ECONOMY

In Brief

Hellas Gold obtains permits for Halkidiki operations Canadian-based mining firm European Goldfields yesterday announced that its 65 percent-owned subsidiary Hellas Gold SA has received all the necessary environmental and mining permits to commence mining operations at the Stratoni deposit in Halkidiki, northern Greece. «We have worked closely with the Greek government and the local community to gain these permits, and this successful outcome paves the ways for further development of our assets in Greece. The cooperation with our Greek partner, (construction firm) Aktor, has been crucial for obtaining the Stratoni permits and we look forward to working with them in securing permits for the Olympias and Skouries projects,» said David Reading, CEO of European Goldfields. Production of lead, zinc and silver ore is expected to reach 170,000 tons by the end of the first year of full scale production, steadily increasing thereafter. Aegean places order for eight Airbus A320s Aegean Airlines has placed a $420 million order for eight Airbus A320 jets to renew its fleet. The airline said yesterday the deal includes an option for another 12 Airbus jets of the same family (A319, A320, A321). The new aircraft will gradually replace its current fleet of Boeing 737 jets. «Our fleet’s renewal with Airbus 320 jets will take place during 2007-9,» Aegean Chairman Theodore Vassilakis said in a statement. The carrier said full details of the deal with aircraft manufacturer Airbus will be finalized by the end of October. Its current fleet numbers 19 aircraft. The profitable airline has managed average growth rates of 20 percent in the last five years, and its market share on domestic routes now exceeds 50 percent. (Reuters) FYROM bond The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has mandated Citibank to manage the possible sale of the country’s debut eurobond issue later this year, the Finance Ministry in Skopje has said. Sources say the former Yugoslav republic is considering the issue of at least 100 million euros, probably in October, partly to plug its balance of payments gap. A statement said the Finance Ministry signed the deal with Citibank on September 6, having picked it from among nine competitors. FYROM’s GDP is expected to grow by 3.5 percent this year. Over a third of the population is officially unemployed but analysts say the extensive gray economy is thriving. Total foreign debt stands at $1.9 billion. (Reuters) Industrial output Greek industrial output fell 4.4 percent year-on-year in July, after a 2.3 percent drop in June, hit by lower mining and manufacturing production, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday. Turkish growth Turkish gross national product (GNP) grew 3.4 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, the State Statistics Institute said yesterday, compared with economists’ forecasts of 3.9 percent expansion. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew 4.2 percent, compared with an average prediction of 3.7 percent. (Reuters)