ECONOMY

In Brief

Collective pay pact talks for banks get under way Banks finally returned to the negotiating table with employee unions for a collective pay pact after months of prevarication. «From the banks’ side there is unanimity for a collective negotiation on a considerable number of issues,» said Labor Minister Savvas Tsitouridis. The Greek Federation of Bank Employees’ Unions (OTOE) confirmed the «positive climate in the tripartite meeting.» Its leadership wishes to enter its election conference with a two-year pact under its belt, featuring slightly higher raises than those in the general collective pay pact. Bankers also set a condition for the rearrangement of work hours, but negotiations may not touch the sensitive social security problem. Piraeus Bank acquires small stake in Bank of Cyprus Piraeus Bank, Greece’s fifth-largest lender by assets, has acquired about 2 percent of the Bank of Cyprus, buying shares in the market as an investment position, a Piraeus official said yesterday. «It is a fact that we have started building a position in Bank of Cyprus recently; about 2 percent,» the official who did not want to be named told Reuters. «The move is an investment position, given the recent fall in Bank of Cyprus shares. It does not reflect any intention to pursue acquisition,» the official said. Shares of Piraeus Bank gained 9.6 percent yesterday, outperforming a broader rebound in the sector after sharp losses recently. Bank of Cyprus shares climbed 5.09 percent. A surprise bid by France’s Credit Agricole to buy Emporiki Bank for 3.1 billion euros earlier in the week has sparked talk of other possible deals looming in the banking sector. (Reuters) Hyatt BC Partners has raised its stake in Greek hotel and casino operator Hyatt Regency to nearly 71 percent after a tender offer for minority shares, the private equity fund said yesterday. In a statement published in a Greek newspaper, BC Partners said it now holds 70.79 percent of Hyatt. A source close to the deal told Reuters on Wednesday BC Partners exceeded its target for a 66.6 percent total stake. BC Partners acquired 53.43 percent of Hyatt earlier this year at 11 euros per share and offered the same price for the shares it did not own. Under Greek law, buyers acquiring more than 51 percent of a listed company are required to tender for minority shares. Citigroup was the adviser on the tender while Alpha Bank was the manager. (Reuters) NBG in Serbia National Bank of Greece was the only bidder yesterday to submit a binding bid for Serbia’s Vojvodjanska Banka, a source familiar with the transaction said. «At 3 p.m. today NBG was the only one to submit the binding bid. It is probably slightly above (the) 410 million euros offered in a non-binding bid,» the source said. (Reuters)