Talk of bank deals rises to prominence again Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said in Dubai yesterday that the government is not in a hurry to sell part of its holding in the National Bank of Greece (NBG) – the country’s largest – and everything will depend on the state of international markets. The stake to be sold, estimated at 10 percent, is valued at around 450 million euros at current prices. Separately, a spokeswoman for France’s Credit Agricole told Reuters the bank was still negotiating with the Greek government over the raising of its stake in Emporiki Bank but would not accept the current offer as it stood. Agricole, with a stake of 9.6 percent, is currently the second largest shareholder in Emporiki, where the government holds more than 30 percent. The stumbling block is said to be Emporiki’s pension fund liabilities. If a deal for a stake said to be around 10 percent does not materialize, an international tender is considered likely before year-end. Also in Dubai, NBG deputy governor Apostolos Tamvakakis said after a meeting with the governor of the Central Bank of Romania in Dubai yesterday that NBG is likely to conclude the acquisition of Romania’s Banca Romaneasca in the next 15 days. The Romanian bank has a network of 25 branches. Tamvakakis said NBG will also hold talks in Moscow early next month with a view to launching corporate lending and capital market operations in Russia. OTE announces lower rates for fixed line-to-mobile calls OTE Telecom announced new, lower rates for fixed line-to-mobile calls as of October 5. Calls per minute to CosmOTE and Vodafone will cost 0.22 and 0.225 euros respectively, with a minimum charge of 0.13 euros, and to Telestet 0.25 euros, with a minimum charge of 0.156 euros. According to first-half results, OTE’s fixed line-to-mobile calls were down 16.1 percent year-on-year. More rate reductions are expected in the coming months as OTE tries to keep up with the competition from alternative operators. The firm is also almost certain to be told to cut its rates for lines leased to alternative operators when the overseeing telecoms authority completes its cost control. Aegean Aegean Airlines, Greece’s largest private carrier, reported a 14.6 percent increase in the number of passengers to 1,833,521 in the January-August period, year-on-year. The company announced new jet flights from Athens to the islands of Chios and Kos (twice daily) and to Milan as of November 3. New flights will also be added to Munich (direct) and to Frankfurt, Dusseldorf and Stuttgart via Thessaloniki and Kavala. Aegean said it will add a further two European destinations to its schedule next year and has applied for licences to fly to Istanbul, Sofia, Belgrade, Larnaca and Cairo. Hungary Hungarian President Ferenc Madl is to address an event at Thessaloniki’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Tsimiski 29, at 12.30 p.m. today. ALBA The Athens Laboratory of Business Administration (ALBA) will present its MSc program in Business Studies for Law Practitioners at the NJV Athens Plaza Hotel, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 30.