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Daily Press Review – 19/6/2019

Changes and “new blood” at Hellenic’s Board

Kathimerini Economy reports that Hellenic Bank will hold an Extraordinary Meeting on 26 June, during which they will propose changes to the bank’s statute. One of the changes will reportedly be that all the Board Members of the bank will be up for re-election in each General Meeting. The AGM will take place on 24 July. The paper reports that this means that there will be changes in the balance as well as the current alliances between shareholders. It is reasonable, the paper reports, that the Bank’s share structure will drastically change, since the smaller shareholders now hold a bigger stake, some new ones have entered and some have departed. The alliances are already forming behind-the-scenes, and the shareholders are describing their vision for the future of the Bank. The paper reports that according to discussions so far, it seems that six members will remain in the new Board, while seven new members will be introduced. According to the paper’s sources, Phedias Pilides will be proposed for Chairman of the Board. His candidacy is supported by a major shareholder, Demetra Investment. Demetra however, has proposed other people for the new Board. The paper reports that if Youssef A. Nasr is re-elected as Chairman, then Pilides will potentially be appointed as vice-chairman. At the same time, more people are being rumoured, among which Marios Maratheftis, who is the main economist at Global Research of Standard Chartered PLC, in the research department. Another name that has been proposed for the HB Board, is Marco Comastri who was hired by CA Technologies in 2011 as president of the EMEA unit, while he had been in Microsoft and IBM for many years. Another person, who seems to be accepted by most people, is Greendot’s president, Mike Spanos. As it comes to the rumours about Nicos Michalas and Irinarchos Varnavas entering the Bank’s board, these do not seem to be true. According to the paper, Pimco will also attempt to be represented in the Bank’s board, with Christopher Kraus. The article reports that Third Point will also attempt to be represented in the Bank’s Board. Third Point’s David Bonanno will attempt to remain in the Bank’s board, and has also recommended two other people from Third Point for the Board. On the other hand, Senvest may hold a stake below 5%, but they also want to be represented in the Board. The paper reports that HB, will keep some current members which are necessary. These are the two executive members, the Bank’s CEO Ioannis Matsis and its CFO, Lars Kramer. The paper also reports that it’s certain that Wargaming will be represented in the Board, as this has been the case since the company invested in the bank. The person that will represent the second biggest shareholder of Hellenic Bank will almost certainly be Marianna Pantelidou Neophytou, Wargaming’s Chief of Staff to the CEO. However, reports say that Wargaming will be represented by at least two people.


Hellenic: integration of Co-op systems by September

Inbusinessnews reports that Hellenic Bank’s staff is working very hard in order to completely integrate the Co-op systems by September. The main milestone for the next few months, is to initially make sure that the data now located in the former Co-op’s systems is successfully transferred to Hellenic’s systems. This effort concerns more than half a million citizens. According to the website’s sources, all the teams (IT, Integration Teams, Retail Banking, operations etc.) are working very hard in order to achieve this goal and the whole project is proceeding within the deadlines. Consequently, around mid-September, the branches will be completely unified. After this has taken place, all of the bank’s clients will be served by the entire network of branches. Among others, the customers will be able to use the upgraded services of Hellenic’s ATMs (deposit cheques, cash, pay bills). They will also be able to use Hellenic’s Web Banking service. It should be noted that there are at the moment, 24 Branch in Branch (which can serve all clients, including Co-op clients)


APS contributes to reducing NPLs

APS Holdings contributes in Cyprus’ and Greece’s efforts to reduce their NPLs, the company said in a press release. APS Holdings reports that they are one of the biggest loan services in Europe and operates in 16 countries, with over 1.000 staff members. The nominal value of the portfolios that it manages exceeds €8b. In Cyprus, they report, the company expanded due to its partnership with Hellenic Bank, with which it started the company APS Debt Servicing Cyprus. APS holds 51% of the company’s equity and Hellenic holds 49%. In the framework of this partnership, APS says, it took up the management of Hellenic’s NPLs, worth around €2.3b as well as properties worth €150m. It should be noted that APS Debt Servicing Cyprus took up the management of unsecured commercial loans worth €245m from BoC, which were purchased by APS Loan Management Ltd. APS Holdings reports that its activity in Cyprus have been fully successful, as it has achieved all the targets it had set.


The ICS annual general meeting

The representatives of the world’s national shipowners’ associations met last week in Faroe Islands to review the priorities of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). Cyprus was represented by the president of Cyprus Chamber of Shipping Mr. Thomas Kazakos. During the meeting, the former president of Cyprus Chamber of Shipping Mr. Themis Papadopoulos, was re-elected as a member of the Board of Directors of ICS, something which shows that the Cyprus Chamber of Shipping and the Cypriot Shipping Industry are recognised on a global level. During the annual meeting, ICS agreed to a series of actions in order to support the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) strategy to decarbonise international shipping in line with the United Nations’ 1.5 degree climate change goal.


Probe acquits Ports Authority

The investigative committee appointed by the Cabinet to investigate two decisions of the Board of Directors of the Cyprus Ports Authority did not find that there was any breach or disciplinary misconduct. This is clearly established by the findings report of the Committee, which was published today by Phileleftheros. The committee was appointed following complaints by the former Director General of the Transport Ministry, Alecos Michaelides, who seriously criticised the alleged scandals. It is also clear that that complaints by the Transport Ministry, as well as the statements of Mr. Michaelides on a TV channel, sparked controversy between the management of the Ministry and the Cyprus Ports Authority’s Board of Directors. The controversy was focused on two decisions by the Board of Directors of the Cyprus Ports Authority to authorize the use of state property for the development of major maritime activities related to the maintenance of yachts, as well as floating oil maintenance facilities for offshore oil activities.


A&E: minus 16 doctors

Politis reports that there is a continuous wave of doctors who quit state hospitals in order to join the GHS as private doctors. In the last 5 months, there were 15 doctors who left the Accidents and Emergency Department. According to Soteris Koumas, the president of PASYKI, stated that over 30 doctors have quit state hospitals, a fact which worried him and highlighted the problems of the A&E department. Sources report that doctors and OKYPY will soon meet and discuss special incentives for doctors of the public sector.


Establishing state hospitals autonomy is in progress

The process of establishing hospitals’ autonomy is “in progress and actions will gradually become clear to the public”, said the Minister of Health, Constantinos Ioannou. Yesterday, during a conference with the Presient of the Republic and Disy representatives, they were informed in detail, about the actions taking place in order to establish state hospitals’ autonomy. The Minister stated that state hospitals’ autonomy was not necessary for the implementation of the first phase of the GHS, as they are two parallel but not connected procedures.


Revising depot preparation of leuprorelin pharmaceuticals

The competent authorities are carrying out reviews for mishandling in the depot preparation of leuprorelin pharmaceuticals. Specifically, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) begun reviewing leuprorelin pharmaceuticals following reports that indicated mishandling during the preparation, packaging and distribution of the product, resulting in patients consuming an insufficient amount of medicine, decreasing its therapeutic benefits. According to the MoH, this review includes packages, called depot preparations, which are given through hypodermic injections and the active ingredient is released over a period of 1-6 months. Many of these products require complicated procedures, and mishandling them has led to various problems.


Loss of income due to smuggled cigarettes

Kathimerini reports that over-taxation, during the economic crisis, has turned Greek citizens towards illegal products, e.g. tobacco products that are profoundly dangerous for public health. The increase in tobacco tax has led a mass of smokers to the consumption of illegal cigarettes. According to a KPMG report, – assigned by Phillip Morris International – Greece is now in the first position with the highest percentage of illegal cigarettes in the EU, a fact which burdened state funds by €690m in 2018.