ECONOMY

In Brief

Papademos a strong candidate for the ECB vice presidency Bank of Greece Governor Lucas Papademos appears to be gaining ground in the undeclared race to succeed France’s Christian Noyer, whose four-year term expires on May 31, as vice president of the European Central Bank (ECB). Belgium’s central banker, Guy Quaden, announced yesterday he would rather stay in his post than move to Frankfurt. Other candidates include Klaus Liebscher, governor of the Austrian National Bank; his deputy, Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell; Yves Mersch, president of Luxembourg’s central bank; Vitor Constancio, governor of the Bank of Portugal; and Peter Praet, secretary to the board of the National Bank of Belgium. Noyer’s successor, who will serve an eight-year term, will be picked by EU leaders at a mid-term summit in Barcelona on March 15-16. Mobikom says system could form basis of GSM operation Bulgaria’s analog mobile phone operator Mobikom, partially owned by Cable & Wireless, said yesterday its system could be used to build a third GSM network by the future owner of the BTC state telecom monopoly. Mobikom is a joint venture between Britain’s Cable & Wireless which has a 49-percent stake, BTC with 39 percent and a state company owned by the interior ministry, which has 12 percent. Bulgaria has said it plans to grant a third GSM license as an option for the future buyer of a stake up to 65 percent in BTC. BTC’s stake in Mobikom will also be sold as part of the BTC privatization, which the Cabinet hopes to complete by mid-year. (Reuters) Bourse cooperation Hellenic Exchanges SA, the parent company of the Athens Stock Exchange and the Athens Derivatives Exchange, is close to announcing the acquisition of a 10-percent stake in the Skopje Stock Exchange, in the neighboring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). According to inside sources, the talks are nearly complete. More building Construction activity in October 2001 rose 7.7 percent compared to the same month in 2000, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday. In the period January-October 2001, the number of building permits issued rose 12 percent compared to the same period in 2000, the NSS said. Buying out Packaging company Maillis said yesterday it was buying the minority shares of two Scandinavian subsidiaries and has merged the activities of two US subsidiaries. Astrap Finland and Astrap Sweden, in which Maillis held 51 and 70 percent, respectively, will be renamed M.J. Maillis Finland and M.J. Maillis Sweden, respectively. In the USA, Maillis holding Compi Packaging Systems absorbed IPE Corporation. Debt management Greece’s Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA) yesterday announced its issuance schedule for the second quarter of 2002. In April 2002, it will announce the syndicated issue of a 20-year bond maturing in October 2022; on May 14, it will reopen bids for a five-year bond maturing April 19, 2007; on June 4, it will auction 13, 26, and 52-week T-bills; and on June 18, it will reopening bids for a three-year bond maturing June 21, 2005. (Reuters)