake of 9.7% (92 million Tradable Shares) in Finansbank, subject to any additional shares sold to NBG in order for NBG to achieve a 50.01% stake in Finansbank upon completion of the transaction. This residual stake will be subject to put and call arrangements with FIBA Holding starting in 2008 for two years, including a performance-based option price.

  • An ongoing minority ownership and role as Chairman of Finansbank by Hüsnü Özyeğin, the founder and current Chairman of Finansbank, will provide continuity of leadership. In addition, the management team of Finansbank will continue to manage Finansbank post the completion of this transaction.

  • At closing, expected to occur in mid-July, FIBA Holding will purchase from Finansbank its international operations (excluding Malta) for a purchase price of USD 580 million (EUR 479 million). An international accounting firm has provided an opinion to the board of Finansbank on the fairness of the purchase price. For the year ended and as at December 31, 2005, net profit for the International Operations is estimated at TRY 114 million (EUR 72 million) and shareholders' equity was TRY 364 million (EUR 223 million). Finansbank is expected to realise a pre-tax gain on sale of the International Operations of TRY 417 million (EUR 255 million) in the second quarter of 2006, which will remain with Finansbank at closing.

  • NBG intends to launch a rights offering observing the pre-emption rights for existing shareholders (the "Rights Offering") to assist in the financing of the transaction. The Rights Offering will be for up to EUR 3.0 billion, which may also be used in part to finance other acquisitions in the region. The Rights Offering is expected to be launched in June 2006 subject to the approval of shareholders at a general meeting, which is scheduled to take place on April 27. NBG has received a pre-underwriting commitment in respect of the full amount of the Rights Offering from a group of international banks.

  • Subject to applicable regulatory consents and NBG shareholder approval in respect of the Rights Offering, the overall transaction is expected to be finalised following completion of the Mandatory Tender Offer to minority shareholders in Finansbank during the third quarter of 2006.

Forbes ranks Husnu Özyeğin in 512th position among the world's richest people for the year 2006. Özyeğin, who resides in Izmir, has extensive international holdings, including a shopping mall in Romania and banks in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Switzerland, Ireland, Russia as well as Romania. During a conference call on April 5, Özyeğin pointed out that, among many other benefits, the NBG-Finansbank alliance should bring both banks' respective customers together from areas such as tourism, shipbuilding and commerce.

NBG believes the combination of NBG and Finansbank is strategically and financially attractive for the major Greek financial group. Since 2000, NBG has steadily built up a strong presence in the region, through acquisitions and greenfield start-ups. Its South-East Europe ("SEE") regional strategy aims at diversifying its operations and enlarging its footprint to cover a region with attractive economic prospects. The combination with Finansbank will create the leading banking group in the dynamic economies of SEE, with a presence in six countries in the region outside Greece:

  • Banking operations in Greece, Turkey, Albania, Bulgaria, FYROM, Romania and Serbia.

  • Total assets of EUR 68.6 billion, customer loans of EUR 35.9 billion and customer deposits of EUR 47.2 billion as at December 31, 2005.

  • Over 10 million customers, serviced through a combined branch network of 1,030 branches.

With its strong mid-market position in Turkey, recognised strengths in retail
and SME banking, high ROEs and a highly regarded management team, Finansbank
represents a strong partner for NBG in the Turkish market. The controlling
interest in Finansbank is being acquired on attractive financial terms:

  • Expected to be EPS accretive after closing;

  • An acquired 2005 P/E multiple of 17.8x which compares with the equivalent 2005 P/E multiple for NBG of 18.0x; and

  • Material future synergy potential, particularly in respect of the opportunity to optimise Finansbank's funding structure given both the stronger credit ratings of NBG and NBG's customer deposit-to-customer loan surplus.

Details of the transaction

NBG has agreed to acquire from FIBA Holding and its affiliates, a 46.0% interest (437 million shares) in the Ordinary Shares of Finansbank and 100.0% (100 shares) of the Founder Shares for USD 2,774 million (EUR 2,291 million) of which USD 2,323 million (EUR 1,918 million) relates to the Ordinary Shares and USD 451 million (EUR 372 million) relates to the Founder Shares.

Upon receipt of the necessary regulatory approvals and after completion of the initial acquisition of 100.0% of the Founder Shares and 46.0% of the Ordinary Shares, NBG intends to launch a Mandatory Offer for the remaining 44.3% of the Ordinary Share capital of Finansbank not controlled by FIBA Holding. If NBG were to acquire all of the Ordinary Shares pursuant to the Mandatory Offer, it would have a resulting ownership position of 90.3% (858 million Tradable Shares). If NBG acquires less than a 4.01% additional stake (38 million Tradable Shares) through the Mandatory Offer, FIBA Holding has agreed to sell to NBG sufficient Ordinary Shares such that NBG will hold 50.01% of the Ordinary Shares in Finansbank upon completion of the Mandatory Offer.

FIBA Holding will retain a residual stake of 9.7% (92 million Tradeable Shares) in Finansbank, subject to any additional shares sold to NBG in order for NBG to achieve a 50.01% stake in Finansbank upon completion of the transaction. This residual stake will be subject to put and call arrangements with FIBA Holding for two years from the second anniversary of the closing of the acquisition of the initial share purchase from FIBA Holding, including a performance based option price.

NBG expects to incur pre-tax fees and costs associated with the transaction and the subsequent rights offering of approximately EUR 75 million. These costs are expected to be all incurred during the 2006 financial year.


NBG expects material synergies to arise from the acquisition over the medium term. The principal sources of such synergies are expected to arise from:

  • The wholesale funding advantages for Finansbank, as part of an overall more strongly rated group. Finansbank's long term credit ratings are B1 by Moody's and BB- by Fitch. This compares to the long term credit ratings of A2 by Moody's, A- by Fitch and BBB+ by Standard & Poor's for NBG.

  • As at December 31, 2005, NBG has a customer loans-to-deposits ratio of 70.6% versus an equivalent ratio of 137% at Finansbank. NBG therefore expects to achieve material interest cost synergies through the use of its EUR-denominated deposit surplus to fund Finansbank's high loan growth.

  • Optimisation of the combined group capital structure, with Finansbank benefiting from the economic risk capital diversification benefits of belonging to a well rated and diversified international banking group.

  • Shared best practice between the two banks, with NBG's recognised strengths in mortgages, insurance and asset management, and Finansbank's strengths in credit cards and SME banking.

  • Optimisation of the SEE cost base in areas such as back office processing and IT.

Sale of international operations

At closing, FIBA Holding will purchase from Finansbank the following international operations (together the International Operations) for a purchase price of USD 580 million (EUR 479 million):

  • 41.8% of Finansbank Romania SA; and

  • 100.0% of Dutch-based Finans International Holding NV, which comprises subsidiaries in Russia, Switzerland, The Netherlands and a 40% interest in Finansbank Romania SA.

Finansbank will retain ownership of Finansbank Malta Ltd., a corporate banking business used to support Finansbank's Turkish banking operations.

For the year ended and as at December 31, 2005, the net profit after tax for the International Operations was TRY 114 million (EUR 72 million) and the book value was TRY 364 million (EUR 223 million). Finansbank is expected to realise a gain on sale of the International Operations of TRY 417 million (EUR 255 million) in the second quarter 2006, which will remain with Finansbank at closing.

Finansbank's Board of Directors has received a fairness opinion from an independent international accounting firm on the value of the International Operations.

Rights issue

As at December 31, 2005, NBG had a core tier I ratio of 8.9% and a tier I ratio of 12.3%. Pro forma for the anticipated sale of Atlantic Bank, NBG has a core tier I ratio of 9.9%. NBG intends to undertake a rights issue for up to EUR 3.0 billion as part of the financing for the transaction. NBG's  Board of Directors has called for an EGM to approve the Rights Offering.

The proposed Rights Offering structure is as follows:

  • Offering Type: Rights offering

  • Securities offered: Newly-issued NBG ordinary shares offered in subscription to NBG ordinary shareholders

  • Offer size: Up to EUR 3.0 billion

  • Subscription rights: Granted and traded on the Athens Exchange (ATHEX)

  • Listing of Rights: ATHEX

  • NBG lock-up: 180 days

NBG has received a pre-underwriting commitment in respect of the full amount of the Rights Offering from a group of international banks.

Timetable and required approvals

The transaction is expected to close in July, after having obtained all the necessary approvals. Following the closing, NBG will launch a Mandatory Offer for the remaining minority shareholders. Completion of the Mandatory Offer is expected around October 2006.

The General Meeting for NBG shareholders to approve the Rights Offering is expected in May, while the subscription period is expected to start in June. The new shares would be expected to start trading during July.

The transaction will be subject to customary approvals from the Turkish Banking Regulator (BRSA), together with certain other regulatory approvals including the consent of the Bank of Greece. The necessary approvals are expected within approximately two months of signing. Furthermore, the Mandatory Offer will involve filing of documentation with Turkey's Capital Markets Board (CMB). The CMB will approve the tender offer price and related documentation.

NBG has obtained all relevant board approvals to proceed with the acquisition of the controlling shareholding and the Rights Offering. NBG will not require shareholder approval for the transaction, while it will need shareholder approval for the Rights Offering in connection with the transaction.


Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs are acting as joint financial advisors to NBG. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Pekin & Bayar are acting as legal counsel to NBG.

Morgan Stanley is acting as financial advisor to FIBA Holding and its affiliates. Verdi ve Yazici is acting as legal counsel to FIBA Holding.

Greek banks closely watch Turkish banking sector

The Turkish banking sector is expected to be one of the most dynamic banking sectors in Europe benefiting from: a population of 70 million people; a 2005 nominal GDP of EUR 295 billion; a reformed and well regulated banking sector underpinned by strong macroeconomic reforms; and low banking sector penetration rates relative to Western European benchmarks.

Greek banks are interested in acquiring Turkish credit institutions, Arapoglou, who also serves as President of the Hellenic Bank Association (HBA), told Turkey's Anadolu news agency on November 8, 2005. He said that Greek banks were closely watching the sector in the neighbouring country. Arapoglou was in Istanbul to meet with his Turkish counterpart, Ersin Özince, Chairman of the Banks Association of Turkey.

The NGB Chairman and HBA President noted that foreign investors accounted for approximately 66% of trade on the Istanbul Stock Exchange compared to about 35% for the Athens Exchange (ATHEX). The vast majority of these are institutionals, he added.

ATHEX-listed NBG, which to date maintained a Representative Office in Istanbul, headed by Antonis Kamaras, is a member of the HBA.

Sources: INVgr, NBG, Isotimia, Anadolu.

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Aktor and Enka land USD 1.9 billion contract in Oman

Turkish-Greek joint venture to build Phase One of one of the largest master-planned, mixed-use developments ever to be developed in the Middle East

Signing ceremony
Signing ceremony (photo courtesy of the Oman Daily Observer)

December 30, 2005 -- A consortium consisting of Istanbul-based Enka Insaat ve Sanayi AS (Enka Construction & Industry Co., Inc.) and Aktor, the construction business unit of Greece's Elliniki Technodomiki TEB Group, signed a memorandum of agreement for the first phase of construction of an ambitious new project: the Blue City at Al Sawadi in the Sultanate of Oman.

Blue City's Phase One project was awarded to the Turkish-Greek consortium by Al Sawadi Investment and Tourism Company (Asit), developers of the new city that will be located approximately 100 km. north of Muscat, Oman's capital, and a 25 minutes' drive from the Seeb International Airport.

Under the terms of the agreement, Aktor will undertake construction worth USD 1.9 billion, with the final segment due for completion in 2012.

Master plan of the ambitious Blue City
Master plan of Oman's ambitious Blue City development (photo courtesy of the Oman Daily Observer)

The overall project, at a total estimated cost of EUR 20 billion, contains 10 phases over 15 years and is one of the largest master-planned, mixed-use developments ever to be developed in the Middle East. It will cover 34 square kilometres of coastline near the capital and is expected to attract approximately two million tourists annually.

Phase One will include four hotels with a total of around 1,000 rooms, two world-class PGA golf courses, a shopping complex and 5.5 square kilometres of freehold residential real estate, a tourist village, heritage village, shopping complex, amphitheatre, city hall and all associated amenities such as a primary school, nursery and kindergarten, health centre, police station, post office and a mosque. The first phase will also include a sophisticated water-recycling facility for the irrigation of all landscaped areas, including the golf courses.

In 2005, through the absorption of Aktor SA, the ATHEX-listed Elliniki Technodomiki TEB Group implemented its strategic plan aimed at expanding and penetrating the countries of South-East Europe and the Middle East, undertaking the construction of major projects, such as the Phase One development of the Blue City. The Group has a backlog of EUR 2.1 billion, 42% of which relates to projects outside its domestic (Greek) market.


Enka, Turkey's leading construction company in Turkey and one of the largest in the world, is also the parent company of the Enka Group, which comprises of 24 subsidiaries engaged in different fields of activities. Projects which are undertaken by Enka Construction as main contractor, are then assumed by the group members concerned according to their fields of specialisation.

This makes it possible for Enka to offer a full range of services. With more than half a billion dollars turnover, 1.300 technical and administrative personnel, 9,000 workers and a plant and equipment park worth EUR 250 million, Enka Construction operates on three continents.

Sinan Tara is Chairman of the Board of Enka, Anees Issa is Asit's Chairman, while Ahmed Abubaker Janahi, the man behind Blue City vision, serves as Asit's Vice Chairman.

Speaking to the Oman Daily Observer about the experience and skills that the Turkish and Greek construction groups bring to the project, Dr. Fari Akhlaghi, CEO of ReeMoon, is the client representative on the project, said: "Both companies, Aktor and Enka, are very experienced. Both are multi-disciplinary and they very much complement one another in terms of their capabilities. This project offers a significant opportunity to the two companies and their respective countries in the region and in specifically in Oman."

Sources: INVgr, Oman Daily Observer, ANA.

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Intracom SA has right to buy up to 10% of Turkish mobile operator Telsim from Vodafone Group PLC

Intracom SA - Telsim Mobil Telekomunikasyon Hizmetleri AS

December 15, 2005 -- Socrates P. Kokkalis, Chairman of the Intracom Group, said today that his ATHEX-listed company has an option to acquire up to 10% of Telsim Mobil Telekomunikasyon Hizmetleri AS, Turkey's second-largest mobile operator, from Vodafone Group PLC. He made these comments at the first repeated shareholders' meeting of Intracom's Extraordinary General Assembly, held at the Greek telecommunications and information technology group's headquarters in Peania, Athens.

Kokkalis referred to the recent acquisition of Telsim by Vodafone this week, when the world's leading mobile telecommunications company beat six rivals, most of them from the Middle East, to win an auction for Telsim with a USD 4.55 billion bid in an open auction tender where the highest bid won. Vodafone is acquiring the Turkish mobile operator from the Turkish Savings Deposit and Investment Fund (SDIF).

Commenting on the transaction, Arun Sarin, Chief Executive of Vodafone, said in a statement: "We are delighted to have won the tender for Telsim. With a larger population than every European country except Germany, and a penetration level of approximately 53%, the Turkish market represents a major growth opportunity. Our extensive operating experience and unique set of products and services positions us to compete effectively in such a youthful market and deliver a superior mobile experience to Turkish customers."

Vodafone believes its acquisition of Telsim represents a unique opportunity to gain control of a mobile business in one of the European region's biggest markets and is consistent with Vodafone's strategy of increasing its exposure to growth markets.

According to a Vodafone statement, the principal benefits to the company are:

Exposure to the attractive and growing Turkish market

  • Population of 72 million people -- the fourth largest market in which Vodafone controls an operator

  • Market penetration of approximately 53% with significant further growth potential

  • Fast-growing and young population, forecast to grow at 1.4% CAGR until 2010 and with approximately 47% under the age of 25

  • Population expected to be greater than Germany's by 2017

Full control of a fast-growing number-two mobile operator

  • 43% revenue growth in the first 7 months of 2005 compared to the same period in 2004

  • Customer growth of 53% and 2.8 million net additional customers in the 12 months to June 30, 2005

  • Approximately 9 million customers

Uniquely positioned to capture the benefits of a turnaround of Telsim

  • The business has historically been under-managed and suffered from under-investment in its network and customer propositions

  • Vodafone to leverage its position in GSM networks, branding and successful customer propositions to turnaround the business

  • Turkey's proximity to other Vodafone operations enables meaningful One Vodafone programme benefits including roaming opportunities from Turkish communities present in other Vodafone markets in Europe

  • Attractive corporate market opportunity

Transaction overview
Vodafone has agreed to acquire substantially all of the assets and business of Telsim from the SDIF. Vodafone is not acquiring Telsim's liabilities, including those related to Motorola and Nokia, other than certain minor employee-related liabilities.

In addition to the consideration price, Vodafone will be required to pay USD 0.4 billion of VAT which will be recoverable against Telsim's future VAT liabilities. Vodafone expects to recover this payment over the short to medium term and this has been included in Vodafone's valuation of Telsim.

The transaction is subject to approval from the SDIF Board and Turkish regulatory, legal and competition authorities. Vodafone expects the transaction to close in the first quarter of calendar year 2006.

Investing to capture future growth
Vodafone intends to make a significant investment in the operations and network of Telsim to deliver a superior product and service offering to the Turkish market. Vodafone expects that over the short term Telsim will require approximately USD 1 billion of additional funding.

The acquisition is expected to enhance Vodafone's revenue and EBITDA growth profile, however Vodafone expects Telsim to make net losses in the short to medium term as it invests in the network, building scale and a stronger customer and brand proposition. Consequently Vodafone expects the transaction to be dilutive to adjusted earnings per share in the short to medium term.

GSM 900 operator Telsim went live in May 1994.

Listed on the Athens Exchange since June 28, 1990, Intracom is a provider of information and communications technology solutions and primarily serves the telecommunications, government, banking, enterprise and defence sectors. Headquartered in Athens, Greece, the company has offices in 15 other countries and world-wide has approximately 5,450 employees. Focusing on South-East Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, Intracom reported total revenues in 2004 of EUR 620.4 million. The company is expected to announce shortly the outcome of cooperation talks with AFK Sistema JSFC (LSE: SSA) of Russia. Founded in 1993, Sistema develops and manages market-leading businesses in fast-growing service-based industries, including telecommunications (MTS, MGTS, Comstar United Telesystems), technology (NIIME and MIKRON, STROM telecom, Sitronics), insurance (ROSNO), banking (MBRD), real estate (Sistema-Hals), retail (Detsky Mir Group) and media (SMM).

Sources: Vodafone Group, Intracom, INVgr.

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Aegean Business Bank (ABB) to become first Greek-Turkish commercial bank

Aegean Business Bank (ABB)

December 4, 2005 -- An application to establish the first-ever joint Greek-Turkish commercial bank is expected to be filed with the (central) Bank of Greece next month.

According to a business plan unveiled by the Aegean Business Bank (ABB)'s investors, the to-be-established bank aims to open 26 branches with 360 employees in Greece and Turkey over the next five years, along with a flotation on both the Athens and Istanbul bourses. The new bank has ambitious plans and forecasts deposits to come close to EUR 2 billion with loans exceeding the EUR 1 billion mark during its first five years of operations.

Plans for this new venture were unveiled in Athens by Panayiotis Koutsikos, Chairman of the Greek-Turkish Chamber of Commerce (E.T.E.E.), Dimitris Alexopoulos, a representative of the founders' committee, and Ali Tuna Turkay, a representative of the Izmir Chamber of Commerce. The plans were made public during the "Money Show 2005" forum, which was held at the Athens Hilton Hotel on December 3-4, 2005.

ABB will commence its operations with a share capital of EUR 60 million. It will emphasis on serving corporate clients with activities in both neighbouring countries, but will also be focusing on consumer banking (mortgages, consumer loans, credit cards), bancassurance (the bank is currently already in discussion with an insurance group in view of offering insurance products), mutual funds, leasing, investment banking, etc.

Ekrem DEMIRTAS (L) shaking hands with Panayiotis Koutsikos
Ekrem DEMIRTAS, President of the Executive Board, Izmir Chamber of Commerce (L) shaking hands with Panayiotis K. Koutsikos, President, Greek-Turkish Chamber of Commerce, and Secretary General, Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI)

ABB is the result of extensive market research and the need for closer entrepreneurial ties between the two countries, according to a company statement. The brainchild of this new bank is believed to be the E.T.E.E. along with a group of bankers, who in February 2005 started bringing the idea to life.

Sources: ABB, ANA, INVgr.

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Intralot SA increases participation in Inteltek to 45% from 25%

Spor Toto Organisation

Intralot SA

November 29, 2005 -- Athens-based Intralot SA, a leading global supplier of integrated gaming and transaction processing systems, announced today it agreed to purchase a further 20% stake in Inteltek, the Turkish sports betting operator, for EUR 67 million. With the completion of this agreement, Intralot will increase its stake in the company from 25% to 45%. Inteltek has the exclusive contract to manage sports betting in Turkey for eight years on behalf of Ankara-based Spor Toto Organisation, Turkey's sports betting player similar to Athens-based, ATHEX-listed Greek Organisation of Football Prognostics SA (OPAP). The deal is subject to approval from Turkish authorities.

In 2005, which Intralot said is the first year of full operation of betting in Turkey, the game's turnover is expected to surpass USD 850 million. Since August 2005, the game has been offered to the Turkish public through a network of 4,000 points of sale (POS), which will be further expanded in 2006. The expansion of the sales network, the increased media publicity and the continuously increasing interest in the game in the Turkish market are expected to enhance the penetration of betting over the next few years.

Constantinos Antonopoulos, CEO, Intralot, commented: "The increase of our participation in INTELTEK strengthens the Intralot Group's presence in the promising Turkish gaming market and is expected to offer the Group increased participation in future earnings from the management of sports betting games in the country. Intralot's investment in Inteltek will be the largest investment a Greek company has ever made in the neighbouring country [Turkey]."

The 20% was acquired from the third founding partner, Technology Holding, and Intralot has effectively got joint management control of Inteltek together with Turkcell, the Turkish mobile player, which was given first refusal on the buy. But since Inteltek is non-core for Turkcell, it did not see it as a priority, thus enabling Intralot to acquire the stake.

Listed on the Athens Exchange (ATHEX: INLOT), Intralot develops and delivers innovative, custom-made products and value added services to state-licensed lottery organisations and financial services providers world-wide. Intralot has 33 subsidiaries, eight business offices, more than 1,900 employees in 32 countries on five continents, and expects to report 2005 revenues of EUR 500 million. The company boasts a broad portfolio of products and services, extensive know-how of Lottery, Betting and Video Lottery operations, global experience in sports games, and cutting-edge technology.

For fiscal 2005, Inteltek is on target for a turnover of around USD 1 billion, after seeing tremendous annual growth. A source familiar with the matter noted that Intralot plans two more gaming acquisitions in Turkey, one of which is the Turkish National Lottery. The Greek multinational, which is member of the Intracom Group of Companies, is optimistic about acquiring Turkey's National Lottery through a soon-to-be-launched international tender. The Turkish Privatisation Authority is waiting for the government to pass a new law that will enable the privatisation to be launched by the end of this year.

Kostas Georgoulas is Intralot Turkey's director and Inteltek's assistant general manager.

Sources: Intralot, Intracom, INVgr.

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BSTDB funds Ankara airport development projects

August 5, 2005 -- BSTDB, the Thessaloniki-based Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, approved a loan of EUR 18 million for construction projects at Ankara's Esenboga Airport. The 12-year loan recipient is the TAV Yatirim Yapim ve Isletme A.Ş. -- made up of the Turkish construction groups Tepe and Akfen, the project's sponsors. TAV is the abbreviation for Tepe-Akfen-Vie.

The project concerns the expansion, design, construction, operation and maintenance of the new terminal station serving domestic and international flights which is expected to triple the airport's overall annual capacity to up to 10 million passengers.

The financing of the project for the amount of EUR 196 million has been secured through Bayerische Hypo- und Vereinsbank AG and includes, among others, sponsorships and commercial loans from a number of banks and organisations such as the BSTDB and Proparco (Societe de Promotion et de Participation pour la Cooperation Economique), a subsidiary of the French Development Agency (AFD) dedicated to private-sector financing.

BSTDB is an international financial institution established by Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. With an authorised capital of SDR 1 billion (approx. USD 1.5 billion), the BSTDB supports economic development and regional co-operation by providing trade and project financing, guarantees, and equity for development projects supporting both public and private enterprises in its member countries. Since its commencement of operations in 1999, BSTDB has approved projects and trade finance operations totalling over USD 675 million. BSTDB is rated long-term Baa2 and short-term P2 by Moody's.

Sources: MPA, BSTDB.

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Greek wind energy producer C. Rokas SA and Iberdrola of Spain sign MoU with Turkish BEST A.Ş.

July 22, 2005 -- Arcadia Metal Industry C. Rokas SA, the ATHEX-listed producer of wind energy in Greece, and its strategic partner Iberdrola Energías Renovables II, SA of Spain signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Balıkesir Elektromanyetik Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş. (BEST A.Ş.) of Turkey regarding a new co-operation for the development, construction and operation of five wind parks throughout Turkey, with a combined capacity of 225 MW.

The successful fulfillment of this agreement will be an important step towards the reinforcement of the expanding activity of C. Rokas in the Balkans.

The first Greek producer to explore wind energy and currently market leader in Greece, Athens-based C. Rokas has a 40% share of the market (December 2004). In December last year, Iberdrola, the largest wind energy producer in the world, acquired a 21% stake in C. Rokas for EUR 31.5 million with an option to acquire up to 49.9% in the next few years, in a move to gain access to Greece's expanding wind energy market. This alliance marked the first strategic investment by an international producer in the Greek wind sector.

In 2004, approximately 85% (or EUR 28.5 million) of C. Rokas's total revenues came directly from electricity production through the company's 12 wind parks with an installed capacity of 188.5 MW. Market experts expect this percentage to increase to 88% by 2008. C. Rokas is expected to record 22.8% EBT CAGR (2004-2008), according to Artion Securities SA. The company's aggressive 2005-2008 investment plan should transform it into a significant energy player. The plan envisions the development of new wind parks with an installed capacity of 410 MW over the next four years, with a total cost of EUR 410 million.

Today, the total installed electricity capacity in Greece (12,700 MW) is dominated by former state monopoly Public Power Corporation SA (PPC, also known as "DEI" in Greece).

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Bilateral Greek-Turkish relations discussed at Rodopi Chamber

Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Rodopi

June 8, 2005 -- Necmi Uğurlu, Commercial Counsellor at the Turkish Embassy in Athens, paid a visit to the Komotini-based Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Rodopi in North-East Greece. He was accompanied by senior staff from the Turkish consulate.

The Turkish officials met with Nikolaos I. Angelidis, First Vice-President of the Rodopi Chamber, and exchanged views on issues concerning bilateral trade relations and ways to strengthen bilateral business relations between Greece and Turkey. Other issues that were discussed included the promotion of Greek products in Turkey, the banking system in Greece's neighbouring country, and the adjustments that need to be made to meet EU demands.

The Macedonian Press Agency (MPA) reported Angelidis as saying that the first step of Greece's co-operation with Turkey passes through Thrace due to the Muslim community in the region, which can assist in the efforts for the economic co-operation of the regions on both sides of the borders, thereby forming a bridge of co-operation and friendship.

Source: MPA.

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AmCham business delegation to Turkey

June 2, 2005 -- The American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, in co-operation with the Turkish-American Business Association (TABA), is planning a business delegation to Istanbul from October 13-14, 2005 to be held at the Conrad Hotel.

The purpose of the delegation is to create new partnerships between Greek and Turkish businesspeople and the program will focus on business matchmaking meetings. Morning plenary sessions will be dedicated to the exchange of views with Turkish ministerial officials.

If you would like to participate in this results-oriented mission, contact Angela Boyatzis at the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce on +30 210 699 3559, ext. 21 or by E-mail: Fax: +30 210 698 5686.

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Update on Gr. Sarantis SA's commercial agreement with Hunka Kozmetic Sanayi A.S.

February 14, 2005 -- According to a Gr. Sarantis SA executive, the Greek cosmetic firm's recently-signed commercial agreement with Hunka Kozmetic Sanayi A.S. of Turkey is proceeding better than expected. In view of these positive developments, Gr. Sarantis is considering acquiring a minority stake in the Turkish firm.

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Update on Intralot SA's latest developments in Turkey

Intralot SA

December 20, 2004 -- In 2002, the Inteltek consortium, in which ATHEX-listed Intralot SA participates with a 25% stake, successfully deployed an integrated on-line system on behalf of Ankara-based Spor Toto Organisation, Turkey's National Football Prognostics Organisation, while in 2004, it launched the Fixed Odds Betting game, for which the company has undertaken the full operational services.

Inteltek successfully completed its pilot-testing phase of the Betting game in Turkey in the beginning of August 2004. As at June 30, 2004, betting was offered through 2,000 points-of-sale (POS) and is expected to reach 4,000 POS by the end of the year. Moreover, the company has started the first phase of its advertising campaign in Turkey in September 2004.

Intralot is a leading provider of state-of-the-art integrated gaming systems to lottery organisations world-wide. The firm delivers cutting-edge game design, network integration, transaction processing and value added services, ensuring efficient, secure and profitable operations for Intralot's customers.

Based on its expertise, know-how and substantial experience, Intralot develops, operates and supports custom-made gaming solutions, including numerical, video and sports lotteries, as well as fixed odds betting, pari-mutuel (pooled) wagering, and instant lottery games.

With subsidiaries and business offices around the globe, today Intralot dominates in Europe and has secured a strong presence in the developing South American market. As the third largest lottery supplier in the world, Intralot, which has established a foothold in North America and the Pacific Rim, seeks to consolidate its leadership position in the global market.

Athens-based Intralot is an affiliate of the Intracom Group. Established in 1977, the Intracom Group is comprised of an international network of independent companies specialising in the design and implementation of integrated telecom projects, the development and integration of IT systems and networks, the production of telecommunication equipment, the development of application software and the provision of services, as well as in the manufacture of steel structures and electromechanical equipment, energy production, construction, the development of integrated lottery systems and real estate development.

With its headquarters in Athens, the Group includes subsidiaries and participations active in Greece and Cyprus, the Balkans (Albania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Serbia, FYROM, Romania, Turkey), Western and Central Europe (Belgium, Luxembourg, Hungary, Czech Republic, Croatia), the Middle East (Jordan, Dubai/United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia), USA and Russia. In the rest of its markets, Intracom is active through local offices and international partnerships. In addition to Group member companies, Intracom's global network of affiliated companies is engaged in the trade, production, support and management of lottery software applications and related electronic systems, as well as in insurance brokerage, investment management, participation holdings, trade, etc.

Socrates P. Kokkalis
Socrates P. Kokkalis 

Socrates P. Kokkalis is the founder, Chairman and majority shareholder (25.47% as at February 18, 2005) of the Intracom Group of Companies and Chairman of Intralot.

Sources: INVgr, Intracom, Intralot.

Related link:

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4th Greek-Turkish Information Society Forum to be held in Istanbul

4th Greek-Turkish Information Society Forum
[ 4th Greek-Turkish Information Society Forum ]

All You Want to Know About FP6 (Sixth Framework Programme) and Beyond

Dates: November 25 & 26, 2004
Venue: Conrad Istanbul, Turkey
Funded by: Information Society Initiative for South-Eastern Europe (ISIS) project
Organised by: Turkish Informatics Foundation (TBV)
Co-organised by: Federation of Hellenic Information Technology & Communications Enterprises (SEPE)
Contact: Christina Troumpetari on +30 210 924 9540 or +30 210 924 9541

November 22, 2004 -- The 4th Greek-Turkish Information Society Forum titled "e-Transformation for All in South-East Europe" -- Challenges and Opportunities is scheduled to take place in Istanbul, November 25 and 26, 2004.


The ISIS project aims at improving the awareness of IST (Information Society Technologies) issues in South-East Europe and promote the participation of institutions and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) based in this region in the CORDIS Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). The objective of this event is to form potential new projects and consortia for the FP6 (Calls 4 and 5) and other European Union projects.

The Istanbul Forum will mainly address the strategic objectives of IST Call 4 and 5. Craft - collective research and collaborative research will also be addressed by the forum. Features of this Greek-Turkish Forum include opportunities for building up consortia for FP6 as well as international co-operation and business matchmaking opportunities.

There will be a number of networking sessions as well as informative sessions during the Forum. The topics of these sessions will be decided based on the "Proposal for Project Ideas" submitted by researchers from South-East Europe. The event, which follows the IST 2004 held in The Hague earlier this month, has the ambitious goal of being the IST 2004 event of South-East Europe.

Furthermore, the Forum will offer its participants the possibility of exploring opportunities for business matchmaking for ICT companies of the region.

CORDIS (Community Research & Development Service) FP6

CORDIS Information Society Technologies

The FP is the EU’s main instrument for research funding in Europe. The FP is proposed by the European Commission and adopted by Council and the European Parliament following a co-decision procedure. FPs cover a period of five years with the last year of one FP and the first year of the following FP overlapping. FPs have been implemented since 1984. The Sixth FP (FP6) has been fully operational since January 1, 2003.

At the Lisbon summit in March 2000, EU governments called for a better use of European research efforts through the creation of an internal market for science and technology -- a European Research Area" (ERA). FP6 is the financial instrument to make ERA a reality.

CORDIS FP6 (Sixth Framework Programme) aims to contribute to the creation of a true ERA. ERA is a vision for the future of research in Europe, an internal market for science and technology. It fosters scientific excellence, competitiveness and innovation through the promotion of better co-operation and coordination between relevant actors at all levels. Economic growth increasingly depends on research, and many of the present and foreseeable challenges for industry and society can no longer be solved at national level alone.

Strategic objectives addressed in Call 4

  • 2.4.1 Nanoelectronics

  • 2.4.2 Technologies and devices for micro/nano-scale integration

  • 2.4.3 Towards a global dependability and security framework

  • 2.4.4 Broadband for All

  • 2.4.5 Mobile and Wireless Systems and Platforms Beyond 3G

  • 2.4.6 Network Audio Visual Systems and Home Platforms

  • 2.4.7 Semantic-based Knowledge Systems

  • 2.4.8 Cognitive Systems

  • 2.4.9 ICT Research for Innovative Government

  • 2.4.10 Technology-enhanced Learning

  • 2.4.11 Integrated biomedical information for better health

  • 2.4.12 eSafety - Co-operative Systems for Road Transport

  • 2.4.13 Strengthening the Integration

FP6 IST Call 5

Strategic Objectives addressed in Call 5

  • 2.5.1 Photonic components

  • 2.5.2 Micro/nano based sub-systems

  • 2.5.3 Embedded Systems

  • 2.5.4 Advanced Grid Technologies, Systems and Services

  • 2.5.5 Open Platforms for software and services

  • 2.5.6 Research networking testbeds

  • 2.5.7 Multimodal Interfaces

  • 2.5.8 ICT for Networked Businesses

  • 2.5.9 Collaborative Working Environments

  • 2.5.10 Access to and preservation of cultural and scientific resources

  • 2.5.11 eInclusion

  • 2.5.12 ICT for Environmental Risk Management

FP6 Co-operative research horizontal themes


  • Collective Research

  • SMEs (IT or non-IT), universities, research and NGOs from the region should form collaborations for receiving funds from FP6

  • Total funding: TBA

  • Deadline: TBA

INTERREG III : Cross-border co-operation between Turkey and Greece

  • Cross-border infrastructures

  • Economic development and employment

  • Quality of life - Environment - Culture

  • SMEs, state institutions, universities, research centres and NGOs of Turkey and Greece should form collaborations for the non-R&D and R&D IST aspects of the above-mentioned sub-topics to receive funds

  • Total funding: EUR 35 million

  • Deadline: TBA

  • Tools: TBA

Who should attend?

The Forum aims at attracting a fairly broad audience consisting of IST-NCPs, academicians, researchers, representatives of small and medium-sized enterprises (both IT and non-IT SMEs) and government officials, mainly from the South-East European region. The participants are anticipated to be original project idea owners, potential partners for these projects and members of the Information Technology community in South-East Europe.

Organisers and co-organisers

The Forum is organised by the Turkish Informatics Foundation (TBV) and co-organised by the Athens-based Federation of Hellenic Information Technology & Communications Enterprises (SEPE). It has been funded by the European Commission through the ISIS project, an Accompanying Measure Project of the 5th Framework Programme (FP5) (IST-2001-33537).

About the ISIS project

ISIS project

The ISIS project is a major effort to develop awareness about IST, facilitate the formation of project consortia and promote cooperation between partners in the South-East European region and the European Union.

The deployment of innovative IST's applications and services is becoming a key factor for growth and welfare in all parts of Europe. This is especially true in the particular case of South-East Europe (SEE), which includes Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and other countries in this dynamic region. There are many issues related to Information Society that need to be addressed, discussed and resolved in these countries. It is conjectured that sharing each other’s concerns, views and experiences and collaborating in producing solutions will be beneficial for all these countries. This project aims to do just that.

ISIS FP6 Partner Search

ISIS has developed a Web-based partner search tool for the FP6 IST programme. The idea is to provide a communication medium for SMEs interested in participating in IST projects. The tool welcomes everybody to create a profile for their companies, express their interest in IST objectives and give other companies the opportunity of finding them for FP6 project proposals. The tool offers an easy to use search component that enables users to set values for different parameters and see the list of companies in the company database which satisfy the criteria.

Past events

In the framework of the ISIS project, SEPE in co-operation with TBV organised the 3rd Greek-Turkish Information Society Forum, June 6-8, 2003, at the Sofitel Capsis Hotel on the isle of Rhodes. The objectives of the Forum were the exchange of ideas and the promotion of the co-operation on innovative applications and services of Information Society between the two countries as well as the promotion of collaboration in South-East Europe.

Among other past events held in the same framework, the Bulgarian Association of Information Technologies (BAIT) organised the 4th Interbalkan IT Forum in Sofia, October 6-7, 2003. An ISIS Western Balkan Workshop was held in Belgrade, October 27-29 last year, while the First ISIS conference was held on September 25, 2002.

ISIS partners

  • Planet SA (Co-ordinator) (Greece)

  • SEPE - Federation of Hellenic Information Technology & Communications Enterprises (Greece)

  • SEPVE - Association of Information Technology Companies of Northern Greece

  • TBV - Turkish Informatics Foundation

  • Isik University (Turkey)

  • ARIES - Romanian Association for Electronic and Software Companies

  • BAIT - Bulgarian Association of Information Technologies

  • BIT - Bureau for International Research and Technology Co-operation - Austria (Representing the Western Balkans)

Related story:

  • Mercer enters into partnership with Planet SA in Greece and South-East Europe:
    Mercer Human Resource Consulting LLC has entered into an agreement with Planet SA, the leading Greek management consulting firm. With over 140 consultants and support staff, Planet will represent Mercer in Greece, advising clients on business strategy, technology and operations. Planet was established in Greece in 1987. In 2000, it acquired Ernst & Young's management consulting practice for South-East Europe to become Planet Ernst & Young SA. In February this year, Planet decided to end its agreement with Ernst & Young to pursue a new business strategy. The company's turnover for 2003 was around EUR 17 million. [October 8, 2004]

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Topos Communications SA eyes Turkey, Balkans

November 22, 2004 -- Topos Communications SA, a dynamic privately-held, Athens-based Telematics and Fleet Management company, announced that it is eyeing the Balkans and Turkey as part of its international expansion plans. Better known as n-topos, the firm recently opened its new regional offices in Thessaloniki to better serve the needs of transportation and logistics companies in the rapidly-expanding region of Northern Greece and to create a hub for the company's expansion into the Balkans and Turkey.

The firm has developed a large number of complex Telematics, Fleet Management and Information Technology infrastructure projects in Greece and overseas, and claims to be among the very few Greek companies that "exports knowledge" to international markets, from Central Europe to Chile and the Middle East.

n-topos develops software applications delivering integrated turn-key solutions according to customer requirements. It is a project development enterprise that is rapidly evolving into a "Real-Time Economy" company, offering state-of-the-art solutions that include:

  • Fleet Management and Asset Tracking Systems

  • Intelligent Transportation Systems

  • Location Based Systems

  • GIS Asset / Facilities /Local Administration Management Systems (e-government included)

  • Mobile & Wireless Data Communication Systems (GSM/GPRS)

  • TETRA applications

  • Telemetry & SCADA systems

  • Smart Card applications

  • Bluetooth and Sensors Integration

Some of its largest infrastructure projects involved Telematics systems, Fleet Management systems, Mobile and Wireless Communications, Telemetry and SCADA systems, end-to-end Telemetry Solutions, Geographical Information Systems, VLSI designs, and a plethora of RDBMS systems. Recent examples of such projects include: the new Athens tram; an integrated Fleet Tracking and Management Telematic System for 200 of ILPAP SA's electric trolley buses operating within the cities of Athens and Piraeus, the first system ever to have been deployed in Greece (the initials ILPAP stand for Athens-Piraeus Area Trolley Buses; the company is one of the major public transportation service companies of Athens); and AVL and Fleet Management solutions for commercial fleets, which have been supplied by n-topos to dozens of privately-run transportation and logistics companies.

Other major clients include the Athens International Airport "Eleftherios Venizelos", state-run Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation SA (OTE), the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, the Cities of Thessaloniki, Aghios Dimitrios and Gerakas, and the West Athens Development Organisation (ASDA).

n-topos has significant experience and expertise in major Fleet Management Systems used for public and urban transportation. Through its long-term collaboration with ATM (Azienda Trasporti Milanesi SpA, one of the largest European bus and rail operators), the company has gained considerable expertise in Intelligent Transportation Systems.

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Greece and Turkey improve trade relations

November 16, 2004 -- Turkey has evolved into one of Greece's basic business partners and prospects look positive following the European Commission's decision for Turkey's EU accession talks to begin, the Panhellenic Exporters Association Research Center (KEEM) stated. According to KEEM, Greek exports to Turkey increased from USD 115 million in 1990 to USD 527 million in 2003. During the same period, imports to Greece from its neighbouring country had increased six-fold, from USD 144 million to USD 864 million. In 2003, Turkey was number 8 on Greece's customer list and 13th among the Greek market's suppliers. Between 1990 and 2003, Greek exports jumped 66%, while Greek imports increased by 113%.

The upward trend in commercial relations between the two countries continues unabated in the first half of 2004, with exports having increased 40% and imports by 53% in dollar amounts (or 24% and 36%, respectively in euros). In total (imports plus exports), commerce between Greece and Turkey increased from USD 223 million in 1990 to USD 1,392 million in 2003.

Sources: ELKE, KEEM.

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Regional energy market in South-East Europe

November 16, 2004 -- The Greek government is actively participating in the development of a Regional Energy Market in South-East Europe, in the creation of a single market in electricity and natural gas and has already recommended the city of Thessaloniki as the base for this single market, George Salagoudis, Greece's Development Deputy Minister, said, addressing the Third Black Sea Energy Conference in Thessaloniki.

"Our priorities are to plan and implement a long-term strategy with full harmonisation of the country's regulatory framework to community directives, a speedy deregulation of electricity and natural gas markets, completing ambitious investment programmes by DEPA (the state natural gas company), strengthen healthy competition in the oil products market, promoting the linking of the Greek natural gas network system with the Italian and Turkish systems, adopting a new regulation framework for Renewable Energy Sources and supporting the role of Public Power Corporation SA," the Minister said.

Source: ELKE.

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Three examples of multinational Turkish companies with plans of opening retail outlets in the Greek market
Company Where will they open a store?
Ay-Yildiz Tekstil Greece, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan
Dogtas Mobilya Greece, Bulgaria
Linens Greece, Bucharest, Arad, Krivoyrog, Jeddah, Kazan, Ferzaj, Egypt, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Georgia, Albania and the Baltic countries
Source: Turkey's Capital magazine, October 2004.

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Turkish olive oil exporters turn attention to China

August 27, 2004 -- Turkish olive oil producers have turned their attention to the world's most populous market, China, as a target for their exports. A delegation from the Aegean Olive and Olive Oil Exporters has carried out promotional trips to Beijing to find business partners that will help boost Turkey's olive oil exports to the country. In 2003, Turkey exported 32 tonnes of olive oil to China, just 3% of China's overall olive oil imports. With an annual output of 200,000 tonnes of olive oil, Turkey is the world's fourth-largest producer of this commodity, after Italy, Spain, and Greece. It exported 50 tonnes of the product in the first two quarters of 2004.

Source: The Western Policy Centre / Robbie Potter, Research Assistant, Washington, D.C.

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Company profile: Eurobank EFG Group

Eurobank EFG Group was established in 1990 as "Euromerchant Bank" aiming at providing mainly investment services.

On March 29, 2005, Athens-based Eurobank EFG Group took control of HC Istanbul Holding AS -- which has since been renamed to EFG Istanbul Holding AS -- parent company of HC Istanbul Menkul Degerler AS (now called EFG Istanbul Securities), a brokerage firm that is member of the Istanbul Stock Exchange. EFG Istanbul Menkil Degerler has been very successful in the investment banking area and has a strong presence in transaction volume in the Istanbul Stock Exchange on behalf of European and U.S. institutional investors. The firm's market share in 2004 was 1.52%, whereas during February 2005 it reached 2.3%.

With a market capitalisation of EUR 8.5 billion and EUR 2.5 billion shareholders' equity as at December 31, 2005, Eurobank EFG Group is the leader in Greece in consumer lending, mutual fund management, investment banking, equity brokerage and life insurance. It is also the largest lender to small businesses in Greece and among the largest lenders to large Greek corporates of the private sector.

In the wider area of South-East and Central Europe, Eurobank EFG Group ranks among the top banks in all countries where it is present, namely Bulgaria, Romania, and Serbia and Montenegro. In 2005, it entered the equity brokerage sector in Turkey, while in 2006 it is establishing a banking presence in Poland.

The Group's objectives are:

  • To become the "bank of first choice" in Greece, focusing on quality, innovation and comprehensive service;

  • To develop its presence in the wider area of South-East and Central Europe, exporting its successful local business model.

Sources: Eurobank EFG / INVgr.

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Company profile: Dolphin Capital Partners / Dolphin Capital Investors Ltd.

Dolphin Capital Investors Limited (DCI) is a fund managed by Athens-based Dolphin Capital Partners (DCP) and listed on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange. Dolphin Capital Investors is the first private equity real estate vehicle focusing on the leisure-integrated real estate sector in South-East Europe and, specifically, in master-planned leisure-integrated residential resorts in Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and Croatia in partnership with leading developers and operators. DCI is an offshore company registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Its board consists of a Cypriot lawyer, a Greek-American asset manager and a Turkish investment consultant. [more...]

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Company profile: Global New Europe Fund Portfolio Investments SA (GNEF)

Global New Europe Fund Portfolio Investments SA (GNEF)

Based in central Athens, Global New Europe Fund Portfolio Investments SA (GNEF) was founded in February 2002 with an initial share capital of EUR 36,768,240. Having obtained a licence from the Hellenic Capital Market Commission at the end of 2001, Global New Europe Fund is a closed-end fund established in Greece under law 1969/91. The management of Global New Europe Fund has been assigned to Global Fund Management SA (GFM), in which Global Finance SA and EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA are the major shareholders.

The main investment objective of GNEF is to achieve superior returns at the lowest possible financial risk. GNEF invests mainly in the Russian, Turkish and Central European equity and fixed-income markets. GNEF is an absolute return fund and does not track any index.

For further information, please contact us.

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Company profile: MDC Turkmall

Based in Istanbul, MDCTurkmall Market Yatirim Ins. ve TIC A.S. is the leading shopping centre development company in Turkey. The firm is a joint-venture between Multi Development Corporation of Gouda, The Netherlands (part of Euronext-listed AM NV) and Turkmall specialising in commercial real estate development. AM is a developer of district-wide urban centres, shopping centres, housing estates, offices and office parks, operating on a European scale. The company is market leader in The Netherlands and holds a leading position in the property development sector in Europe. AM has projects under development in The Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. AM was created in 2002 by the merger of Amstelland and Multi Development Corporation. Both businesses have enjoyed double-figure growth rates in operating income and results on average during the past five years. They have, therefore, exceeded the trend in the markets in which they operate.

The joint venture is also active in the neighbouring Balkan countries such as Romania, Bulgaria and Greece. As a global development and investment company in commercial real estate, Turkmall has been one of the pioneers in its field, defining retail and entertainment experience in Turkey.

Turkmall is founded based on the past experience of its major shareholder, Hans Otto Nagel, an Istanbul-based international developer and investor.

Turkmall has been developing commercial projects, including regional malls, commodity centres, multiplex cinemas, stand alone outlets, etc. totaling more than one million sq.m., in co-operation with retailers such as Carrefour, Continent, CinemaxX, Village Road Show, Nine West, Real, Praktiker, Maxi Toys, Bauhaus, Marks & Spencer, Zara, Toys "R" Us, McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Tepe Home, etc.

Turkmall's centres are a result of an evolution of retail and entertainment offering to customers a new type of shopping experience with stores, dining opportunities and entertainment all under one roof - reflecting architecture based on function, design and economic feasibility.

Hans Otto Nagel is Chairman of MDCTurkmall, while Levent Eyuboglu is the firm's Managing Director. Levent was involved with the development of more than one million sq.m. of shopping centre space in Turkey and is now developing a new portfolio of more than 1.5 million sq.m. of shopping centre space in Turkey and in the wider region. The total investment budget is approx. EUR 2 million. Levent is also General Manager of Turkmall, the asset holding company in Turkey, and a board member of the Turkish Council of Shopping Centres.

For further information, please contact us.

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6th Greek-Turkish Tourism Forum on Samos postponed after death of Izmir Greater Municipality mayor

June 17, 2004 -- Due to the sudden death of Ahmet Piristina, the Izmir Greater Municipality mayor, who died of a heart attack the day before yesterday at the age of 52, the 6th Greek-Turkish Tourism Forum has been postponed.

Source: Turkey's TURSAB. Note: Timetable in Kusadasi subject to confirmation by the Turkish side.

Izmir Greater Municipality Mayor passes away

June 16, 2004 -- Ahmet Piristina, the Izmir Greater Municipality mayor, died of a heart attack yesterday at the age of 52. Piristina made history this March by winning a second successive term as mayor, the first person ever to do so. Piristina's untimely death caused great sorrow among Izmirians, members of his Republican People's Party (CHP), and citizens nationwide. Yesterday, following CHP leader Deniz Baykal's expression of condolences, the CHP parliamentary group meeting was cancelled in a show of respect. The law stipulates that an assembly chaired by the Izmir provincial governor will convene in 10 days to choose Piristina's successor.

Source: Turkiye.

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Greek Transport Minister announces new Thessaloniki-Istanbul rail link

May 9, 2004 -- Michalis Liapis, Minister of Transport and Communications of Greece, announced today a new rail link between Thessaloniki and Istanbul, to be launched in September 2004, after a meeting he had with Binali Yildirim, the Turkish Minister of Transport and Communications.

He said the new rail line, which is considered particularly important for Greece's railway network, will have trains equipped with sleepers and carriages for transporting cars.

Liapis informed Yildirim of the new developments being prepared by the Greek side and also discussed other issues concerning co-operation in transport.

The Greek minister, who on May 9 attended the foundation ceremony for a new undersea rail tunnel that will link Europe with Asia starting in Istanbul, noted that Greece and Turkey had common interests regarding the development of road and rail links that will connect Europe with Asia.

Meanwhile, Dora Bakogianni, the Mayor of Athens, also attended the foundation ceremony for the new undersea rail tunnel, as the guest of Dr. Kadir Topbas, the Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor.

The Mayor of Athens also had meetings with members of the Turkish government to discuss issues relating to preparations for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and cooperation between the City of Athens and the Istanbul metropolitan municipal authority.

Both Liapis and Bakoyianni held lengthy talks with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, on regional and bilateral issues.

Source: ANA/A. Kourkoulas, Istanbul.

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Trade relations between Greece and Turkey intensify

May 7, 2004 -- Business between Greece and Turkey has gained impetus due to an improvement in political ties over the last five years, bringing a fivefold increase in the volume of two-way trade, the premiers of both countries said on Friday.

Bilateral trade exceeded USD 1.3 billion in 2003, sharply up from EUR 200 million in 1999. "We can soon raise this to five billion," Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, told a luncheon hosted by the Greek-Turkish Business Forum in Athens.

According to Dr. Costas Karamanlis, the Greek premier, 77 Greek companies are currently operating in Turkey with Greek investments in the neighbouring country representing 3.2% of total foreign direct investment (FDI) there.

According to Erdogan, who is the first Turkish premier to officially visit Athens since 1988, progress in bilateral Turkish-Greek relations continues unabated, pointing to 25 agreements signed over the past five years and to the volition of the political leadership in both countries -- as well as by the Greek and Turkish peoples -- for continuing improvement.

Photo: © ANA / Antoniou-Voutos
The Greek premier (left) and his Turkish counterpart (right) exchange gifts at Maximos Mansion, the official residence of the Greek PM, where the two leaders held talks on May 7, 2004. The Turkish premier said that he would visit the Athens 2004 Olympic Games in August. Photo: © ANA / Antoniou-Voutos.

The Greek Prime Minister, who hosted an official dinner at his home in Lavrion near Athens in honour of his visiting counterpart on Friday evening, May 7, said: "Greek-Turkish relations have entered into a new 'orbit'."

Source: ANA.

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Increased bilateral trade relations and positive economic co-operation could continue in 2004

April 22, 2004 -- The best way to understand each other is through economic co-operation, George Alogoskoufis, Greece's Minister of Economy and Finance, told reporters today after a meeting with visiting Kürşat Tüzmen, Turkey's State Minister for Foreign Trade.

Alogoskoufis added that it was historically needed to expand economic relations with Turkey and noted "we will do whatever we can to facilitate Turkey's European orientation."

Tüzmen said that trade relations between the two countries has made significant progress in the last few years and that this trend could continue in 2004. He noted that several Greek companies have activities in Turkey currently, while only four Turkish companies are active in Greece.

The Greek minister said that certain technical issues, creating hurdles to bilateral relations, would be resolved by a commission soon to be formed by Greek and Turkish representatives.

Turkish companies are interested in exporting textiles, leather, clothing, children's clothes, olive oil and olives, dried food, fresh fruit and vegetables, building material, marble, paper, office furniture and mirrors to Greece.

Greece's trade deficit with Turkey jumped 71.7% in 2003 compared with the previous year, totalling USD 477.19 million.

Turkey's exports to Greek rose by 52.8% last year to USD 902.64 million, while Greek exports to Turkey rose 36.16% to USD 425.45 million.

Bilateral trade exceeded USD 1.3 billion in 2003, up 47.1% from the previous year.

A separate formal meeting was held in Athens today between Evripidis Stylianidis, Greece's Deputy Foreign Minister responsible for International Economic Relations, and Tuncer Kayalar, the Turkish Deputy Minister for Foreign Trade.

Sources: ANA, Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ELKE.

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Greece, Turkey sign memorandum of co-operation for extension of Via Egnatia to Istanbul

January 22, 2004 -- "Turkey is closer to Europe through Via Egnatia (Egnatia Odos)" was the basic conclusion drawn during today's meeting between Christos Verelis, Minister of Transportation and Communications of Greece, and Binali Yildirim, Minister of Transport and Telecommunications of Turkey, within the framework of which a memorandum of co-operation was signed for the extension of the Egnatia Odos to Istanbul, both on the road and railway network.

Through this agreement, Turkey will advance the upgrading of the road axis, which extends the Egnatia Highway to Istanbul, securing the same level of service of transport from both sides of the borders. It concerns a distance of 253 kilometres from the Greek-Turkish borders to Istanbul.

At the meeting between the two ministers, a decision was reached for the setting up of a joint service which will be responsible for upgrading the specific road and railway axis. This service will have offices in Athens and Istanbul. The first meeting of the joint service will be held in Thessaloniki on February 26, 2004.

The two ministers also discussed issues concerning telecommunications in the sector of mobile telephony.

The Egnatia Odos will add thousands more visitors through the port of Igoumenitsa, as it will be cutting up to six hours off the current trip to Istanbul by road, hence making Igoumenitsa not only the gateway to Europe by road but also to the Near East by road from Europe. In addition to the direct economic benefits in terms of savings in journey time and fewer road accidents, upgrading of the Egnatia motorway is of vital importance for the development and the opening-up of international communications in the region and Greece as a whole.

Furthermore, Thessaloniki, which will probably be the greatest beneficiary of infrastructure investment in Greece, will re-emerge as a gateway to the east with the redevelopment of the old Roman Ignatian Way (Egnatia Odos). Its airport will also eventually be redeveloped as a hub.

Egnatia Odos SA is a joint stock company totally owned by the Hellenic Republic, formed specifically for designing, constructing, extending, maintaining, operating, administrating, supervising and monitoring the Egnatia motorway that will link the west coast of Greece to Istanbul and the road network feeding into it for next 50 years. It is assisted by Brown & Root (UK), as Project Manager. Construction management has been contracted to an international consortium, EGNACONSULT Joint Venture, comprising three companies: Dorsch Consult (Germany), Scetauroute (France) and Ado (Greece).

The Egnatia project, together with PATHE (Pathe-Athens-Thessaloniki-Evzoni) motorway, is one of Greece's major trunk roads included in the Trans-European Networks (TEN). Its upgrading was pinpointed as a priority investment by the European Union. As such, it is supported jointly by the European Union structural funds, through the successive Community Support Frameworks, and by the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Via Egnatia starts from the port of Igoumenitsa and will stretch to Istanbul, while diagonals join the rest of Greece and the Balkans. Works at the Eastern part include the construction of a by-pass of the town of Kavala and the upgrading of the Komotini-Turkish border at Kipi section in Thrace.

Sources: INVgr, EIB, Egnatia Odos SA, ANA.

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Important Greek-Turkish natural gas pipeline agreement signed in Ankara

Recent improvements in Greek-Turkish relations are facilitating discussions of energy co-operation

December 24, 2003 -- The governments of Greece and Turkey signed an important agreement on December 23rd in Ankara to build a natural gas pipeline connecting the two countries.

The pipeline initially will deliver 500 million cubic meters of natural gas from Azerbaijan to Greece, via Turkey, beginning in 2006. It will serve not only as another important economic link between Greece and Turkey, but also will provide a new source of natural gas for Greece, with the prospect of connecting to markets in the heart of Europe. Up to 11 billion cubic meters annually of natural gas is targeted for transport to Turkey, Greece and Europe in the second phase of the project.

The United States supports the Turkey-Greece pipeline, an important building block of the East-West Energy Corridor. It seeks to develop alternative export pipeline routes for delivery of the Caspian region’s vast energy resources to Europe and world markets.

In July 2000 Greece and Turkey agreed to work together to develop connections between their natural gas networks. This commitment was reaffirmed at "The EU and Black Sea economic cooperation conference" in September 2001 by the Turkish officials at the conference. Senior Greek and Turkish officials have signed an agreement at EU headquarters to study how best to develop natural gas connections. The two countries have agreed to work with the EU-sponsored Interstate Oil Gas Transport to Europe (INOGATE) project, which provides technical assistance to modernise oil and gas transport in central Europe and Asia in order to work toward European pipeline linkage to Caucasus and Asian oil and gas. In March 2001, Greece signed an agreement with Armenia and Iran to strengthen economic and energy cooperation. Discussions included the possibility of an EU-subsidised natural gas pipeline from Iran through either Armenia and Ukraine or Turkey and Greece.

On December 15, 1997, Russia and Turkey signed a 25-year deal under which the Russian gas company, Gazprom, would construct a new natural gas export pipeline (called "Blue Stream") to Turkey for delivery capacity of around 565 Bcf annually, with initial deliveries possibly starting in 2002. The USD 3 billion, 758-mile dual pipeline is slated to run from Izobilnoye in southern Russia, to Dzhugba on the Black Sea, then under the Black Sea for about 247 miles to the Turkish port of Samsun, and on to Ankara. By 2009, Blue Stream is expected to reach peak capacity of 565 Bcf per annum. Over the course of the 25-year agreement, Turkey will import 14.1 Tcf of natural gas from Russia via Blue Stream. Eventually, the Blue Stream project could be extended onwards to other Mediterranean countries, including Greece.

Along these lines, Greece and Turkey signed an agreement on March 28th, 2002 which calls for extending the natural gas pipeline from Iran to Turkey into Greece. Reportedly, the 175-mile-long pipeline (125 miles in Turkey, 50 miles in Greece), expected to be completed by 2005, would connect Ankara to Alexandroupolis in northern Greece at a cost USD 300 million. The pipeline initially will transport around 17.7 Bcf of natural gas per annum. Eventually, natural gas could be transported to Europe via Bulgaria or via an undersea pipeline to Italy, where gas demand -- especially for electric power generation -- is expected to grow rapidly in coming years. A deep water option could be extremely expensive, however, making an overland route more likely. Also, in April 2002, Azerbaijan said that it could start supplying Greece with natural gas in 2006-2007 through the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline and the Turkey-Greece pipeline extension.

Sources: INOGATE, INVgr.

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Memorandum of understanding signed on regional energy market in South-East Europe and its integration into EU Internal Electricity Market

MoU known as The Athens Memorandum 2003

December 8, 2003 -- Nine Balkan nations and the European Union today signed a memorandum of understanding to create a Regional Energy Market in South-East Europe (REM-SEE). The European Commission and the Stability Pacts for South-East Europe signed as non-participating sponsors. European Transport and Energy Commissioner Loyola de Palacio, who is also Vice President of the European Commission, signed on behalf of the Commission. The eight non-EU countries that signed the MoU are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Romania and Turkey, while European Union members working for the project's implementation (the so-called "political participants to the process") are Greece, Italy and Austria. Hungary, the Republic of Moldova and Slovenia signed as observers. The UN secretary general's special representative for Kosovo also signed.

The pact calls for the development of a region-wide, day-ahead power market that is supposed to operate by 2007 and eventually be incorporate in the EU's Internal Electricity Market.

The electricity markets of EU member state were opened to internal competition according to EU Directive 92/96. Greece gas a derogation until February 27th, 2001. Greece is a member of the Union for Co-ordination of Transmission of Electricity but has not been able to participate in the intra-European market because of damage to inter-connecting transmission systems during the civil strife in the former Yugoslavia.

Greece has inter-connections with Albania, Bulgaria, and the FYROM with a total of 4,000 MW capacity but the system is unstable and the Regulatory Authority for Energy has licensed only 600 MW (plus 100 MW of reserve) which is used primarily for imports. 

Greece was finally re-connected to the EU in 2001 via a much-delayed submarine cable link with Italy with 500 MW of capacity. The state-controlled Public Power Corporation (PPC, also know as DEH) exports when it has surplus available but, ordinarily, does not import because of higher prices in Italy.

Greece and Turkey are working on the development of a 400kV link but, for the time being, connections are described as rudimentary.

Meanwhile, in the Greek market, DEH continues to enjoy a virtual monopoly. Though theoretically the Greek energy market was liberalised in 2001, DEH managed to delay the establishment of private thermal generators and effectively continues to monopolise the sector.

Sources: European Commission, Business File No. 53.

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Common Greek-Turkish marketing strategy for golf tourism could be developed, TYD chairman says at INVgolf forum in Athens

November 29, 2003 -- "Turkey gives special importance to bilateral and multilateral project development in the East Mediterranean region," Oktay Varlier, Chairman, Turkish Tourism Investors Association (TYD), said at the 2003 European GOLF Investment and Real Estate Conference & Exhibition in Athens on November 29. "For example, the development of a common marketing strategy for golf tourism may be created between Turkey and Greece, especially for long-haul tourists coming from the USA, Japan, Australia, Nordic countries, etc. This will serve to the benefits of both countries."

Commenting on this important pan-European conference in Athens, Oktay said: "In recent years, as golf courses with international standards have been put into use, Turkey is on the way of becoming a renown golf centre where players from around the world can meet in an environment full of cultural, historical and natural beauties. This conference in Athens is organised in such a time that exactly matches the new wave of investments which we expect to start, while new laws and regulations put into force in Turkey, which envisage so-called 'new tourism cities' around the coastal regions, i.e. very large pieces of land with all infrastructure completed, will be allocated to tourism investors who will build necessary facilities including golf courses and integrated leisure resorts. From our side, there couldn't be a better time."

The Turkish Tourism Investors Association (TYD) was established in 1988 by the principal investors and risk-takers in Turkish tourism. TYD is an independent organisation whose main objective is to bring together investors and companies investing in tourism and provide assistance in their present and future plans. The total investment portfolio of TYD members is USD 17 billion representing 75% of the private sector investments in Turkish tourism. TYD members own 200 thousand beds in the accommodation sector. They have also invested in marinas and yachting, tourism oriented land and air transport, tour operating, tourist shopping centres, entertainment and recreation facilities and golf courses. Tourism is the fastest developing sector in Turkey. Between 1985-2002, the annual average growth rate is 10% in tourist arrivals and 11% in tourism revenues. In 2002, 13.2 million foreign tourists and USD 8.5 billion revenue were attained.

Breakdown of Turkey's tourist arrivals by top-10 "countries of nationality" in 2002 
Ranking Nationality Tourist arrivals Share (%)
1. Germany 3,480,844 26.3
2. UIS (former USSR) 1,658,699 12.5
3. United Kingdom 1,040,228 7.9
4. The Netherlands 871,560 6.6
5. Bulgaria 833,848 6.3
6. France 522,808 4.0
7. Iran 432,224 3.3
8. Austria 376,995 2.9
9. Belgium 313,436 2.4
10. GREECE 280,307 2.1

Sources: INVgolf, TYD.

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Greek-Turkish trade

October 24, 2003 -- According to the Hellenic Centre for Investment - ELKE, Greek imports from Turkey jumped 61.7% in the first eight months of 2003 to USD 456.4 million compared with the same period last year. According to data released by Turkey's statistics agency, Greek exports to Turkey totaled USD 233.4 million in the January-August period, up 19.2% from the same period in 2002.

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EU approves funding for study on undersea natural gas pipeline

August 6, 2003 -- The European Union has approved funding of EUR 930,000 for a study on an undersea natural gas pipeline between Greece and Italy, according to the Athens News Agency (ANA).

Endorsement was given by the EU's committee for economic aid for trans-European energy networks to a proposal from Greece's Public Gas Company (DEPA) and Edison of Italy requesting a 50% grant for the study.

The pipeline would represent the continuation of a link between Greece and Turkey for which DEPA and Turkey's Botaş Petroleum Pipeline Corporation, are currently carrying out an engineering study, also receiving 50% European Union funding of EUR 4.0 million.

A natural gas link between Turkey, Greece and Italy would assist South-East Europe.

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Sofregaz gets Lump Sum contract for Turkey-Greece Natural Gas Pipeline System (TGPS) project

June 21, 2003 -- France's Sofregaz has been awarded a Lump Sum contract to carry out Engineering Works for the "Turkey-Greece Natural Gas Pipeline System (TGPS)" project by Turkey's Botaş Petroleum Pipeline Corporation.

The scope of engineering works covers basic engineering activities with site investigations for definition of the entire system and detail engineering activities with preparatory of land acquisition for preparation of the EPC tender package.

The TGPS is basically a dedicated natural gas pipeline system of about 200 km. for the purpose of transporting natural gas from the existing Karacabey pigging station located in the north-west of Turkey to the Turkey-Greece border.

The entire pipeline system mainly consists of a first land pipeline section starting from Karacabey to a suitable landfall location on the south side of Marmara sea, a subsea pipeline section for Marmara sea crossing with associated pigging stations and a second land pipeline section to reach Turkey-Greece border with its pigging and pressure reducing station.

The scope of the project covers Engineering Works (FEED) and support services for preparation of the EPC Tender Package of a dedicated natural gas pipeline system of about 200km for the purpose of transporting natural gas from the existing Karacabey pigging station located on north-west of Turkey to the Turkey-Greece border.

Sofregaz expertise ranges from gas fields to natural gas end-users, and includes treatment, liquefaction, transmission, underground gas storage and distribution of natural gas.

Sofregaz provides its clients and partners with high quality services from feasibility studies to turnkey plants, including training of personnel.

With 40 years of experience in the natural gas industry, Sofregaz is also able to offer consulting services, including gas market assessments, integrated gas development plans, price and tariff policies for major gas companies and international financing organisations.

In addition, Sofregaz has a large experience of setting up the financing arrangements needed by the projects of its clients.

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South-East Europe linkup in the pipeline

April 11, 2003 -- Energy players representing the region of South-East Europe signed up to cooperate in the construction of a natural gas pipeline from Thessaloniki, crossing western Balkan states, to Austria. Parties involved include Greece's Public Gas Company (DEPA) Turkey's Botaş Petroleum Pipeline Corporation, BH-GAS from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH0, Mak-Petrol from FYROM, NIS-Gas from Serbia and the Albanian Industry and Energy Ministry. All firms are in favour of developing a regional energy market. The Austria route is an extension of a natural gas pipeline project linking Turkey and Greece, currently under construction.

Source: Athens News.

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Piraeus Bank SA eyes opportunities for buys in Turkey's financial sector

March 27, 2003 -- Piraeus Bank SA, Greece's third-largest private-sector bank, is eyeing opportunities for buys in the Turkish financial sector. In 2002 the bank expressed interest in a stake in Toprakbank, but that did not pan out due to Turkey's banking restructuring.

In the same year, an agreement was signed between Athens-based Piraeus Bank and ING Groep NV of The Netherlands, which sets out the final terms of a strategic alliance between the two financial groups. The agreement, which was signed on January 18, 2002, envisages the common development of three sectors in Greece, i.e. bancassurance, employee benefits and asset management. The agreement envisages the common development of three sectors in Greece, i.e. bancassurance, employee benefits and asset management.

Furthermore, both partners have also agreed to proceed with a plan that will examine the prospects of expansion of their joint venture activities in other countries in South-East Europe, such as Bulgaria and Turkey. [more...] [premium content]

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Direct on-line connection with Greek and international capital markets through PROTON Bank

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GEDIK Investment Securities Inc.
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January 21, 2003 -- Athens-based PROTON Securities SA, a member of the PROTON Group of Companies and members of the Athens Exchange (ATHEX) and Germany's EUREX, today executed the first Straight Through Processing (STP) transaction on behalf of Turkey's GEDIK Investment Securities Inc.

The direct on-line connection between PROTON and GEDIK has been established with PROTON's trading application GENDEX, offering fast and secure execution of transactions in Greek and Turkish capital markets. In addition to these capabilities, PROTON operates Reuters' RITD platform, allowing any foreign broker to invest directly on-line (STP) either in Greece or in the following major international exchanges: XETRA, EUREX (Germany), NYSE, AMEX, Nasdaq, U.S. Bulletin Board, CME, CBOT (USA), LSE, VIRT-X, LIFFE (UK), Euronext, MONEP, MATIF (France), TSE (Japan), SWX (Switzerland), Borsa Italiana - Milan Stock Exchange (Italy), SIBE (Spain), Euronext Amsterdam (The Netherlands), OMX - Helsinki Stock Exchange (Finland), OMX - Stockholmsborsen (Sweden) and the ISE - Istanbul Stock Exchange (Turkey). [more...] [premium content]

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Spor Toto Organisation of Turkey chooses Inteltek

Spor Toto Organisation


August 2, 2002 -- Inteltek, a joint venture formed by ATHEX-listed Intralot SA of Greece and the Çukorova Group of Turkey, has been selected as the successful vendor, following an international tender, to supply and operate an integrated on-line system and services to Ankara-based Spor Toto Organisation.

The 5-year agreement includes the launch of eight sport games and the installation of a network of up to 6,000 terminals throughout Turkey. A key element of this agreement is the use of alternative distribution channels such as telephony networks (mobile and fixed), Internet and digital television. In this respect, it is foreseen that all service providers of Turkey will become electronic agents of the sport games. Operations are scheduled to commence in the beginning of 2003.

Moreover, Intralot and the Çukorova Group will support and promote the usage of digital networks of sales and therefore will establish a second company as an electronic agent, which is expected to become the leading one of Spor Toto’s games. Those activities will be based on the customer base and infrastructure of Çukorova Group and Intralot’s technology systems.

Intralot is a leading global provider of integrated gaming systems and transaction processing solutions, develops and delivers innovative, custom-made products and services to state licenced lottery organisations world-wide. [more...] [premium content]

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Greece's Intracom Group invests in Turkey's METEKSAN-GANTEK

Gantek Technologies

July 1, 2002 -- Seeking to reinforce its presence in the Turkish IT market, Athens-based Intracom SA signed a memorandum for the acquisition of more than 20% of the equity capital of the METEKSAN Group of Companies. Moreover, a cooperation agreement between the METEKSAN Group and the GANTEK Group -- in which Intracom already participates with a 20% stake -- is being drafted, in order to ensure the best possible deployment of their diverse capabilities and activities.

The GANTEK-METEKSAN cooperation forms the basis for the creation of a unique corporation -- the biggest in the Turkish market -- which, by virtue of its infrastructure in human resources and know-how, will be in the position to assert and realise the forthcoming major IT and Telecommunications projects in Turkey and the broader geographical area.

The METEKSAN Group enjoys a reinforced and powerful image in Ankara and has established a Technical Support network in 23 cities covering the whole country through its well-planned geographical distribution. GANTEK on the other hand, has a strong and long-standing presence in Istanbul and it is already strongly active in the Private Sector, while METEKSAN engages in the public sector.

Furthermore, with GANTEK-METEKSAN accessing the products and services of INTRACOM, new perspectives are being opened for other Turkish-speaking countries of the broader region.


With a specialised staff of 400 employees, the METEKSAN Group of Companies consists of METEKSAN Sistem, METEKSAN Servis, METEKSAN Net, MOBILSOFT and TEPE Teknoloji. The METEKSAN Group is active in integrated IT systems, with the Turkish Public Sector as its main client, and has developed significant know-how as well as several IT products (Educational, Digital Television and Hospital applications). It should be noted that the METEKSAN Group is owned by BILKENT University, the biggest private University in Turkey.

About the GANTEK Group

In late 2000, GANTEK Technologies became a strategic partner of INTRACOM, the largest provider of telecommunications systems, information systems and defense electronic systems in Greece. This partnership has expanded the product and solutions portfolio of Gantek Technologies.

With a vision of becoming the leading Turkish ICT solutions provider operating in Balkans, CIS countries, Middle and East Europe and the Middle East in order to supply customers with complete solution sets, Gantek Technologies has evolved from being a company focused predominately on Sun Microsystems hardware products into an experienced systems integrator with a strong presence in the region.

Since its establishment in 1987, Gantek Technologies has enhanced its expertise in IT consultancy and systems integration services. Gantek is well positioned to offer its products, solutions and services throughout Turkey and in neighboring countries.

Ahmet Sefik Ongun is Chairman and CEO of Gantek Technologies.

About the INTRACOM Group

Founded in 1977, is the largest provider of telecommunications systems, information systems and defence electronic systems in Greece. Listed on the Athens Exchange (ATHEX) since 1990, Intracom has established a leading position within the South and East European and the Middle East markets. With presence in more than 50 countries all over the world, Intracom is now emerging as a global player.

Intracom engineers innovative products, manufactures equipment, develops advanced information systems, integrates efficient solutions, deploys skilled engineering resources and professional services, offers turnkey project implementation and renders technical support services in the fields of Telecommunications, Banking & Finance, Defence, Public Administration & Government, Energy & Utilities and Travel & Tourism.

Intracom relies on its approximately 4,000 highly-qualified people -- more than 7,000 for the Group -- with the vision, the vigor and the will to provide value for shareholders, customers and partners.

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ITPO Athens to organise Greek-Turkish meetings

Istanbul, May 31 - June 1, 2002

Elias Antonakakis (left) with Sarik Tara
Co-Chairman of the Turkish-Hellenic Business Council, Sarik Tara (R) with UNIDO Investment Technology Promotion Office (ITPO) Athens, Deputy Head Elias Antonakakis

June 3, 2002 -- UNIDO Investment Technology Promotion Office (ITPO) Athens, Deputy Head Elias Antonakakis, was among the participants at the 5th Annual Greek-Turkish Business Council meeting, held in Istanbul May 31 - June 1, 2002. The Business Council operates within the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Secretariat. The event has ministerial level and business level meetings. On the second day meetings took place between some 30 businessmen from each country.

Turkey's State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz and Greece's Minister of Culture Evangelos Venizelos, jointly inaugurated the meeting of the Business Council. Minister Venizelos assured the businessmen that Greece is unequivocally an active and fighting supporter of rapid Turkish incorporation to the EU. The Minister referred to the development of economic relations between the two countries over the past two years, "Greek and Turkish businesses can invest in EU countries with joint initiatives,'' he said. Deputy Prime Minister Yilmaz said: 'Bboth Turkey and Greece should take as a model the understanding creating the European Union (EU) which has taken its current shape as a result of the Paris, Rome and Maastricht agreements. We should turn our faces towards the future not the past. We should resolve our problems as soon as possible."

Relations between the two countries are improving. By 1970, only three economic agreements had been signed between Turkey and Greece. The situation remained static between 1970 and 2000. Since 2000 nine agreements have been signed. A natural gas agreement signed recently is considered as one of the more important developments. The two countries have submitted an application to the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) to host the 2008 European Football Championships.

During the meeting UNIDO's mission and activities were made known to both Greek and Turkish participants at the political and business level, including to ex President of the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank and Economic Advisor of the Prime Minister of Turkey, Ersoy Volkan, Co-Chairman of the Turkish-Hellenic BSEC Business Council, Sarik Tara and President of the Greek-Turkish BSEC Business Council, Panayiotis Koutsikos.

The two Business Council executives welcomed a proposal from the ITPO Deputy Head that UNIDO ITPO Athens take an active role in future business meetings between Greek and Turkish firms.

Source: UNIDO.

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National Bank of Greece invests in Turkish Private Equity Fund I

Turk Venture Partners Limited (Turkven)

March 13, 2002 -- Advent International Corporation's Turkish affiliate, Turk Venture Partners Limited (Turkven), has announced the closing of its first fund, Turkish Private Equity Fund I, at USD 41 million. The Fund is capitalised by commitments from several large institutional investors, led by the International Finance Corporation and state-run National Bank of Greece SA and including the European Investment Bank (EIB), FMO, the Dutch development bank, and DEG, the German development bank.

Turkish Private Equity Fund I, L.P, a limited partnership established in Guernsey, is affiliated with Advent International, which established an exclusive affiliation with Turkven in 2001 to explore private equity investment opportunities in the Turkish market. Turkven is led by Evren Unver and Seymur Tari, both previously with McKinsey & Company, and Eren Nil, previously with JP Morgan Chase.

The Fund, which is the first private equity fund investing in Turkey to be raised and managed by a local team, will work closely with Advent International, co-investing with Advent's Central & Eastern European programme and targeting Turkish growth companies in a broad range of industries. The Fund will look for investment opportunities typically between USD 5 million and USD 15 million and will pursue a strategy of combining local knowledge with Advent's global resources to accelerate the growth of portfolio companies, both locally and internationally.

Seymur Tari, Director of Turkven, said: "Turkish companies have high growth potential, driven both by exports and a sizeable domestic market. There are a large number of well run, mid-sized and family owned Turkish companies, which are starting to broaden their vision and adapt their strategies to compete in international markets."

Joanna James, Managing Director of Advent International's Central European operations, said: "Advent, through its extensive experience with companies in emerging markets across the world, will be a valuable partner for top Turkish companies with good management teams and aggressive growth plans. We believe the time is ripe for private equity investment to begin in Turkey, paving the way for increased foreign direct investment."

Established in 1994, Advent International is one of the world's largest and most experienced global private equity investment organisations with operations and affiliates in 30 countries and USD 6 billion of capital under management. Advent has been a pioneer in private equity in several emerging markets in Central and Eastern Europe. It has offices and affiliates in Warsaw, Budapest, Bucharest, Prague, Bratislava and Zagreb and over USD 300 million of capital under management for the region.

National Bank of Greece (NBG)

Any investment opportunities in Turkey involving Greek strategic partners may be considered jointly by the Fund and NBG Venture Capital, the venture capital/private equity arm of the National Bank of Greece Group.

Athens-based NBG Venture Capital SA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the NBG Group, manages or advises capital commitments of almost EUR 150 million. The Greek private equity and venture capital firm pursues investment opportunities across industries primarily in Greece and in the neighbouring countries of South-East Europe.

NBG maintains an Istanbul Representative Office (Giz 2000 Plaza, Kat:9 Eski Buykdere Cad. Ayazaga Koy Yolu, No:7, TR-34398 Maslak) in Istanbul, which is headed by Antonis Kamaras, while Leonidas Tsibouris of NBG sits on the Advisory Board of the Turkish Private Equity Fund I. Turkven is led by Evren Unver and Seymur Tari, both previously with McKinsey & Company, and Eren Nil, previously with JP Morgan Chase.

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NovaBank SA acquires Sitebank AS

January 11, 2002 -- Istanbul-based Sitebank AS signed an agreement today with NovaBank SA, the Greek-Portuguese retail banking concern, transferring the insolvent bank's shares, according to the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency, Turkey's banking watchdog. All the shares belonging to Turkey's Savings Deposit Insurance Fund will be transferred to NovaBank on January 16, 2002 for an undisclosed amount.

Sitebank, which fell under state control on July 10, 2001 in the wake of a liquidity crisis in December 2000 and cumulative losses, was Turkey's 58th-largest bank in terms of assets in 2001. Novabank submitted an application on October 25, 2001 for the acquisition of Sitebank.

The purchase price is believed to fall below EUR 50 million, which would include the purchase price plus investments in the target bank's departments of information technology, network and marketing; personnel costs, and the payment of cumulative losses.

State-owned Sitebank has 13 branches in six Turkish cities, assets equivalent to EUR 31 million and employs 223 people.

INVgr footnote: Sitebank has since changed its name to BankEuropa and is a member of the Millennium BCP Group. In June 2004, BankEuropa launched Turkey's longest maturity and lowest interest rate USD-indexed home loan. Today, the bank has 12 branches in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.

About NovaBank

NovaBank is a contemporary bank that was launched on September 21, 2000 with the collaboration of Interamerican, one of the largest Life and Health insurance companies in Greece, and Millennium BCP, Portugal's biggest financial group. Headquartered in Athens, NovaBank aims to provide innovative products and is active in:

1. Retail Banking September 2000
2. Bancassurance January 2003
3. Private Banking March 2003 (with 3 centres)
4. Business Banking May 2003 (with 11 centres)
5. Factoring May 2003

Branch distribution:

  • Athens: 76 branches

  • Thessaloniki: 20 branches

  • Rest of Greece: 13 branches

NovaBank is offering a broad range of financial products:

  • Deposit accounts

  • Mortgages

  • Personal and consumer loans

  • Credit cards

  • Mutual funds

  • Investment products

  • Stock brokerage services

  • Bancassurance products

Apart from the broad network of branches, NovaBank has established an extensive network of ATM (NovaExpress) and also possesses an integrated telephone service centre (NovaLine), which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Furthermore, the bank offers Internet banking services through NovaWeb, allowing customers to conduct their banking and financial transactions on-line. Finally, NovaBank provides a service (NovaExperts) that allows each branch to have Video Conferencing with expert consultants.

Sources: Turkey's Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency, NovaBank, ANA, Anadolu Agency, INVgr.

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Greek-Turkish Business Council Co-President delivers speech in Athens

December 11, 2001 -- Panayiotis K. Koutsikos, Chairman of Ergo SA, Co-Chairman of the Greek-Turkish Business Council, and Chairman of the Greek-Turkish Chamber of Commerce, delivered a speech at the 12th Hour of the Greek Economy Conference, which took place December 10 & 11, 2001 at the Athenaeum Intercontinental Hotel. He said that although Greece's industrial production rose 6% in 2000 from 1999, the data are not so encouraging for structural changes. Red tape and bureaucracy are still not eliminated and Greece is in danger of missing the train of modernisation and development. The state does not do enough to encourage entrepreneurship and the education and training system needs help. In addition, social services to citizens are lacking and the public debt is too high. [more...] [premium content]

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Greek-Turkish co-operation in the energy sector

February 12, 2001 -- ENKA Insaat ve Sanayi AS, a Turkish construction company, and Hellenic Energy & Development SA (HE&D), a Greek energy company, announced that they signed an agreement today in which the two companies entered a strategic co-operation to explore opportunities in the energy sector. [more...] [premium content]

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Gerolymatos Group to launch number of products in Turkey

P.N. Gerolymatos SA

Following the incorporation of a joint venture company in Turkey, P.N. Gerolymatos SA is now planning the registration and launch of a number of products in the local market. Recent changes in the Turkish OTC regulations should enhance and accelerate the relevant procedures. Headquartered in Athens, P.N. Gerolymatos is one of the largest independent healthcare companies in Greece. With sales exceeding USD 200 million and with considerable international activities, the Gerolymatos Group of Companies is active in production, logistics, research and development (R&D), prescription medicines, OTC, cosmetics, diagnostics and veterinarian products.

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S&B Industrial Minerals SA mines and processes perlite in Turkey

S&B Industrial Minerals SA

S&B Industrial Minerals SA is the leader in the European market for perlite used in building materials, formed products, horticulture and cryogenics as well as for filteraids in the Greek market. The company also boasts a strong presence in the formed products segment in East USA and a leading position in horticulture in North America. Being the largest producer of raw perlite internationally, S&B offers clients a comprehensive service package, including product variety, high quality, customised solutions, flexible delivery and full technical support.

S&B mines perlite in Greece, Italy, Turkey and China, while in the U.S., S&B North America Inc. is a perlite and bentonite processor and distributor. In Turkey, S&B has two subsidiaries, which it owns through S&B Holding GmbH, S&B's wholly-owned German subsidiary which holds participations in various companies in Germany, the U.S., Hungary, Spain, Turkey and Bulgaria:

  • 98.6%-owned perlite processing unit SABA MADENCILIK AS

  • 98.7%-owned perlite mining company PABALK MADEN AS

Perlite is a natural volcanic glassy material formed by rapidly cooled lava that trapped water within its mass. This phenomenon gives perlite its most important physical property, the ability to expand at temperatures of 800 -950° C. A white mass of tiny, glass-sealed bubbles is formed when sudden, controlled heating causes perlite to expand and the trapped water to evaporate. Its volume increases 10 to 20 times, and its bulk density decreases correspondingly, giving perlite excellent thermal and acoustic insulation properties, as well as high porosity. Due to those properties, perlite is an excellent lightweight aggregates, hydroponics media and significant component of acoustical tiles.

S&B Industrial Minerals SA is a specialty minerals mining and processing company with extensive resources and significant market shares in its major products of bentonite, perlite and bauxite, as well as a palette of traded products for the glass and ceramics industries. Headquartered in Athens, S&B owns 48 mines, plants and distribution centres in more than 15 countries in Europe, Asia and North America. S&B is the largest bentonite in Europe and the largest supplier of graded perlite world-wide. In 2002, S&B had consolidated sales of EUR 291.3 million and earnings before taxes reached EUR 26.2 million. S&B's shares are listed on the Athens Exchange (ATHEX) since 1994 (60%: Kyriacopoulos family, 40%: free float).

Other activities include the exclusive distributorship of Yamaha products in Greece, Romania and Bulgaria (Motodynamics SA) and an industrial machinery and equipment trading company (ERGOTRAK SA).

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Unisoft Software submits common proposal to the EU with Turkey's Software Research and Development Centre

January 24, 2000 - Aiming at the extension of its research capabilities, Unisoft Software submitted a common proposal to the European Union's Information Society Technologies Programme (IST), in co-operation with the Software Research and Development Centre (SRDC) of the Middle East Technical University (METU), based in Ankara, Turkey.

Founded in 1991, SRDC aims at fostering computer science research in Turkey. SRDC has been participating in a series of large projects of supranational organisations and the European Commission in software development. The experience of its scientists in interconnected databases and object-oriented architecture place this centre among the most significant centres for technological innovation in the region.

The proposal is related to the experimental use of so-called Workflow technology. The framework under which the proposed transfer of know-how will take place, involves the combination of the given technological platform from the Turkish partner with a project that Unisoft is developing in the area of information flow. The combination provides the necessary technological means for a complete management of business flow, in direct relation to the business information systems which Unisoft develops, and which have made it a leader in Greece and other Balkan markets.

More specifically, the target of the proposed project is the automation and management of information flow in shared environments (intranet / extranet / Internet). This permits the development of networked enterprises, in which information systems and applications permit the shared use of infrastructure and thus better management of data and functions, and - most importantly - lower communication as well as management costs.

Unisoft encompasses the results of its research activities in the integrated solutions that it is offering to its clients, by helping them attain the best use of their information systems.

Member of the ALTEC Group and headquartered in Athens, Unisoft Software specialises in the development of non-parametric software and specialised solutions for both the private and public sectors. Apart from Greece and Turkey, Unisoft also has a dynamic presence in Romania, Bulgaria, and Serbia and Montenegro.

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Capital markets

Co-operation between the Istanbul Stock Exchange and the Athens Exchange (ATHEX):

  • Within the framework of the "Cooperation Among Securities Markets in South-East Europe" project of the South-East European Cooperative Initiative (SECI), initiated by the Capital Market Board of Turkey (CMB) and the Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE), another meeting was held in Athens on December 19, 2001, with the participation of ISE and Athens Exchange (ATHEX) top-level executives. [more...] [premium content]

Equity research report:

  • Bati Cimento, a fully-integrated Turkish cement producer [premium content]
    (Research report by Kalkinma Investment Securities Inc., Turkey.)

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Neighbours today, partners tomorrow

The following announcement, which appeared in the Greek press (*), was addressed to Greece's former prime minister, Costas Simitis, during a time when his socialist government was still in power:

Neighbours today, partners tomorrow

We would like to share a few of our thoughts with Mr. Simitis


Since the creation of the world we have co-existed as neighbours and at times we've had our differences. Now, however, the time is right to establish or new relationship. We want to be your partners so let us put the past behind us and let us proceed in harmony. We know that our participation in the EU will define our future and lead us to a new level of prosperity. We have brought about major democratic and financial changes, and now the time has come to work together. From many points of view we already are together. We are the only country which signed for the customs unification of all EU countries without being an actual member. We already participate in the European Committee. We are members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. A soccer team of ours has held the European UEFA Cup. Last year ten million Europeans chose our country for their holiday destination. We are one of the founding stones of NATO. We have a constitution since 1876 and a multi-party democracy since 1946. Today, we are a new, dynamic country with political stability and a rich cultural inheritance, willing to contribute decisively in the peace and prosperity of Europe. We are aware that there are still many things we have to do, nevertheless, there is national agreement and we are moving forwards.
Do not lose the historical moment in Copenhagen to open the road for Turkey.

TURKEY Turkey: works not words WORKS NOT WORDS

This article is the initiative of:
TOBB: The Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Maritime Trade and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey.
TUSIAD: Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association, Member of UNICE.
TURSAB: Association of Turkish Travel Agencies, Affiliated Member of ECTAA.

(*) It should be noted that the "NEIGHBOURS TODAY, PARTNERS TOMORROW" announcement has been translated from Greek to English by INV International Ltd., which cannot be held responsible for any possible translation errors or irregularities. Subscribers of INVgr may obtain the original text of this announcement in the Greek language can be obtained by contacting INVgr.

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Fisheries and aquaculture

Fisheries and aquaculture are crucial elements of the Greek national economy. Employing 40,000 people and producing a total of 231,000 tonnes, their contribution to maintaining social and economic cohesion in large, coastal regions of the country, is vital. Total seabass and seabream production in the Mediterranean amounts to more than 90,000 tonnes. Greece alone produces more than 50% of the area's output, being the undisputed leader in the region. Turkey follows with 14,000 tonnes, Italy with 11,000 tonnes and Spain with 10,000 tonnes. For further information, please contact INVgr. Alternatively, contact:

Federation of Greek Maricultures (FGM)
1-3, Skra Street
GR-176 73 Kallithea, Athens
Tel.: +30 210 953 1030
Fax: +30 210 953 1028

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Greek-Turkish environmental relations

In an initiative funded by the Hellenic Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works [the Bilateral Development Cooperation and Assistance Programme], the Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal (MOm) has embarked on a cooperative venture with its Turkish counterpart, the Underwater Research Society - Mediterranean Seal Research Group (SAD-AFAG).

The two organisations plan to learn from each other’s experiences in science, conservation and management through project exchange visits, and share information on monk seal sightings. The project was formally announced on World Environment Day (June 5th, 2001) during the inauguration of the National Centre for the Environment and Sustainable Development in Athens. In July 2001, a six-strong SAD-AFAG team made its way to Alonissos for an introduction to monk seal conservation activities in the Northern Sporades Marine Park. MOm biologists and staff members made their reciprocal trip to Turkey in September, visiting the Foça Specially Protected Area and the Karaburun Peninsula.

A joint MOm-SAD/AFAG poster marks a new-found
Greek-Turkish cooperation in monk seal research and conservation

The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is among the rarest and one of the six most threatened mammal species of the world. According to recent estimates, there are about 300 monk seals in the Mediterranean, almost all occurring in the eastern part. 
Monk seals favour areas with caves where they live and breed, and also need a healthy marine environment. In recent years, monk seals have suffered from a loss of habitat due to urbanisation, development of secondary homes, and from mass tourism. Their marine environment has been threatened by pollution, and their food source by overfishing. The survival of the monk seal is, thus, intricately linked with the conservation of a healthy marine and coastal environment.

Monk seals also face accidental deaths from entanglement in fishing nets and deliberate killing by fishermen who believe that monk seals are the cause of declining fish stocks and a reduced income. WWF is supporting monk seal conservation through its local partner, the Underwater Research Society - Mediterranean Seal Research Group (SAD-AFAG), in three sites along the Turkish coast -- Foça and Karaburun in the Aegean and the Cilician coast in the Mediterranean.

WWF and SAD-AFAG's work in Turkey

WWF and SAD-AFAG are aiming at extending the surface of marine and coastal protected areas in the Mediterranean, for the conservation of the monk seal. This extension implies not only proposing new areas for protection but also designing a management plan for each area. No fishing zones, which are being planned, implemented and monitored with the local fishermen have been established. Not only do these zones aid in the recovery of fish stock populations, but also help reduce the conflict between fishermen and monk seals. In fact, the monitoring of these zones goes a step further and makes the fishermen guardians of the monk seals. 

In addition, WWF and AFAG are supporting fishermen’s cooperatives, studying alternative income sources such as eco-tourism, and developing business plans for these, so that fishermen are not dependent on a sole fluctuating source of income.


SAD/AFAG is the leading NGO in Turkey set up exclusively for the research and conservation of the endangered Mediterranean monk seal and its ecosystem. SAD/AFAG has been actively working on this matter along the Turkish coast since 1987.

About MOm

MOm, Greece's leading monk seal NGO, is a non-profit, non-governmental environmental organisation. Founded in 1988 by a team of marine biologists and environmental researchers, MOm's aims are to research and study the biology, ecology and behavior of the species and to conserve it through any legal means. Since 1994 MOm has been a member of the EUCC (European Union for Coastal Conservation). In 1996 it was accepted into the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) as a non-governmental organisation with national scope. MOm is funded by the membership dues and contributions of the more than 5,500 supporters of its activities, by public and private agencies, and through collaborations with the Greek state and the European Union.

Sources: Kalliopi Gorgorapti, MOm; WWF.

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Golf: new courses could stretch Greek tourist season

December 30, 2003 (Reuters) -- Few Greeks play it and many dismiss it as a rich man's hobby but Greece's tourism industry sees golf as the perfect sport for the country's sunny climate. The Greek tourism sector, struggling to defend its share of the market against cheaper rivals such as Turkey and other Mediterranean nations, is keen to stretch its season beyond the summer months and become more than a sun-and-sea paradise for holidaymakers on a budget. For many developers and entrepreneurs "sun, sea and all-year-round golf" should be Greece's new sales pitch. [full story...]

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Turkey's investment climate

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Greek-Turkish bilateral relations: useful contacts and links

Panayiotis K. Koutsikos
Panayiotis K. Koutsikos
Chairman, ERGO Medical Supply SA
Chairman, Greek-Turkish Chamber of Commerce
Secretary General, Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI)

Greek-Turkish Chamber of Commerce (GTCC)
Chairman: Panayiotis K. Koutsikos (ERGO Medical Supply SA, 10, Souliou Street, GR-143 43 Nea Halkidona, Athens, Greece; tel.: +30 210 250 5202, fax: +30 210 250 5253)

Turkish Embassy
Office of the Commercial Counsellor
26, Rigillis Street
GR-106 74 Athens
Tel.: +30 210 722 2196
Fax: +30 210 724 2948
Commercial Counsellor: Necmi Uğurlu

Consulate General of Greece
(Yunanistan Başkonsolosluğu, Ticaret ve Ekonomi Ataşeliği)
Office of Economic and Commercial Affairs

Inönü Caddesi No: 49/8, Akun Apt. D 8
TR-80090 Istanbul
Tel.: +90 212 245 2231
Fax: +90 212 292 7119
Head of the Office of Economic and Commercial Affairs: Dimitris Xalepidis

Turkish Sellers - TIM Trade Net

TIM - Turkish Exporters Assembly
Dis Ticaret Kompleksi
Sanayi Cad.
TR-34196 Yenibosna, Istanbul
Tel.: +90 212 454 0471, +90 212 347 2121
Fax: +90 212 454 0413, +90 212 347 2124
Mobile: +90 532 312 4169
Representative of Greece: Leyla Ustel Cagatay

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