ECONOMY

In Brief

Alpha Bank announces plan to sell up to 6.5 percent of its shares Alpha Bank, Greece’s second-largest bank by assets, announced yesterday that it planned to sell up to 12 million of its existing shares, or 6.48 percent of its share capital, to local and foreign funds. Alpha said JP Morgan and UBS will jointly underwrite the private placement, with Alpha Finance handling the Greek placement. Alpha Bank, with a current market value of 3.4 billion euros ($3.8 billion), said the shares are held by its subsidiary Ionian Holdings. Ionian holds a total of 15.8 million Alpha shares, or 8.64 percent of the total. The bank said it will not sell or issue additional shares for a period of 180 days. The stake to be sold came from Alpha’s absorption of Alpha Finance. The sale is seen as further enhancing the bank’s capital adequacy. Bulgaria agrees with PPC to export electricity to Greece SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria’s power export monopoly NETC has won an international tender to export 150 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity to Greece in the last quarter of this year, NETC said yesterday. A NETC spokeswoman said the company will sign an export contract with Greece’s Public Power Corporation next week. Bulgaria had sporadically exported power to its neighbor this year but figures on exported amounts to Greece were not immediately available. Bulgaria exported a total of 3.2 billion kWh of power to Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and Albania from the beginning of this year to end-August. NETC said last week that Romania was in talks with Bulgaria to import power. Electricity exports, which last year totaled some 6.2-6.3 billion kWh, are an important source of revenue for Bulgaria. New bidding price Cyprus has cut the minimum bidding price for its first GSM license to the private sector due to be auctioned next month. Authorities had initially set 6.8 million pounds ($12.7 million) as the minimum bidding price but has reassessed it to 5.7 million, said Panayiotis Kakkouras, the deputy commissioner for telecommunications and postal services. «The (Communications) Ministry had assigned consultants who assessed the process and they recommended 5.7 million,» Kakkouras told Reuters. Bidders have until September 15 to submit offers. The bids will be assessed by October 15, and the auction will be completed by the end of that month. Authorities want the successful bidder to offer full services by May 1, 2004, which is when Cyprus joins the European Union. The newcomer will compete in a market of just under 1 million people with CyTA, the state-controlled incumbent which now has a monopoly in GSM services. In an attempt to coax investors, Cyprus is also offering a free 3G license to the successful bidder, on condition that those services are activated within a 10 year period. (Reuters) Intralot Gaming system operator Intralot announced yesterday it had signed a six-year contract to supply Chile with an Internet and telephone platform for the country’s pools, lottery and betting games. The contract, signed with state-owned Polla Chilena de Beneficencia may be renewed for a further two years. The platform will begin operating at the end of the year.