ECONOMY

In Brief

Budget deficit falls sharply in first five months of 2006 Greece’s ordinary budget deficit fell 41.2 percent in the first five months of this year over the same period a year ago, the Finance Ministry said yesterday. It said the drop in the shortfall to 3.625 billion euros came as ordinary budget revenues rose 10.5 percent year-on-year, slightly above the government’s 10.3 percent annual target. Primary spending rose 4.1 percent over the five months to May, below a target of 6 percent. Total ordinary budget outlays fell 2.1 percent compared with a year earlier, mainly due to lower debt-servicing costs. «The government budget, as demonstrated by the results for the first five months of 2006, shows significant improvement compared with the year-earlier period, and within the range of forecast annual targets,» the ministry said in a statement. (Reuters) Titan unaware of buyout proposals, looking for acquisitions of its own Listed Greek cement company Titan, more than 30 percent-owned by foreign investors, yesterday denied it had received any buyout proposals. The firm said it is looking for possible acquisition targets abroad, with the size of each market being a key criterion, for long-term returns. However, it said it will not turn to Asian markets or the Middle East. Titan expects growth this year to stay at 2005 levels, but believes it will rise if public works proceed at a higher rate. The firm is also increasing efforts to lessen energy dependence on oil. Hotel cluster Thirteen hotel enterprises, managing a total of more than 10,000 rooms, have set up a cluster for supply orders, planned to become operational in September. The cluster includes firms Capsis, Mamidakis, Athinais, Airotel, Iberostar, Atrium, Aldemar, Caravia, Marbella, M-Hotels, Cosmopolitan, Steps of Lindos, Bluegr Mamidakis, Kontokali, Aeolos Beach and Life Gallery. A business plan envisages the cluster will represent 300 hotels, with a total of 70,000 rooms in five years. Greek FRN Greece plans to sell a 2.1-billion-euro ($2.65 billion), 12-year floating rate note (FRN), priced to yield about 9 basis points over six-month Euribor, an official at one of the banks managing the sale said in London yesterday. Alpha Bank, EFG Eurobank, HSBC, Lehman Brothers, National Bank of Greece and Piraeus Bank are joint bookrunners. (Reuters) Bosnia aluminum Bosnia’s sole aluminum smelter Aluminij Mostar yesterday signed a 35-million-euro ($44.08 million) deal with several Western firms to hike its annual output by 9 percent to 130,000 tons of aluminum. The agreement was signed with Germany’s DaimlerChrysler, WestLB bank and Finland’s Outokumpu, Aluminij said on its website (www.aluminij.ba). The project would create new jobs and increase exports of Aluminij, which is the Balkan country’s largest exporter. The company, based in the southern town of Mostar, had a record output of 120,000 tons of metal last year and exports worth 370 million Bosnian marka ($237 million). (Reuters)