ECONOMY

In Brief

Heartening news for gov’t on the revenues front The government yesterday announced a rise in public revenues in October, the first in nine months, and above the annual target of 10.2 percent. Revenues totaled about 4 billion euros, up 12.8 percent year-on-year. The development was due a 9.3 percent jump in value-added tax, and higher dividends from public utilities and games of chance, as well as real estate transfer taxes. Not counting 1.5 billion euros from the securitization of overdue tax debts, which is still pending approval by the European Commission, the Finance Ministry still has to collect 7.2 billion euros in the last two months of the year to reach the annual revenue target of 43.2 billion. National Bank to shed Canadian subsidiary National Bank of Greece (NBG) has signed a deal to sell its Canada subsidiary to Scotiabank as part of its strategy to pull out of low-growth mature markets, the bank said yesterday. The unit, NBG Canada, operates a 10-branch network in Quebec and Ontario. National Bank did not provide details on the price. «The transaction, like the sale of Atlantic Bank of New York, is consistent with National Bank of Greece Group’s international strategy, which consists of withdrawing from mature markets where growth prospects are limited,» NBG said. The group said it would use the proceeds to beef up its presence in markets where it sees high growth potential. NBG is currently present in Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Albania. NBG Canada was a profitable subsidiary but its return on equity and return on assets were lower than the group’s benchmarks, reflecting a lack of critical mass in a highly consolidated banking market. NBG said earlier this year that it planned to expand in core geographical areas, expecting market growth in Greece and the Balkans to remain strong over the next three years. (Reuters) NBG chief in Turkey Greek banks are closely following developments in Turkey’s banking sector, National Bank of Greece president Takis Arapoglou said in Istanbul yesterday after meeting the board of governors of Turkey’s association of banks in his capacity as chairman of the Hellenic Bank Association. According to sources, however, Greek banks’ strong interest in the neighboring country’s banks has started to abate due to high valuations and the ever-present political risk factor. Greek shipowners The London-based Greek shipowners’ organization has publicly thanked the Greek government for helping maintain in force the Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage Convention and Fund Convention (CLC/Fund) by the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPC Fund). The Hellenic Committee of Maritime Cooperation said the development was a major victory for the shipping industry and particularly for Greece, which played a leading role in formulating and supporting the positions which prevailed. «We are grateful that our just positions have been heard and the risks for everyone from the breakup of the current regime have been avoided,» the committee said in a statement.