ECONOMY

In Brief

Cyprus Airways sells majority of Hellas Jet NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cypriot national carrier Cyprus Airways has signed an agreement with Air Miles of Greece for the commercial exploitation of Hellas Jet, its Greek subsidiary. The memorandum of understanding includes a call option on Air Miles to acquire 51 percent of Hellas Jet shares from Cyprus Airways, and for the Cypriot carrier to sell Air Miles its remaining 49 percent, Cyprus Air said in a statement. Cyprus Air did not disclose the value of the deal with Air Miles, which is the commercial name of Trans World Aviation SA, based in Greece. The Cypriot carrier, troubled by a mountain of debts from fleet-renewal costs and start-up operations in Greece, suspended Hellas Jet scheduled flights in May. The Greek unit was created in 2003 to tap an anticipated surge in passenger traffic before the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. It was clocking up losses of 1.5 million euros a month, putting an additional strain on Cyprus Airways’ limited financial resources. The Cypriot carrier, majority owned by the government, is in the throes of deep restructuring which saw one-third of its senior management axed last year. In May, the European Commission approved a government loan guarantee for the cash-strapped carrier. Two Greek online betting sites bought for 19 mln euros VIENNA (Reuters) – Austrian online sport betting company BETandWIN.com said yesterday it has acquired a Greek online betting platform to expand its presence in the region. BETandWIN said in a statement it has acquired the Internet casino domains www.betoto.com and www.thecroupier.com from NOMATO Investments Ltd, including all of their customers, for 5 million euros ($6.09 million) plus 200,000 BETandWIN shares. This makes for a total purchase price of just under 19 million euros, BETandWIN said. The company’s shares closed at 70 euros on Thursday. The stock has nearly tripled since the end of last year, when its shares were valued at 28.25 euros. CosmOTE coverage JP Morgan started coverage of Greek mobile operator CosmOTE at «neutral» yesterday, setting a price target of 16.54 euros. «The stock has been one of the strongest sector performers, having risen 61 percent since the start of 2004 (outperforming its peers by 36 percent),» JP Morgan wrote in a research note. «We believe the company’s attractive operating fundamentals are now priced in. We view further near-term outperformance unlikely given the backdrop of slowing domestic growth,» it added. JP Morgan forecast the operator’s growth to continue on the back of its recent acquisitions in the Balkans. (Reuters) Four bids Turkey’s IMF-backed tender of its landline monopoly Turk Telekom has attracted four bidders and the winner will be announced on July 1, Turkey’s Privatization Administration (OIB) announced. Bidders in the multi-billion-dollar tender include a consortium between US-based Carlyle Group and local conglomerate Koc Holding. Oger Telecoms, part of the Saudi Oger group owned by the family of assassinated Lebanese former prime minister Rafik Hariri, is entering with Telecom Italia. A joint venture formed by Emirates Telecommunications Corporation with Turkish and Gulf involvement and a Turkish group headed by a subsidiary of local GSM firm Turkcell are the other two bidders. (Reuters)