ECONOMY

In Brief

Government approves plan to reopen Halkidiki mine Deputy Development Minister Giorgos Salagoudis yesterday announced that the Cassandra Mines in the northern prefecture of Halkidiki are ready to resume operations. Salagoudis said he had approved the environmental protection plan by operator Hellas Gold SA, a subsidiary of Canadian-based mining firm European Goldfields. The plan will cost an estimated 15 million euros. 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. Turkey scales back its primary surplus target ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey has suggested cutting its 2006 primary surplus target to 6.2 percent from 6.5 percent but the International Monetary Fund appears cool to the idea, economic officials said yesterday. The officials also told Reuters the privatization of profitable state companies such as landline company Turk Telekom would affect the primary surplus in 2006 negatively because of lost revenue. Court favors sale Cyprus’s Supreme Court yesterday overturned a lower court ruling barring Bank of Cyprus from selling its stake in an insurance company to Greek insurer Aspis Pronia. Aspis Pronia agreed to acquire 62.8 percent in Cypriot Universal Life from Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Group in May, but implementation was stymied by another shareholder who took Bank of Cyprus to court to block the move. The Supreme Court yesterday lifted the restrictive order issued by the lower district court, Bank of Cyprus said in a statement. Bank of Cyprus has a 28 percent stake in Universal Life and said at the time of the signing it would receive 7.3 million Cyprus pounds ($15.8 million). Laiki, with a 35 percent share, said it would receive 9.2 million Cyprus pounds. It did not go ahead with its part of the sale pending clarification of the legal issue with Bank of Cyprus. Both banks, which dominate Cyprus’s banking scene, have their own insurance subsidiaries in competition with Universal, one of Cyprus’s largest insurers. (Reuters) Airport retailer buyout Hellenic Duty Free Shops (HDFS) finalized its acquisition of airport retailer The Nuance Group (Hellas) SA for 1.17 million euros, it announced yesterday. The Nuance Group (Hellas), owned by Swiss-based The Nuance Group, runs four outlets at the Athens airport with combined annual sales of about 5-6 million euros. The deal was completed after it got the approval from the competition commission, said Duty Free, which is 49 percent-owned by jewellery retailer Folli-Follie and phone and accessory retailer Germanos. HDFS runs duty-free and other retail stores in airports, sea ports and border points throughout Greece and has exclusive rights for the duty-free business until 2048.