ECONOMY

In Brief

EU wants Greece to cut mobile telephony rates The European Commission is pressing Greece’s telecommunications and post watchdog (EETT) to adopt much more resolute measures for reducing wholesale rates in mobile telephony. In a written reply to Euro MP Costas Hadzidakis, the EC said EETT’s recent measures to that end were inadequate, as the timetable was too lax and operators were allowed to keep a minimum charge for the first 30 seconds of each call. This, the Commission says, creates «confusion and transparency» and results in an average price for the end user of 12.3 cents per minute, against less than 10 cents in most other member states. Greek credit continues to grow at a robust rate Greek household credit maintained its brisk growth rate in May, reaching a total of 71.1 billion euros, which represents an annual clip of 30.2 percent, Bank of Greece data showed yesterday. Total credit expansion to business and households was up 21.8 percent. Mortgage lending was up 32.5 percent, year-on-year, consumer credit 26.5 percent, and personal credit 46.9 percent. Carrefour in Sofia French retailer Carrefour will invest 81.6 million euros ($102.3 million) over the next three years to build a shopping center in Sofia, its first project in Bulgaria, the country’s investment agency said yesterday. The company plans to invest 33.9 million euros this year alone and to complete the construction of a hypermarket and a shopping center by 2008. «After its completion, it will be the largest project of the company in the Balkans,» the investment agency said in a statement. Carrefour, which operates around 7,000 stores in 29 countries, will present its project tomorrow in Sofia. (Reuters) Eurobank acquisition EFG Eurobank yesterday announced the acquisition of a 99.34 percent stake in Ukraine’s Universal Bank, a member of Universal Investment Group, which is active in insurance, fuel retailing, food manufacturing, construction and real estate. Universal Bank has 32 branches and at the end of 2005 its total assets stood at 79 million euros. Turk banks Turkey’s Garanti Bank could be interested in the privatization of Halkbank if the government opts for a block sale which would give a buyer control, General Manager Ergun Ozen said yesterday. Halkbank, Turkey’s sixth-largest bank, is expected to be privatized this year but the government has not said yet whether it will undertake an initial public offering or make a block sale. (Reuters) Turkey’s exports Turkish exports this year have reached $43.3 billion as of Monday, up from $37.8 billion in the same period last year, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in the text of a speech he was making yesterday. Erdogan was speaking at a foreign trade council meeting in Istanbul. The government targets exports of $79 billion in the year as a whole, up from $73 billion in 2005. (Reuters)