In Brief

Marfin testing its strength against Spanish rival for Egnatia Marfin Financial Group said yesterday it is set to more than triple its stake in Egnatia Bank to a maximum 49 percent, paying up to 226 million euros ($272.9 million) for the additional shares. Egnatia’s main shareholders will sell shares priced at 6.30 euros each to Marfin, lifting its final stake to between 34 percent and 49 percent, the companies said in a joint statement. The deal is expected to be completed within five working days. Marfin now owns 10.07 percent of Egnatia. Egnatia shares were trading 2.5 percent up at 6.56 euros in early trade while Marfin’s were 1.92 percent higher at 26.50 euros, outperforming the banking sector index, which was flat. On Tuesday, Egnatia said it was in talks with Spanish bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) and other investors regarding a strategic alliance. Egnatia and Marfin said they would discuss a rights issue for the bank. (Reuters) Vardinoyiannis sells small stake in Motor Oil LONDON (Reuters) – Holding company Petroshares sold 6.5 million shares in Greek refiner Motor Oil at 22.44 euros a share, according to a source familiar with the company. The placement raised around 146 million euros, the source said. The Vardinoyiannis family, a major shareholder in Motor Oil, owns stakes via two subsidiaries, Petroventure Holdings Ltd and Petroshares Ltd. Motor Oil announced earlier that the family planned to sell a stake in the country’s second-largest refiner. The placement was made by investment bank Citigroup and Merrill Lynch. Turkey snubs IMF Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener rejected IMF criticism that a public pay rise breached the country’s economic program and said that the budget had room for the expenditure, media said yesterday. An official from the International Monetary Fund, which has a $10 billion standby accord with Ankara, told Reuters on Wednesday that a 2-billion-lira pay raise plan for civil servants was a deviation from the economic program and was more than the fund had expected. «If the economic program does not have a social pillar, then it is impossible that it establishes balances in the country for long-term stability and confidence,» Sener was quoted by the NTV broadcaster as saying. Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan said late on Tuesday that the pay increase would create extra budget expenditure of 2 billion lira but that the government was willing to accept this burden to improve the conditions of civil servants. Sener said that the pay rise for civil servants had already been included in the budgetary personnel spending plan. (Reuters)