ECONOMY

In Brief

Bank of Cyprus may submit rival bid for Emporiki Bank of Cyprus (BoC) is examining the possibility of tabling a bid for Emporiki Bank in the ongoing process for the latter’s full privatization, it said yesterday. Reports suggested that BoC has arranged a meeting with Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis tomorrow to discuss the issue. This comes a few days after Credit Agricole’s bid for 100 percent of Emporiki and the purchase of a 2 percent stake in BoC by Piraeus Bank. BoC’s executive director, Andreas Iliadis, yesterday denied any deal with Piraeus Bank on its possible bid for Emporiki and said the 2 percent stake Piraeus has bought in BoC is too small for the move to be «aggressive.» Gov’t renews battle cry against tax evaders Greece is counting on revenue growth and a crackdown on tax evasion to help it meet its EU-set budget deficit target of 2.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2007, the Finance Ministry said yesterday. The government is aiming for a budget deficit of 2.6 percent this year despite European Commission warnings the target was optimistic. It faces sanctions if it does not cut the budget shortfall to below 3 percent this year from 4.5 percent in 2005. «The crackdown on tax evasion constitutes a key priority of (the government’s) fiscal policy,» the ministry said in a circular sent to tax offices around the country. Budget revenues rose 14.3 percent in the January-April period, overshooting the 10.3 percent target, but dropped sharply in May. (Reuters) Bulgarian airports Bulgaria’s government has awarded German airport operator Fraport a 35-year concession to run and modernize Bulgaria’s airports in the Black Sea cities of Varna and Burgas, its official State Gazette said. Fraport has pledged to invest around 400 million euros over the lifespan of the deal in the two terminals, a major hub to the EU aspirant’s booming tourist sector, outbidding French Vinci Airports. (Reuters) Exports rise Greek exports rose by 24 percent in the year’s first quarter, reaching 3.8 billion euros, while imports increased by 10 percent, rising to 12 billion euros and taking the current account deficit to 8.2 billion euros, Eurostat announced yesterday. This puts Greece in bottom position in exports among eurozone members, while in the EU-25 only the three Baltic states, Cyprus and Malta have fared lower. The leading country is Germany with 213.2 billion euros, with France a distant second at 97.6 billion euros.