ECONOMY

In Brief

Alpha Bank’s sale of its shares goes better than expected Alpha Bank, Greece’s second-largest bank by assets, raised a greater-than-expected 273 million euros ($306 million) through a share sale yesterday and said the cash would help satisfy growing loan demand. «The placing will strengthen our capital position, supporting further disciplined growth with sustained profitability,» Alpha Chairman Yiannis Costopoulos said in a statement. Alpha said strong demand from overseas investors had allowed it to expand its sale of existing or treasury stock, owned by subsidiary Ionian Holdings, to 15.9 million shares, or 8.6 percent of its share capital, from an initially planned 12 million or 6.5 percent. The bank said the shares had been sold at 17.2 euros each to institutional investors, with the largest portion taken up by overseas buyers. The sale was lead managed by investment banks JP Morgan and UBS, with Alpha Finance handling the domestic element. The sale price was only a fraction lower than Tuesday’s closing price of 17.30 euros. (Reuters) OTE still hopes for deal with Intracom over Cosmorom debt OTE Telecom announced yesterday it still hopes to strike a deal over debts its Romanian mobile subsidiary owes to telecom equipment maker Intracom, though it has no legal obligation to reach such an agreement. OTE management met with Intracom officials on Tuesday to discuss Cosmorom’s liabilities, estimated at 190 million euros ($212.7 million), but failed to reach agreement, OTE said. The Greek operator holds a majority stake in Romtelecom, the parent company of the indebted Romanian mobile operator Cosmorom. «OTE made it repeatedly clear that neither it nor its subsidiary Romtelecom have a legal obligation to make payment of amounts due by Cosmorom to third parties where no guarantees had been issued,» OTE said in a statement. Intracom declined to comment. Greek daily Imerisia said the company was considering taking the case to international arbitration. OTE said it hope negotiations with Intracom will continue despite the lack of success. It has said the group’s priority is to cut Cosmorom’s costs in talks with creditors and suppliers. Closing down the operation remains an option. (Reuters) Best bank Piraeus Bank was named «Bank of the Year» by The Banker, a magazine published by the Financial Times. The magazine chose Piraeus Bank over 339 other banks from 106 countries for the rebound in its profitability, group restructuring, including the smooth integration of acquisitions, and the bank’s use of technology. Construction Construction activity, measured by the number of new building permits, rose to 11.8 percent year-on-year in May, National Statistics Service (NSS) data published yesterday showed. NSS said 7,033 new permits were issued nationwide in May. About a third of all permits (2,181) were for new buildings in the Attica region. A total of 33,053 new permits were issued around the country in the January to May period, up 2.8 percent year-on-year, the NSS said. (Reuters)