ECONOMY

In Brief

Great demand for 20-year, inflation-proof bond LONDON (Reuters) – Bookbuilding in a Greek syndicated offer of 20-year eurozone inflation-proof bonds racked up 3.5 billion euros in demand, sources familiar with the deal told Reuters yesterday. Four lead managers were handling the sale: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, ING and Banca IMI. Greece first issued 1.25 billion euros of this index-linked paper in March 2003. That was followed by two reopenings in January and April 2004, which altogether raised around 2.15 billion euros. Market sources said that price guidance was 23-24 basis points above the French OATei 2032 index-linked bond. Greece is not the only country issuing inflation-protected securities this week. France will sell 1.5 billion euros’ worth of 2011 and 2015 paper on July 16 via auctions. Italy might tap one of its existing bonds, possibly in five- or 10-year maturity, for around 1.5-2.0 billion euros, traders said. Share issue to help finance buyout of Greek-owned tankers BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgian oil transporter Euronav announced yesterday it would issue 10.5 million new shares to help fund its move to acquire a fleet of tankers from a Greek owner in a deal worth more than $1 billion. Euronav said in March it had agreed to buy the 16 tankers and existing contracts of Tanklog from Greek shipowner Peter Livanos’s Ceres Hellenic Shipping Enterprises, paying cash and stock and assuming Tanklog’s shipyard payments. «A total of 10,502,055 new shares will be issued to a number of companies related to Tanklog Shipholdings Ltd subject to a number of conditions,» the Belgian company said. The new shares, amounting to almost 25 percent of the company, would be worth about 235.2 million euros ($285 million), based on Euronav’s share price of 22.40 euros yesterday. The companies related to Tanklog Shipholdings will own 20 percent of Euronav, reducing the stock’s free float to 34.06 percent, the company said. The acquired vessels will start contributing to Euronav’s results from April 1. Profit drop The Bank of Attica yesterday reported a 2.7 percent drop in group net profit to 2.92 million euros in the first quarter of 2005, under Europe’s new IFRS accounting standards. Bank of Attica, whose 2004 group pretax profit fell 57.2 percent on higher loan-loss provisions, last week told shareholders it will not pay a fiscal 2004 dividend but use the money instead to boost its equity and capital adequacy. Attica is 41.16 percent owned by the engineers’ pension fund TSMEDE, with the Postal Savings Bank also holding 18.73 percent. As part of the group’s restructuring, Attica sold its loss-making brokerage arm Hermes to EFG Eurobank Securities earlier this year for 2.25 million euros. (Reuters) Expanding gas use The Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) yesterday approved projects to expand the natural gas network to two central Greek cities and two major industrial sites. A high-pressure pipeline will bring natural gas to the cities of Trikala and Karditsa and will be built by a local gas company. The cost, 23.8 million euros, will be partly funded by the European Union. Two other pipelines will be built, one to the town of Aliveri, on the island of Evia, where electricity producer PPC will shut down two oil-run plants within three years, and one to the site of Aluminium of Greece in Viotia prefecture.