ECONOMY

In Brief

UBS takes poor view of Vodafone’s share buyback offer Investment bank UBS said yesterday it cut its rating for Greek mobile operator Panafon to «neutral 1» from «buy 1,» setting their price target at 6.18 euros. The move came in response to UK mobile group Vodafone’s offer to buy out holders of the 25.205 percent of Panafon it does not already own for 6.18 euros per share. «Though we believe the bid price is below fair price, and thus we do not recommend to tender the shares, we also acknowledge that minority shareholders face a notable risk of poor liquidity volumes after the tender concludes,» UBS said in a note. «Vodafone cannot force a squeeze-out, but could proceed to de-list the stock if it surpasses a 95 percent stake. Panafon’s operations are outstanding… unfortunately, fundamentals hardly count in such a process and we believe there are low chances Vodafone would revise the bid,» it added. (Reuters) CyTA in talks for stake in Greece’s Forthnet NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus Telecoms CyTA said yesterday it was discussing cooperation with Greek alternative operator Forthnet but that it was too early to announce any deal. «We are having discussions with Forthnet on a variety of issues but there is nothing yet on the horizon to announce. Yes, we are talking to Forthnet on possible cooperation but it is too early to say what form it will take,» CyTA spokesman Paris Menelaou told Reuters. Greek media reports suggested CyTA was poised to take a 30 percent stake in Forthnet. A spokesman for the Greek company declined to comment. CyTA is eyeing its foray into overseas markets in a bid to offset the impact of looming deregulation at home. Earlier this year, a then opposition-dominated Parliament blocked a plan for it to invest in Greek telecoms operator Infoquest. (Reuters) Flights to Skopje Private carrier Aegean Airlines, which competes with state-owned Olympic Airways, said yesterday it will start flying to Skopje in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on December 10. Aegean said it will service the new route with its Avro RJ jets five times a week. Besides domestic routes, many linking the mainland with popular island destinations, the airline also operates flights to destinations abroad including Rome, Frankfurt, Cologne, Dusseldorf and Stuttgart, Munich and Milan. Aegean, which has code-sharing agreements with Italy’s Air One and Alpi Eagles, is eyeing additional flights to Balkan destinations, including Istanbul, Sofia, Belgrade, Larnaca and Cairo. (Reuters) Lavipharm Pharmaceuticals and cosmetics producer Lavipharm has won Money (Chrima) magazine’s first Entrepreneurial Innovation Award for listed companies. The group’s turnover in 2002 exceeded 300 million euros. Technopoli Technopoli Acropolis, a consortium of 134 Greek IT firms, has submitted to the Development Ministry a 150-million euro investment proposal for the creation of a technology park, planned for 2007. The group, which intends to increase its share capital with more participants next year, plans the project on a 40-hectare area 26 km north of Athens.