ECONOMY

In Brief

NBG among front-runners for Serbia’s Vojvodjanska The National Bank of Greece (NBG) and the Bank of Austria are considered front-runners in the tender for the Serbia’s Vojvodjanska Banka, according to the financial newspaper Preglent yesterday. The paper says that NBG’s bid is 50 million higher than its Austrian rival’s, at 500 million euros, and is willing to raise its offer for the last on the list of Serbian banks to be privatized. It also notes that if the Greek bank is the winner, it will acquire a leading position in the Serbian banking sector, where it already has a strong presence. Vojvojdanska Banka is Serbia’s fifth-largest bank, with a market share of about 6 percent, 175 branches and a clientele of 685,000. Aegean Airlines and TAP form partnership Aegean Airlines said yesterday it clinched a cooperation deal with Portugal’s flag carrier TAP, including code-sharing on the Lisbon-Athens and Lisbon-Thessaloniki routes. «Through this agreement… either TAP or Aegean will be able to place each other’s code on their flights operating between Lisbon and Athens through Rome and between Lisbon and Thessaloniki through Munich and Frankfurt,» Aegean said. The carrier, which competes with state-owned Olympic Airlines, said the cooperation would improve the service provided to passengers on these routes. TAP Portugal is a member of Star Alliance. (Reuters) Turkish unemployment Turkey’s jobless rate rose to 11.2 percent in the November-to-January period, compared with 10.6 percent reported for the last three months of 2005, the Turkey Statistics Institute said yesterday. Turkey measures unemployment as a three-month moving average. Despite booming economic growth, targeted at 5 percent for this year, unemployment – at 10.3 percent for the whole of 2005 – has remained a weak spot as large numbers of young people enter the labor market. Analysts say the true jobless rate is hard to measure due to a large underground economy. (Reuters) Albania power project Albania’s power utility KESH said yesterday it had wrapped up a 20-million-euro ($24.1-million) German-funded project aimed at improving electricity supply in the country’s south. The project included the revamp of the Bistrice 1 hydro-power plant and the construction of a 110 kV transmission line linking the locations of Bistrice and nearby Sarande and an electric sub-station in Sarande. The project, which began in 2003, has been financed through a loan from German state-controlled development bank KfW. It is part of a bigger, 34-million-euro German-funded project called BISABU that envisages modernization of the electricity supply network in the southern Albanian regions of Bistrice, Sarande and Butrint. (SeeNews) Fortis Belgian-Dutch bank Fortis, with a presence of about 10 years in maritime finance in Greece, is to set up a corporate banking branch in Athens.