ECONOMY

In Brief

Bulgaria looks to Greece for stock market know-how Bulgaria is quickly harmonizing its stock market legislation according to EU directives and is strongly interested in cooperation and in obtaining knowledge from the Athens bourse as it strives to determine its own market’s growth direction and how to protect shareholders, Bulgarian Capital Market Commission president Apostol Apostolov told a regional stock market conference in Thessaloniki yesterday. The conference, which ends today, is also attended by representatives of Romania, Cyprus, Egypt, Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Average daily turnover in the Sofia bourse is about 2.5-3 million euros but has grown more than tenfold in five years. Athens Stock Exchange President Spyros Kapralos told the conference he expects the Capital Market Commission to approve by early November the plan for listing companies under three main categories, blue chips, mid- and small-caps, and of special characteristics. NBG readies bold expansion moves in the Balkans The National Bank of Greece will make an unexpected bid for a majority stake in Romania’s largest bank, Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR) on Monday, sources said yesterday. BCR, with a 26 percent market share, is also being eyed by Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas and Portugal’s BCP. NBG recently sold its US subsidiary Atlantic Bank and plans to also shed its NBG Canada and South African Bank of Athens, as part of a three-year plan to bolster its presence in the Balkans. The plan also includes sale of real estate assets. Award The internationally recognized US magazine Global Finance presented, for a third continuous year, the Best Sub-Custody Bank in Greece award to National Bank of Greece, concerning services offered to foreign institutional investors in 2005. Criteria include customer relations, quality of service, competitive pricing, post-settlement operations, business-continuity plans and knowledge of local regulations and practices. Turkish power plants Turkey will include 17 thermal power plants in its sell-off program in 2006 in order to boost domestic production and cut costs, Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said yesterday. Turkey should lower its dependence on energy imports and encourage use of local resources, Guler said in a statement. «We have weaknesses in productivity. If we solve this, costs will fall and citizens will be able to buy cheaper electricity,» he said. The 17 plants slated for sale have a total 8,784-megawatt capacity. (Reuters) Consumer complaints Consumers in the European Union may use a pilot electronic program, e-Dispute, to submit complaints and resolve differences with suppliers. The system, which in Greece will be handled by consumer association EKPOIZO, will notify the supplying firm through e-mail with a view to reaching resolution without litigation. The service will be free.