ECONOMY

In Brief

OPAP rejects objections, continues upgrade program Betting company OPAP said yesterday it will continue with a key IT upgrade tender as planned after rejecting objections from bidders. «The board of directors has accepted the recommendation of the tender’s independent committee and has decided to reject all the objections of the three bidders and continue the tender,» its CEO Vassilis Neiadas told Reuters. OPAP has received bids from Greek gaming system operator Intralot, US system operator GTech Corporation and Scientific Games International for its IT tender. All three bidders had filed objections against each other, claiming the bids did not comply with some of the tender’s terms. OPAP’s board met late on Wednesday to rule on the objections. The betting company wants to upgrade its electronic terminals to remove bottlenecks in its network of about 5,540 betting outlets in Greece and Cyprus. (Reuters) Turkey wants tax on offshore borrowings ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey plans to impose a 30 percent withholding tax on banks’ offshore borrowings, to track fund flows and increase tax revenues, according to a draft law discussed in a parliamentary committee yesterday. Finance Ministry officials said the big banks oppose the proposal, saying it will eat into their profits and make it more difficult to offer long-term credit to consumers. They want the current tax-free system on their offshore borrowings to continue. A high-level economy official said there were some concerns about funds coming from offshore borrowing and the law aimed to step up control. «This legislation is to provide precise information on the resources coming into Turkey,» the official told Reuters. Hyatt fortunes A one-off gain from an asset sale drove Greek casino operator Hyatt’s 2005 net profit up 29.7 percent, the company said yesterday. Hyatt’s net profit came in at 60.6 million euros. Hyatt said net profit was lifted by a 17-million-euro gain from the sale of its 20.1 percent stake in Lampsa Hotels, owner of the landmark Hotel Grande Bretagne in central Athens, earlier last year. Gross sales, on which the government levies a gaming tax of around 32 percent, rose 3.4 percent to 307.6 million euros. Mont Parnes, the only casino in Attica and in which Hyatt holds a 34.3 percent stake, posted a 10 percent rise in 2005 gross sales to 143.3 million euros. (Reuters) CCHBC fined Competition regulators in Cyprus fined Greece’s Coca Cola Hellenic Bottling yesterday for failing to brief authorities on its concentration of stock in takeover target Lanitis Bros in a timely manner. The Committee for the Protection of Competition imposed a 20,000-Cyprus pound ($42,553) fine on CCHBC, it said in a statement. Subsequent cooperation by CCHBC mitigated the fine, it said. The dispute hinged on briefing the commission of CCHBC’s agreement to acquire a 50.6 percent stake of Lanitis Bros. Earlier in the week CCHBC subsidiary 3E (Cyprus) said it had acquired 91.62 percent of the Cypriot concern, which bottles Coca-Cola and fruit juices. (Reuters)