In Brief

Credit expansion accelerates in October Greek total credit expansion accelerated to 12.4 percent year-on-year in October from a 10.1 percent pace in September, Bank of Greece provisional data showed yesterday. Credit growth to businesses and households slowed to 14.1 from 14.2 percent, remaining strong due to mortgage and consumer lending. Credit extended to the public sector, including loans and securities issued by the government, was up 8.5 percent year-on-year in October versus a 1.1 percent rise in the previous month. (Reuters) Cyprus retail group said to be in talks with Carrefour NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus’s Shakolas Group of retailers said yesterday it was close to a cooperation agreement with an unnamed multinational company, identified by one Cypriot newspaper as being the Greek unit of French retailer Carrefour. The agreement involved leasing property to the foreign concern, which would in turn have the supplies contract to the food halls of the group’s seven Ermes Department Stores. A deal was expected to be concluded in January, Shakolas Group said in a statement to the Cyprus Stock Exchange. Politis newspaper reported Carrefour Marinopoulos, the Greek unit of the French retailer was the interested party. Tirana casino Greek hotel operator Hyatt Regency may close its recently opened Albanian casino after the country’s government sharply raised gaming taxes, a senior company official said yesterday. «Hyatt has sent an open letter to the Albanian prime minister and finance minister setting out the financial burdens imposed on the company after the government legislated new gaming taxes quadrupling the ones imposed last April by the previous government,» a senior Hyatt official told Reuters. Earlier this year, Hyatt won a $10 million, 15-year casino license in the Albanian capital Tirana, its first foray abroad. It estimated the investment outlay at 20 million euros. The casino started operations on Dec. 1. «In the event that this investment is not financially feasible due to the gaming tax imposed by the Albanian government, we would even have to consider closing the casino,» the senior Hyatt official said. (Reuters) Bulgarian biodiesel plant Bulgarian fuel retailer Eko Petroleum said yesterday it plans to build a 60-million-euro biodiesel plant in the Danube port of Vidin by the end of 2007. «We plan to start building the plant in mid-2006 and construction will take about 16 months,» Eko Petroleum’s owner Petar Tsonev told SeeNews. He said the company has already started talks with authorities in the Vidin region to consolidate a 250,000-hectare plot to be sown with rapeseed for the needs of the plant. The facility will be able to produce about 150,000 tons of biodiesel from 400,000 tons of rapeseed, which could be harvested from the 250,000 hectare plot. «The factory will actually be able to produce biodiesel from a wide range of plants, from sunflower to palm oil,» said Tsonev. (SeeNews)