ECONOMY

In Brief

Cypriots favor euro adoption, but fear economic crisis NICOSIA – Sixty-five percent of Greek Cypriots favor adopting the euro but an even higher number fear the risk of an economic crisis associated with Cyprus’s recent admission to the European Union, a survey revealed yesterday. An EU-commissioned poll by Cymar Research showed 68 percent of respondents were concerned by the possibility of an economic crisis, with inflation among their primary concerns. Cyprus joined the European Union on May 1 with nine other mainly central and east European countries. Adoption of the euro has traditionally garnered high support among local people, with the approval rating ranging from 58 to 73 percent between 2003 and 2004. Opposition over the same period ranged from 23 to 33 percent. The Cyprus economy is currently growing faster than the eurozone’s. But the government is introducing an austerity program to cut state spending and boost revenue in preparation for the adoption of the euro and replacing the Cyprus pound by its stated target of 2007. This includes a freeze on pay rises in the public sector, an increase in the retirement age and keeping pension reviews below inflation rates. Traditionally euro-enthusiasts, respondents said Cyprus’s accession to the bloc would bring political stability and security to the island. On the flip side, most feared EU accession would prompt a surge in organized crime and drugs trafficking. (Reuters) CCHBC buys back its 2006 euro bond LONDON – Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co SA is buying back its 5.25 percent euro notes due 2006 at a tender price of 104.649 percent of face value, the banks managing the deal announced yesterday. The bottling company said bondholders had tendered 322 million euros worth of the notes, of which there were 555 million euros outstanding. The tender price offered a spread equivalent to two-year mid-swaps. On Friday, Coca-Cola HBC sold a 500-million-euro bond maturing in 2011, which it offered in exchange for the 2006 notes. The new bonds were priced to give a yield of 43 basis points over mid-swaps. Credit Suisse First Boston is managing the tender offer, while CSFB and HSBC are book runners of the new issue. (Reuters) New management EFG Eurobank Ergasias announced yesterday it had appointed two new chief executives to head its Romanian and Bulgarian subsidiaries. George Michelis, previously general manager and board vice chairman at state-controlled Emporiki Bank will head Banc Post in Romania. EFG Eurobank holds 53.25 percent of Banc Post, Romania’s sixth largest bank with a network of about 151 branches. Antonis Hasiotis, previously General Bank’s chairman and chief executive, will be the new managing director at Post Bank in Bulgaria. Post Bank, with a network of 119 branches, is wholly owned by EFG Eurobank. (Reuters) No effect Production at Greece’s leading refiner Hellenic Petroleum was not affected by yesterday’s blackout, a spokesman for the firm said. «There was a holding back in the Aspropyrgos refinery for five to 10 minutes,» he told Reuters. «It is now operating normally, with production unaffected by the blackout,» he added. (Reuters)