ECONOMY

In Brief

Rokas to invest 2.4 billion euros in wind energy system Greece’s biggest wind-power producer Rokas announced yesterday it will invest 2.4 billion euros ($3.1 billion) in a wind farm and power transmission system, marking one of the biggest investments in wind energy in the world. The company said it has applied for approval from the energy regulator to install 44 wind parks with a combined generating capacity of 1,636 megawatts and to link them to three islands in the northern Aegean – Chios, Lesvos and Lemnos. «The total cost of the investment, which is part of Rokas’s plan in renewable energy resources, is estimated to reach 2.4 billion euros and is one of the largest projects worldwide in the area of wind energy,» Rokas said in a stock market filing. Spanish power utility Iberdrola holds a 49.9 percent stake in Rokas. In an effort to meet its commitments under the Kyoto protocol on climate change, Greece aims to have renewable energy sources make up 20 percent of its energy needs by 2010, compared with 10 percent now. Greece now has only about 475 MW of installed wind-power capacity which covers only a tiny slice of the country’s energy needs of 52,000 gigawatts per hour (GWh). Rokas accounts for about 40 percent of total Greek wind power production. (Reuters) Cyprus leaves main interest rate unchanged at 3.25 pct NICOSIA – Cyprus’s Central Bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged for the 11th straight month at 3.25 percent yesterday, but sounded a note of warning at inflationary pressures from fuel prices and bank credit. Headline inflation was running at 2.96 percent in April, easing from a March reading of 3.23 percent, while bank credit had also expanded, Governor Christodoulos Christodoulou said. «Inflationary pressures are still lurking and being fueled by the high prices of oil, from the considerable expansion of money supply and credits to the private sector,» said Christodoulou. There was also an increase in loans in foreign currency, which had strengthened the Cyprus pound against the euro, he added. The Cyprus Central Bank has not altered its interest rates since a surprise 50-basis-point cut in June, 2005. That move was then taken to arrest a rising Cyprus pound breaking the upper limit of its 2.25 percent fluctuation band around the euro. The Cypriot currency is ERM 2, a stabilization grid anchoring it against the euro as a precursor to adoption of the single currency. Nicosia hopes to be able to adopt the euro in January, 2008. (Reuters) Shipper’s profit Tsakos Energy Navigation Limited, a NYSE-listed company, reported (unaudited) Q1 results yesterday. Revenues, net of voyage expenses and commissions reached $75.61 million, compared with $66.75 million a year earlier. The average time charter equivalent (TCE) was $33,128 as against $30,608 in the first quarter of 2005. Fleet utilization reached 99.2 percent, compared to 96 percent in the first quarter of 2005. Vessel operating expenses per ship per day increased to $6,931 for the first quarter of 2006 from $6,653 in the 2005 first quarter. This resulted principally from the impact of higher crew expenses, rising insurance premiums, much higher lubricant prices and general inflationary pressures. Depreciation and dry-docking amortization costs were $12.10 million versus $10.29 million in the first quarter of 2005.