In Brief

Talks on revamped Olympic Airways break down again The government has put off tabling an amendment in Parliament concerning the establishment of revamped New Olympic Airways until the middle of next week, with a view to completing discussions with all branches of staff. The Athens News Agency reported sources as saying that negotiations with cabin staff, the only group of workers remaining to agree on the terms of the new scheme, broke down. Vehicle tax shakes confidence in Turkish economic reform process LONDON (Reuters) – Fresh doubts over the economic reform process in Turkey saw its bonds sell off yesterday, giving a weaker tone to the broader market. The market was jolted after Turkey’s Constitutional Court on Wednesday ruled against a supplementary motor vehicle tax, that would have boosted government coffers by some 1,100 trillion lira ($783 million). The ruling cast fresh doubt on the economic reform process and on Turkey’s chances of securing a long-delayed $500 million loan tranche from the IMF from its $16 billion loan pact. «Locals have been especially active sellers… we’re seeing a lot of supply coming in and trade is heavy for the time being,» said one trader at a British bank. «Additional fiscal costs are unwelcome at a time when the government’s compliance with the fiscal targets is more or less on a knife edge.» Serbian tobacco Serbia said yesterday it would reveal on August 4 the prices of bids in a tender for its two tobacco plants – two of its three key privatizations of 2003. It also said the tender for the smaller of the two plants, Duvanska Industrija Vranje (DIV), could be nullified if the sole bidder, the Serbian unit of British American Tobacco, also turns out to be the best-placed bidder for the much bigger plant, Duvanska Industrija Nis (DIN). One bidder will not be able to buy both plants because the state wants to prevent a buyer from gaining a monopoly, Mirko Cvetkovic, the head of the state-run Privatization Agency, at a news briefing. he said. It is hoped that the privatization of the two tobacco plants and the Beopetrol fuel chain will boost state coffers by at least 250 million euros ($286.6 million). The combined cigarette output of the two plants amounted to 12,541 tons in 2001. (Reuters) Bulgaria upgraded Bulgaria’s long-term foreign currency rating was upgraded to BB+ from BB yesterday, and its short-term rating affirmed at B by credit rating agency Fitch Ratings, which also retained a positive outlook. The BB+ grade is Fitch’s highest sub-investment grade rating. Fitch also raised Bulgaria’s local currency rating to an investment-grade BBB- from BB+ and said it expects GDP to grow by 4.7 percent this year after a 4.8 percent rise in 2002. It expects public debt to drop to 46 percent of GDP at end-2003 from 79 percent at end-1999, reflecting tight fiscal policy, rapid GDP growth, exchange rate appreciation and good debt management. (Reuters) ANEK Ferry operator ANEK Lines expects to save about 4.5 million euros annually at an initial stage from an agreement with banks to reschedule debts totaling 320 million company officials told a press briefing. «ANEK is on a good path and even if there is a fall in passenger numbers, results will be positive,» said chief shareholder Yiannis Vardinoyiannis.

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