In Brief

Delta to buy back Danone’s share in milk subsidiary Dairy group Delta Holdings said yesterday it had agreed to buy back Danone’s 30 percent stake in its Delta Milk subsidiary for a net sum of 46 million euros ($59.7 million). Delta Holdings, a maker of dairy products, fruit juices and frozen foods, said the deal would end a 15-year cooperation with Danone, the French food group that makes Evian mineral water, LU cookies and Actimel dairy drinks. «Today the strategic goals of the two groups no longer coincide,» Delta said. Delta Holdings’ stake in Delta Milk will rise to 100 percent. The group said it would fund the purchase through available cash or short-term borrowing. As part of the deal, Delta Milk will stop distributing Danone’s Danette, Danonito and Actimel products at the end of 2005. (Reuters) Building activity up in November but still down in first 11 months Greek construction activity, measured by the number of new building permits, rose 11.7 percent year-on-year in November, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday. The NSS said 7,200 new permits were issued nationwide in November, corresponding to 6.7 million cubic meters, compared with 5.9 million cubic meters in the same month a year earlier. A total of 74,015 new permits were issued around the country in the January-to-November period, down 1.7 percent year-on-year, amounting to 70.2 million cubic meters, the NSS said. (Reuters) Romanian real estate Romania plans to introduce a 10 percent tax on certain «speculative» real estate transactions this year to help the state budget, Finance Minister Ionut Popescu was quoted as saying yesterday. The European Union aspirant, set to join in 2007, could also raise excise duties twice this year, in April and October, to bring them closer to EU levels, Popescu said. «For real estate transactions there will be, starting from April 1, a 10 percent tax,» Popescu told the Adevarul newspaper in an interview. «But this will only apply to speculative deals.» Popescu said those who buy a house and sell it within a certain period to be determined by the government would have to pay a 10 percent tax on the profits. Romania’s new centrist government introduced a flat 16 percent tax this year, replacing both a 25 percent corporate tax and an 18-40 percent income tax, sparking worries at the International Monetary Fund that this would fuel inflation. The government agreed to cut the budget deficit to 0.4-0.5 percent of gross domestic product from an initial 1.5 percent target by raising some taxes and cutting spending. (Reuters) EFG Securities expands EFG Eurobank, Greece’s third-largest lender by assets, has agreed to fully acquire Bank of Attica’s brokerage arm Hermes for an undisclosed sum, the bank said in a stock market filing yesterday. Hermes ranked 19th out of Greece’s 81 brokers with a market share of 0.81 percent last year. EFG Eurobank Securities ranked first in December with a market share of 16.35 percent. (Reuters) New travel regulation The new European Union regulation setting common rules for the provision of compensation and help to airline passengers, for flight delays and for refusal to board, comes into effect today, the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies (HATTA) said in a press release.

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