ECONOMY

In Brief

Turkey cancels tender for tobacco monopoly ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey has canceled a tender for state-owned Tekel’s tobacco arm, the privatization administration said yesterday, after final bids in the key IMF-backed sale failed to meet government expectations. The decision will likely prove a setback in Turkey’s efforts to raise some $2.2 billion from privatization in 2003 and to attract much-needed foreign investment to its frail economy, recovering from deep recession. Japan International (JTI) last week filed the highest $1.15 billion bid for the firm, which says it controls nearly 60 percent of the Turkish tobacco market, the sixth largest in the world. Smith Barney raises target price for OPAP Smith Barney yesterday raised its price target for gaming group OPAP to 12 euros from 11.80 euros, keeping a «buy – medium risk» rating. OPAP, which last year had a 42 percent share of Greece’s 4.6-billion-euro gaming and casino market, reported a 22 percent rise in quarterly profit last week, reining in its nine-month decline after extraordinary provisions early in the year. «Results showed third-quarter sales growth of 17 percent, marginally ahead of our forecasts, and EBITDA and net profit growth of 22 percent, ahead of our estimates by 7.0 to 8.0 percent,» SB said in a note. (Reuters) Navigation The European Commission yesterday delivered a considered opinion – the last stage before referral to the European Court – to eight member states, including Greece, for delaying the adoption of measures toward ensuring greater safety in navigation. The measures, which concern vessel classification and port inspections in line with a Community directive, should have been in place by July 23. Emporiki Cyprus Emporiki Bank said yesterday its board approved the bank’s participation in the 6.3 million Cyprus pounds capital increase of subsidiary Emporiki Bank-Cyprus. Following the share capital increase, Emporiki’s stake in Emporiki Bank-Cyprus will rise to 81.19 percent from 75.02 percent currently. (Reuters) Carlsberg Carlsberg AS said that Carlsberg Breweries has raised its stake in Bulgarian brewer Shumensko Pivo AD to 89 percent through the acquisition of a further 29.6 percent of share capital. Carlsberg Breweries, 60 percent owned by Carlsberg AS, plans on merging Shumensko Brewery with Pirinsko Pivo, another Bulgarian brewery in which Carlsberg Breweries holds a 98 percent stake. Carlsberg said it had agreed with the seller of the 29.6 percent stake, Ferroal Ltd, not to disclose the financial details of the operation. (AFP) ELTA The European Commission said yesterday state grants totaling 415 million euros to the Greek Postal Service (ELTA) in the last six years were not in contravention of Community legislation regarding competition, as they helped the utility implement a technological modernization program and improve the quality of the postal service.