SOURCE: AMNA

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Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will work at his office in Thessaloniki on Wednesday.

During his visit to Thessaloniki, Tsipras is expected to make announcements on the concession of the former military camp Pavlos Melas to the local authority meeting a long-standing request of the residents.

Tsipras will also meet with Western Macedonia governor Theodoros Karypidis to discuss regional issues.

Centrists Union leader Vassilis Leventis in an announcement on Tuesday requested a briefing of the political leaders on the course of the negotiations.

Leventis claims that "the society is completely unaware on the course of the negotiations with the institutions and how close they are to reach an agreement. Whatever agreement can't come as a surprise. The political parties should be informed in a democratic country otherwise it is obvious that we have not learnt from the mistakes of the past and from the agreements that divided the people and had a heavy cost on Greece", he added.

Play, a member of Olympia Group, reported strong results in 2016, with customer base rising further, boosting revenue and EBITDA.

In an announcement, the company said the share of contract subscribers in total customer base grew to 58 pct in the fourth quarter of 2016, from 54.6 pct in the third quarter and 50 pct in the fourth quarter of 2015.

"In 2016 we managed to increase our customer base to 14.4 million users (from 14.15 million a year earlier). At the end of December 2016 our market share was 26.3 pct and remained the second largest provider in Poland. We introduced a policy of double offers which was very successful and our subscribers base grew to 58 pct from 50 pct in 2015. In total, 2016 was a strong year for Play as we recorded double-digit increases in all our financial indexes," Jorgen Bang-Jensen, the company's CEO said.

Costas Karafotakis, CEO of Olympia Group said: "Strong performance of the Group's largest subsidiary was continuing dynamically, reflecting investments made in technology and network infrastructure and our very strong management".

Piraeus Bank on Tuesday announced the signing of a farm contract agreement with Patikas-Chatsios, a fruit distribution company, allowing the company to offer cost reduction up to 20 pct for 40 pct of its fruit producers.

Speaking to ANA, Vasilis Chatsios, said the agreement could expand to cover 100 pct of fruit producers (totaling 100 in Northern Greece). He noted that: "With liquidity secured through the agreement signed with Piraeus Bank, producers will have the ability to buy farm supplies with significant discounts and to reduce production cost by 10-20 pct".

Patikas-Chatsios is based in Thermi, Thessaloniki, and began operations in 1976. It currently distributes around 15,000 tons of products annually. The company exports Greek fruit to more than 30 markets around the world, mainly Germany, Spain, US and the UK, while it recently began operations in India, China and the Middle East and was monitoring markets in South and Central America and others in Southeastern Asia.

The company exports kiwis (40 pct), grapes (30 pct), apricots (20 pct) and cherries (10 pct). Patikas-Chatsios is currently implementing an investment program worth 1.25 million euros to modernize its facilities.

Chatsios said the economic environment in Greece was "extremely difficult" because of the measures taken and noted that lack of research was raising hurdles in the development of the primary sector.

CLOUDBIZ, a top marketing technology agency and member of FF Group, said its turnover grew 32.3 pct in 2016, significantly boosting the base of registered members currently totaling more than 4.0 million.

The company has established a natural presence in London offering CRM/Loyalty and e-commerce services and plans to expand in Hong Kong in the second half of 2017. CLOUDBIZ also launched a strategic partnership agreement with Salesforce Commerce cloud and with Emarsys.

Vaggelis Karalis, CEO and Fani Charbi, COO, decided to rename the company into QIVOS. The company expects QIVOS' activities abroad to represent 50 pct of total turnover in the company.

The company employs more than 50 workers and plans to raise this number to more than 80 by 2018.

Hellenic Bank Association expects a full absorption of European Investment Bank's funding programmes for Greece, worth 1.5 billion euros, this year.

The Association, represented by president Nikolaos Karamouzis, the chairman of the executive commission Spyridon Papaspyrou and secretary-general Chariklia Apalagaki, met on Monday in Luxembourg with EIB's president Werner Hoyer and EIB's vice-president responsible for Greece, Jonathan Taylor and other executives.

The meeting focused on the significant support offered by EIB through Greek banks to the Greek economy and in particularly medium-sized enterprises and funding of infrastructure projects.

EIB has approved funds worth more than 1.5 billion euros for Greece in 2016, with full absorption of these funds expected to be completed this year, along with the immediate activation of two new programmes, InnovFin and COSME.

In an announcement, the two sides expressed their satisfaction over their impecable cooperation so far and confirmed their mutual wish to expand and improve this relation.

Professor of History of Art and director of the National Gallery Marina Lambraki Plaka will give a lecture on the dialogue between Rodin's sculpture with Ancient Greece on Monday 13 March at 18:30 at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens' amphitheatre.

The National Archaeological Museum is hosting since summer 2016 works of August Rodin in its permanent exhibition halls which were sent as gifts , in rental form, for the 150th anniversary of the museum from the National Museum of Western Art of Tokyo, the National Gallery and Alexandros Onassis Foundation.

"The thinker, the kiss, the prodigal son are inteacting with exhibits from different eras of ancient art. The works will remain at the museum until April 3.

The lecture will be combined with a tour in the halls that Rodin's works are displayed.

President Prokopios Pavlopoulos on Tuesday sent a message to all directions, but mainly Turkey, that Greece seeks close and good neighbourly relations and sincere friendship with Turkey, but it is determined, based on the International and European Law, to fully defend its borders and territorial integrity.

Pavlopoulos is visiting Kalymnos for the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Dodecanese Integration.

"We are sending a double message to all directions, but mainly to our neighbour and friend Turkey," he said and added:

"First, we are sending the message that Greece seeks to develop close and good neighborly relations and sincere friendship with Turkey and to support its accession to the European Union. Secondly, that Greece is determined based on the international law and the Treaty of Lausanne as well as the European law to fully defend its borders, its territorial integrity and its sovereignty and consequently the borders, the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the European Union."

Intralot and Amelco signed a strategic partnership agreement for the development of a new generation sport betting product platform.

Under the agreement, Intralot will incorporate modules of Amelco's top ATS platform to develop an innovative and single omni-channel sport betting solution. This product will be adjusted to satisfy the needs of lotteries operating in regulated markets and all sport betting providers around the world.

Technical groups of the two companies will work together to develop a unique product, combining Intralot's strong know-how in lottery games with Amelco's online platform.

Antonis Kerastaris, Intralot Group's CEO, said: "Intralot's traditional supremacy in organizing sport betting globally will be further enhanced with the integration of Amelco's innovative software. We are certain that the innovative product to be developed through this partnership will be acknowledged soon as the best integrated platform for ground and online betting around the world".

Damian Walton, founder and owner of Amelco, said: "The opportunity we have to develop Amelco's sport betting solution into the core of activities of Intralot will help us to highlight the product's possibilities".

Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias met with his Georgian counterpart Mikheil Janelidze on Tuesday, first day of his official visit to Georgia.

"Our meeting was productive and with positive energy," said Kotzias adding that "we agreed that the Greek-Georgian relations are strategic relations".

He explained that a strategic relation means a coordinated effort to promote the relations between the two countries in all sectors, economic, educational, energy, research but foremost means that Greece will do whatever possible in order for Georgia to come closer to the EU. "I deeply believe that Georgia is a country that belongs to Europe" said Kotzias and referred to the deep and long historic bonds between the countries. "Greece is a country that supports and is based on the international law and therefore we support Georgia's sovereign rights and independence".

Kotzias invited Janelidze to visit Greece adding that until then their cooperation can proceed at ministerial level.

Finally, he congratulated the abolition of short-term visa for Georgian nationals in EU which Greece supported strongly which may give a boost to tourism relations between the two countries.

On his part, Janelidze welcomed Kotzias adding that it is the first Greek foreign minister's visit to Georgia. He thanked Greece for its support to Georgia course's to the European integration and him personally for his contribution to the abolition of the short-term visa for Georgian citizen in the Schengen zone.

The Georgian foreign minister said that their talks focused on Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity noting that they must be solved peacefully according to the international law. "Greece and Georgia would do whatever possible for peace and stability in the region" concluded Janelidze.

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