ECONOMY

In Brief

ELPE workers to strike in protest at merger, unless court stops them Workers at Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) plan to start a five-day strike from tomorrow, possibly forcing Greece’s largest refiner to operate at about 50-60 percent of average daily capacity, a union spokesman said. «There will be a drop in output of around 40 to 50 percent,» union spokesman Georgios Michas said. «As for deliveries of crude and products, we will be delivering to hospitals and army only.» A company source said he expected a slowdown in output at the 67,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Thessaloniki refinery and the 140,000 bpd Aspropyrgos refinery but definitely not a stoppage. He added that ELPE had stocks for about 90 days. Michas said the stoppage was in protest against a planned merger of ELPE with local rival Petrola, with workers concerned over job cuts and wages in the new company. Hellenic’s management has asked a court to declare the strike illegal. A decision was expected late yesterday or early today. (Reuters) UK-based funds get half of Alpha’s shares The biggest portion of Alpha Bank’s recent placement of 15.9 million existing shares with institutional investors went to UK-based funds, bookrunner UBS said yesterday. «Approximately 18 percent of the shares were sold in Greece and 82 percent internationally: 50 percent in the UK, 10 percent in the US and 22 percent in the rest of Europe,» UBS said in a statement. It added that the placement increased Alpha shares held by international investors by over 50 percent. Alpha Bank, Greece’s second-largest by assets, raised 273 million euros ($306 million) from the sale of treasury stock, or existing shares, bringing its free float of readily tradable shares to 100 percent of its equity. The placement, via book-building, was lead managed by investment banks UBS and JP Morgan internationally, with Alpha Finance handling the domestic tranche. Alpha Bank shares rose 1.77 percent to 18.42 euros yesterday, outperforming the broader market. For the bank’s new shareholders, who bought shares at 17.2 euros in the placement, the rise translates to a fast 7.1 percent return. (Reuters) Maillis explains Packaging group Maillis said yesterday it asked Fitch Rating to stop coverage of the group as it no longer has any international bond loan. «The termination of this cooperation resulted from a relevant request by the group’s management, considering that the group no longer holds an international bond loan,» Maillis said in a statement. Fitch Rating had a «BB+» rating on the group with a negative outlook. Shares in Maillis were down 0.63 percent to 3.14 euros yesterday, tracking the broader market which lost 0.58 percent. (Reuters) Appointment HSBC-Greece announced yesterday it appointed Dimitris Politis, formerly general manager of Credit Commercial de France in Greece, to head its corporate and commercial banking division. Politis, with 16 years of experience in banking, previously worked in HSBC’s investment banking offices in London and Athens. HSBC recently merged its corporate and commercial banking and corporate finance divisions in Greece. It runs 22 branches. (Reuters)