In Brief

Details of Emporiki’s sale due next week Greece’s privatization committee will decide next week upon the details of the sale of a controlling stake in Emporiki bank, Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said yesterday. Deputy Finance Minister Petros Doukas said last week the government is ready to sell most of the state’s shares in Emporiki, Greece’s fourth-largest bank, in the first quarter of this year. He said French bank Credit Agricole, which now holds 9 percent of the share capital and 11 percent of voting rights, has expressed interest in taking a controlling stake. Alogoskoufis gave no further details. «My goal is to convene the privatization committee next week to make final decisions,» he told reporters. The Greek State controls 30 percent of Emporiki, 9.5 percent directly and the rest through state-controlled pension funds. (Reuters) Greek-Japanese talks on Balkan opportunities Senior Greek and Japanese officials discussed yesterday in Athens the potential for economic cooperation and joint action in the Balkans in the sectors of energy infrastructure, transport, tourism and shipping. Discussion centered on the Balkans’ regional issues. It follows Japan’s participation at the recent conference of foreign ministers of Southeastern Europe. Heating oil The Greek Gasoline Station Owners’ Federation protested yesterday against allegations of profiteering with heating oil during the cold wave. It said such allegations were unacceptable when banks had raised profits by 50 percent, oil refineries by 100 percent and casinos by 50 percent. TIM Mobile phone operator TIM Hellas plans to add 200 million euros to its 2012 floating-rate note, with pricing due later yesterday, a banker familiar with the sale said. TIM Hellas is raising the cash to fund its acquisition of Q-Telecom, formerly a unit of Greek IT and telecoms group Infoquest. The existing issue totals 925 million euros ($1.14 billion) and pays a coupon of 350 basis points over 3-month Euribor. (Reuters) Tupras Workers at Turkish oil refiner Tupras will lay down tools today and tomorrow to protest against the purchase of a controlling stake in the firm by a Turkish conglomerate and Royal Dutch Shell, an oil workers’ union said yesterday. A statement from the oil, chemicals and rubber workers’ union, Petrol-Is, said workers at all refineries would stop filling, selling and transporting fuel. But the refining process will not stop. (Reuters) Bulgaria tourism The number of foreign tourists visiting Bulgaria rose by 4.48 percent in 2005 to 4.84 million, below the government’s expectations for strong 12 percent growth, the Ministry of Culture said yesterday.

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