ECONOMY

In Brief

UBS places Alpha Bank among best European bank stocks Alpha Bank features in fourth position among European peers in investment bank UBS’s recommendations for the global banking industry in 2004. Besides Alpha, the top five include Barclays, Societe Generale, Banca Intesa and Bank Austria. The Greek bank is also in the list of the 21 best stock buys in the sector worldwide. Last week, UBS issued a report upgrading target prices and recommendations for all Greek banks, giving a «buy» for Alpha and a target price of 30 euros. OTE to consider bidding again for more of mobile telephony arm OTE Telecom will study a bid for a 9 percent stake in its mobile arm CosmOTE currently held by Norway’s Telenor before deciding on its next move, an OTE source said yesterday. «Telenor has informed us it has received an offer for its CosmOTE stake which is priced lower than CosmOTE’s current share price. We’re looking into the bid and will reply when we are ready,» the source told Reuters after OTE’s board meeting. Lefteris Antonakopoulos, OTE’s chief executive, has said OTE is interested in buying out minority shareholders in its 59 percent-owned mobile arm, with 100 percent ownership a medium-term target. In November OTE made a bid for Telenor’s stake, which Telenor rejected as too low and said it was in no rush to sell the shares. (Reuters) Piraeus Bank Piraeus Bank is interested in buying Romanian bank Banca Tiriac as part of its expansion into Romania and Bulgaria, a Piraeus Bank official said yesterday. Privately owned Banca Tiriac has a 3 percent market share in Romania. Piraeus, Greece’s fifth largest bank by market value, expanded into Romania after it bought local bank Pater Bank. It now has a network of seven branches in Romania with a 2 percent market share in lending, and a 2 percent market share in lending in Bulgaria and nine branches. It has 13 branches in Albania, with a 15 percent market share in lending. (Reuters) Olympic tickets After winning an international tender, a consortium of IT firm Inform Lykos and Belgium’s Drukkerij Joos yesterday signed a contract with Athens 2004, the organizers of the Olympic Games, to print, personalize, seal and deliver the tickets for the events. Several million tickets of six different types will be printed. Famar Pharmaceuticals firm Famar, a member of the Marinopoulos group, yesterday announced the acquisition of a plant from global giant Aventis in Saint Genis Laval, France, targeting an expansion of its capacity in the health and beauty sector to meet demand in the French market, while maintaining the plant’s existing operations. No details of the deal were announced, except that it is accompanied by a long-term contract between the two firms. Famar now employs 1,900 people in eight plants in four countries and expects a turnover of 200 million euros in 2004.