ECONOMY

In Brief

Romtelecom announces new board members, CFO BUCHAREST – Romanian fixed-line carrier Romtelecom, majority owned by Greece’s OTE Telecom, announced yesterday it had changed its board, naming Panayis Vourloumis, OTE’s chief executive, as board chairman. Romtelecom also announced that OTE group’s Financial Director Iordanis Aivazis, OTE International General Manager Michail Tsamaz and Romanian former tennis player, businessman Ion Tiriac, were OTE’s representatives on the board. James Hubley, Romtelecom chief executive, will also be on the board, while the Romanian State’s representatives will be Ioan Coaca and Serban Pop, the company said. Romtelecom’s Chief Financial Officer Leonidas Skarlatos, who resigned two weeks ago to pursue other interests, was replaced by Dimitris Sophocleous, former chief financial officer at Romtelecom’s mobile telephony arm Cosmorom, a Romtelecom official said. (Reuters) CCHBC stock upgraded, higher target price set Investment bank Merrill Lynch upgraded bottler Coca-Cola HBC to «buy» from a previous «neutral» rating yesterday, setting a price target of 24 euros. «We upgrade our recommendation from Neutral to Buy, setting a price objective of 24 euros per share,» Merrill said in a note. «We expect CCHBC to produce well above average growth, while also facing risks no higher than the wider beverage sector.» CCHBC shares closed unchanged at 19.68 euros yesterday. (Reuters) IPO approved The Capital Market Commission yesterday approved the initial public offering of Mitera Maternity Clinic SA for listing on the Athens bourse’s main market. The medical facility will join the bourse’s health services sector, which now comprises four listings – Athens Medical Center, Euromedica, Hygeia and Iaso. Additional details were not available. The regulator also approved the delisting of Vodafone-Panafon shares from the exchange, as requested by the mobile telecoms operator. (Reuters) Bond graded Moody’s Investors Service has assigned a «Baa1» rating to the senior unsecured notes (i.e. notes not backed up by collateral) worth 300 million euros, to be issued by The Cyprus Popular Bank Ltd (Laiki Bank). The unsubordinated notes are part of a 750-million-euro program, already rated by Moody’s at «Baa1» and «Baa2» for senior unsecured notes and subordinated notes, respectively. The «Baa1» unsubordinated debt rating is at the same level as the «Baa1» long-term foreign currency deposit rating already assigned to Laiki Bank. All ratings carry stable outlooks. Moody’s existing ratings for Laiki Bank, of «Baa1/Prime-2» for long- and short-term foreign currency deposits and «D+» for financial strength, reflect its position as the second-largest financial services group in Cyprus, its importance within its domestic market, and its complementary niche overseas activities, primarily in Greece. Nevertheless, the ratings are constrained by a difficult domestic operating environment, pressuring the bank’s bottom-line profitability. Headquartered in Nicosia, The Cyprus Popular Bank Ltd had total assets of 5.1 billion Cyprus pounds (8.7 billion euros) as of December 31, 2003.