ECONOMY

In Brief

Eurobank wins approval for Serb bank acquisition EFG Eurobank, Greece’s third-largest lender by assets, said yesterday that it had received Serbian regulatory approval to lift its total stake in Serbia’s National Savings Bank (NSB) to 90.2 percent. Last month Eurobank said it had agreed to buy 49 percent of Serbia’s National Savings Bank from private shareholders, boosting its total stake to about 60 percent. At the time, Eurobank said it would make a public offer for the remaining shares owned by the Serbian government and other shareholders. The public offer will last from September 5-26, it said. National Savings Bank has a network of 70 branches in Serbia and total assets of 122 million euros at end-June, Eurobank said. Eurobank now has 20 branches in Serbia. (Reuters) Marfin buys stake in Egnatia Bank Marfin Financial Group said yesterday that it had agreed to buy a 10.07 percent stake in Egnatia Bank for 30.6 million euros. Marfin said in a stock market filing that it had agreed to buy 8.6 million Egnatia ordinary shares at a price of 3.56 euros per share. The transaction will be concluded within six working days, it said. Marfin’s offer for the Egnatia stake was at a 17 percent premium to Thursday’s closing price of 3.04 euros. «Two of the group’s shareholders decided to sell part of their shareholding,» an Egnatia spokesperson told Reuters. Analysts said that the move by Marfin will give it access to a bank network, at the same time strengthening the two small financial groups, combining investment banking and retail banking. Egnatia has 68 branches. Marfin had in July asked for shareholder approval for a rights issue of up to 400 million euros to finance future expansion. (Reuters) Tupras Turkish privatization agency OIB said yesterday it had received nine bids for the purchase of a 51 percent stake in state oil refiner Tupras. The nine bidders are Turkey’s OYAK, Austrian OMV, Italy’s ENI, Turkey’s Anadolu Tasima Joint Initiative Group, Hungarian oil and gas company MOL, Poland’s PKN Orlen SA/Zorlu Holding, Koc Holding /Aygaz/Opet Petrolculuk/The Shell Company of Turkey/Shell Overseas Investment BV, Indian Oil Corp/Calik Enerji, and Tupras Acquisition Consortium/Petrol Ofisi. Yesterday was the final day for submitting bids for the block sale of the refiner after a previous $1.3 billion sell-off attempt failed last year due to a legal challenge by labor unions in court. OIB officials told Reuters the bidders would be invited to hold «one-to-one and face-to-face» talks, and they would be asked to revise their bids upward. The sale process will culminate in an open auction, the officials said. They declined to give a definite date for the completion of the process, but one official said the sale could be finished «in a short time, and probably within this month.» (Reuters) Swissport Swissport International, the world’s biggest ground handler air transport, said in a statement it has teamed up with the Cypriot-based GAP Vassilopoulos Group to found Swissport Cyprus, a new ground handling company that will start to operate in Larnaca and Paphos in September. Retail sales Greece’s retail sales volume rose 3.9 percent year-on-year in June, slowing from a 5.3 percent pace in May, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday. Retail sales by revenues increased 6.2 percent, down from a 7.6 percent clip in May.