ECONOMY

In Brief

Chief: OTE must be fully privatized or wither Greece’s largest telecoms provider, OTE telecoms, must be fully privatized immediately or face disaster, its chief executive, Panagis Vourloumis, said yesterday. «The need to complete OTE’s privatization is immediate. If it does not adapt, it will be destroyed,» Vourloumis said in a speech at a conference. He said the liberalization of the telecoms market and increased competition made such a change a necessity if the company was to compete effectively. «Technology and the European Union have opened up the telecommunications market. Without a new institutional framework any changes within the company are being built on sand,» Vourloumis said. The state, which owns 38.6 percent of OTE, last sold a 10 percent stake in September for 835 million euros as part of its privatization program. Last month, Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said the government had no plans to cut its stake in OTE this year, nor did it see any likely bids. (Reuters) Eurostat finds fault with Greek deficit figures again A Eurostat report, due out on April 24, will revise Greece’s 2005 budget deficit upward, sources say. In the report, which contains macroeconomic data for the 2002-2005 period, Eurostat is said to insist that the deficit must be recalculated to include a sum of 400 million euros, part of a fine imposed on Greece for a lack of transparency in public works before 2004, and a lower surplus than originally envisaged for the reserves of social insurance organizations. This surplus was also revised downwards from 3.4 billion to 2.1 billion euros for 2004, from 4.7 billion to 4.1 billion for 2002, and from 5.5 billion to 4.6 billion for 2003. Delta buys Vlahas Dairy group Delta Holdings agreed to buy Nestle’s condensed milk operations in Greece, in a move which gives the company a foothold in the canned milk business. Delta will acquire Nestle’s Greek «Vlahas» evaporated milk brand, as well as its production facility and milk business in northern Greece for about 2.8 million euros, Delta said in a statement. Analysts said the deal gives Nestle’s 27 percent market share in Greek canned milk to Delta Holdings subsidiary Delta Dairy. (Reuters) Pharmaceuticals deal Indian drug maker Ranbaxy said yesterday it signed a definitive agreement to buy 96.7 percent of Romania’s pharmaceuticals company Terapia from US private equity fund Advent International for $324 million (270 million euros). The deal should be completed in the second quarter of this year, Ranbaxy said in a statement. (SeeNews) Bulgarian hotels on sale Two hundred Bulgarian hotels in the country’s southeast coast will go on sale, Bulgarian media suggested yesterday, due to their low returns and their owners’ inability to repay the loans to build them. Most hotels on sale are small and up to four floors. Their prices range between 2 and 2.5 million euros, while bigger ones come to 4 million euros.