In Brief

Emporiki Bank considers rights issue of shares Emporiki Bank, 11 percent of which is owned by Credit Agricole, is considering a rights issue of shares for 400-500 million euros to boost its equity and capital adequacy ratios, CEO George Provopoulos said yesterday. «I believe we can raise this amount of capital. This will take us to a capital adequacy ratio of at least 10 percent,» he told reporters. On Tuesday Greece’s fourth-largest lender by assets said the cost of its inclusion in a new pension fund law, recently passed by the government, was 1.108 billion euros, lowering its equity by 712 million euros. The bank had said it might launch a rights issue, sell treasury stock or issue subordinated securities to boost its capital base. Analysts said Emporiki’s equity stood at about 560 million euros at the end of March. The bank returned to profit in the first quarter, posting net earnings of 24.5 million euros, compared with a loss of 9.9 million in the year’s earlier period. Athens bitter over Commission sugar proposals Greece is categorically opposed to the European Commission proposals about sugar, Agricultural Development and Food Minister Evangelos Basiakos reiterated yesterday. «These proposals cannot be accepted by the Greek government as they are destructive for Greek sugar beet producers and the sugar industry,» he said, asking for the Commission blueprint to be adjusted to the real conditions in the EU with the contribution of beet-producing member states. The Commission has proposed that, as of 2007, the institutional price of sugar beet fall from 43.6 euros per ton to 25.05 euros per ton and for sugar’s price to fall by 39 percent to 386.5 euros per ton. Energy community The treaty establishing the Southeastern Europe Energy Community, under EU auspices, will be signed in Athens in October, members’ representatives decided yesterday in Vienna. «The creation of a complete regional energy market is strengthening further the relations between the people of the broader region and constitutes a solid ground for cooperation not just in energy but also in all sectors of the economy,» said Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas. Market-making EFG Eurobank Securities, the brokerage arm of Eurobank, said on Tuesday it plans to start market-making operations for 10 Greek blue chip shares, as soon as it obtains approval by the Athens stock exchange. The stocks are Alpha Bank, Coca-Cola HBC, CosmOTE, Public Power Corporation, Hellenic Petroleum, National Bank of Greece, Emporiki Bank, OPAP, Piraeus Bank and Titan Cement. Along with OTE, in which the brokerage already makes a market, the stocks are the Athens bourse’s largest capitalization listings. They account for 78 percent of total turnover and are among the most heavily traded shares by Greek and foreign institutional portfolios. EFG Eurobank Securities is already a market maker for the corresponding stock futures of most of these companies. Q-Telecom bid Listed IT company Info-Quest, owner of alternative telephony network Q-Telecom, has received a non-binding bid from foreign institutionals for its subsidiary, which it plans to separate from the parent company. The offer for Q-Telecom is 250 million euros, Info-Quest said.

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