In Brief

Several bidders for Olympic’s last privatization attempt Greece has received a number of non-binding bids from airlines and financial advisers for its flag carrier, Olympic Airlines, Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis told reporters yesterday. «There were several bids from Greece and abroad. We will proceed to the next stage with those who meet the criteria,» he said without identifying the bidders. Transport Minister Michael Liapis has said this privatization attempt is the last chance for the airline’s survival. The source said the bids will be examined by the government, with a short list expected to be announced soon. Early this month, a top adviser to the European Court of Justice said Greece has not done enough to recover 194 million euros in illegal aid given to Olympic Airways, the carrier’s debt-laden predecessor. Olympic Airlines posted a 23.08-million-euro loss in 2003 on sales of 63.9 million euros. (Reuters) Income policy next week, pension raises above inflation The government’s income policy, to be announced next week, will include salary raises above last year’s 2.9 percent inflation, Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said yesterday, adding that raises in pensions will be slightly higher than those in salaries. He also said increases in the pension supplement and farmers’ pensions (OGA) would be almost double inflation. Speaking after his two-hour meeting with the prime minister, Alogoskoufis reiterated the government’s strategy for a mild fiscal adjustment with emphasis on growth and an outward-looking economy. Intracom Telecoms equipment-maker Intracom is targeting 30 million euros in cost cuts this year that may include shedding more jobs, its chief executive said yesterday. «We are looking for a number of ways to further reduce costs aggressively in 2005. We are aiming at 30 million euros in cost reduction for the parent company,» George Deliyiannis told Reuters in an interview. Intracom cut its head count by 750 last year, with 421 coming from a voluntary redundancy program. It trimmed 28 million euros in costs in 2004. (Reuters) Moody’s upgrades Turkey Moody’s Investors Service yesterday revised the outlook on Turkey’s credit ratings to positive from stable on impressive economic progress and prospects of strong ties with the European Union. «At the same time, Moody’s has upgraded the ratings on the government’s Turkish lira-denominated instruments to ‘B1’ from ‘B2’ in recognition of improved domestic debt sustainability,» the rating agency said in a statement. But Moody’s warned that Turkey’s heavy debt burden and a wide current account deficit remained sources of vulnerability. (Reuters) Bulgaria ups forecast Bulgarian Finance Minister Milen Velchev yesterday raised the country’s full-year 2004 economic growth estimate to 5.6-5.7 percent, versus a previous 5.3 percent. The revision was larger than expected. In December, following the release of January-September growth data, the ministry said it was planning to raise its 2004 growth outlook by 0.1 or 0.2 percentage points. (Reuters)

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