ECONOMY

In Brief

Piraeus Bank increases its stake at Bank of Cyprus further Piraeus Bank raised its holding in Bank of Cyprus to 7.516 from 6.7 percent, buying shares in the market as part of its plan to build a 10 percent stake, it said yesterday. Piraeus’s emergence as a shareholder in BoC has coincided with the Cypriot bank’s bid to take over Emporiki Bank via a cash-and-stock offer, drawing criticism from BoC management, which has said the moves lack a clear strategic aim. Bank of Cyprus is competing with France’s Credit Agricole to take over Emporiki, Greece’s fourth-largest lender by assets. Piraeus has said its holding is part of a strategy to grow further in Greece and Southeastern Europe and that it had no bearing on Bank of Cyprus’s bid to acquire Emporiki. Piraeus’s moves have left market watchers wondering on its ultimate objective. «The bid for Emporiki looks like a defensive move to fend off hostile maneuvers by Piraeus Bank to buy shareholders in the Bank of Cyprus,» said Peter Jarvis, manager of F&C’s European funds in a note. (Reuters) Lannet telecom in talks to acquire Telepassport Hellas Alternative telecoms operator Lannet said yesterday it is in talks to acquire unlisted Telepassport Hellas to create a company with combined sales of 120 million euros. «The boards of Lannet and Telepassport announce their intention to combine forces, participating in discussions aiming at the absorption of Telepassport by Lannet,» the companies said in a joint statement. Lannet is valued at 62.66 million euros based on current market prices. (Reuters) Proton Bank Proton Bank said yesterday investment group IRF European Finance Investments (IRF) bought 28 percent of its shares as part of a deal agreed earlier in June, becoming a strategic partner in the small Greek bank. Proton said a total of 12.638 million shares were bought by IRF at 9.5 euros each, a deal worth 120 million euros. Proton, which went public last December raising 17.5 million euros, has a market value of around 404 million euros. (Reuters) Construction Greek construction activity, measured by the number of new building permits, fell 21.3 percent year-on-year in April, the National Statistics Service said. T-bill auction The Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA) said yesterday it will auction a total of 440 million euros of T-bills on Tuesday. PDMA said it will auction 120 million euros of 52-week T-bills, 120 million euros of 26-week paper and 200 million euros of 13-week T-bills. The settlement date will be July 7. (Reuters) Nestle-Delta Nestle Hellas said yesterday it is offering 6.63 euros per share for the remaining shares in Delta Ice Cream it does not already own. The offer runs from July 4 to August 1. Last month, Nestle Hellas paid 111.1 million euros to Delta Holdings for a 96.53 percent stake in Delta Ice Cream. (Reuters)