In Brief

Stock market ‘bubble’ trial to resume on Tuesday The trial of 17 brokers, major shareholders and businessmen accused of manipulating stocks during the heyday of the Athens Stock Exchange «bull market» in 1999 began yesterday. After an inquiry which lasted many months, the accused were charged with violating provisions of the law on the stock market’s operation, a misdemeanor. The trial will resume on Tuesday. Turkish bourse hits new high on EU report ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish shares closed at a record high yesterday, while the lira and bonds were firm in continued optimism after the European Commission’s decision to recommend the opening of EU entry talks with Turkey. The main share index closed 2.31 percent higher at 22,951.36, bringing gains since the Commission’s announcement on Wednesday to more than 6 percent. Since May, stocks have risen by more than 40 percent on hopes for EU membership. Yields on the busiest April 12, 2006 bonds edged down to 23.34 percent from Thursday’s 23.38 percent. The lira firmed to 1,498,000 against the dollar from 1,502,500. «The door to negotiations has been opened with the Commission recommendation. In line with this, the positive trend is continuing,» said Ismet Palanli from Gedik Investment. Sentiment was also being supported by anticipation of a new standby deal between Turkey and the International Monetary Fund to replace the current $19 billion accord which expires in February. The Treasury said on Friday that Turkey will resume talks on a new standby in Ankara on Monday. Bond issues EFG Private Bank SA plans to launch a euro-denominated perpetual Tier I issue, joint bookrunners EFG Eurobank Ergasias, HSBC and Lehman Brothers announced yesterday. The deal would be launched in the near future, following investor presentations and subject to market conditions, the bookrunners said. EFG Private Bank is the Swiss private banking arm of the Geneva-based parent EFG Bank European Financial Group, which also holds a 41 percent stake in EFG Eurobank Ergasias, one of Greece’s top three banks. The issue is expected to be rated Baa1 by Moody’s Investors Service and BBB+ by Fitch Ratings. In a separate development, ABN AMRO, Alpha Bank and Morgan Stanley announced that Piraeus Bank plans to launch a euro-denominated Tier I bond. The three banks have been mandated to manage the issue, which is expected to be launched in the near future subject to market conditions. Piraeus Bank is rated Baa1 by Moody’s Investors Service, BBB by Standard & Poor’s and BBB+ by Fitch Ratings. (Reuters) Brands bought Procter & Gamble has acquired the brand names of Greek detergent company Rolco-Vianyl, it was announced yesterday. The products will continue to be produced by Rolco-Vianyl, which will also produce Procter & Gamble brands in the future, and distributed by P&G. The Competition Commission is expected to approve the deal within days. P&G signed deals with Greek detergent firms to produce its products in the past but discontinued local production in 1995. Rolco-Vianyl, founded in 1948, is the largest Greek detergent producer. Its best-known brands are Ava, Forte and Rol.