In Brief

HDFS in 60-million-euro deal for Links of London Hellenic Duty Free Shops (HDFS) has agreed to acquire 100 percent of British jeweler Links of London for about 60 million euros, the Greek company said yesterday. HDFS, in which Greek jeweler Folli Follie holds 52.28 percent, is acquiring the British luxury brand through its fully owned subsidiary Hellenic Distributions SA. «Hellenic Distributions signed today a binding agreement to acquire the British jewelry, watches and luxury brand Links London,» HDFS said in a statement. The acquisition is «directly connected with the growth prospects and realization of our targets set for the further promotion of HDFS,» Hellenic Distributions Managing Director Dimitrios Koutsolioutsos said in a statement. Links of London founders Annoushka Ducas and John Ayton will remain with the company, HDFS said. (Reuters) Bank of Cyprus profit surges, 2006 forecast raised NICOSIA (Reuters) – Bank of Cyprus posted a 172 percent increase in first-half post-tax profit yesterday, and raised its earnings forecasts for the full year, expecting to more than double its 2005 result. The bank, Cyprus’s largest financial group, said its after-tax profit rose to 85.31 million Cyprus pounds ($189.5 million), and pretax profit grew 164 percent to 101.38 million in the first half. Based on present performance, the bank said it had revised its group after-tax profit to 160 million pounds for 2006 from an earlier forecast of 120 million Cyprus pounds. The figure is about 122 percent growth on the 72 million in after-tax gains it made in 2005. GSEE protests to ILO The General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) has filed a protest with the International Labor Office (ILO) against the government’s drafting striking seamen back to work through military orders in February this year. In the protest letter, GSEE argues that the draft violated Article 28 of the Constitution, which stipulates that international conventions, including those protecting labor rights which Greece has signed, overrule any national legislation that may be in contradiction. Rhodes Hilton The Ionian Hotel company, owner of the Rhodes Hilton, said yesterday it is continuing exploratory discussions with a number of Greek and foreign groups that have expressed interest in buying the hotel. The company also made it clear that it has no intention of selling the Athens Hilton, on which it spent more than 100 million euros expanding and refurbishing it before the 2004 Athens Olympics. Bulgaria bans poultry exports Bulgaria said yesterday it has temporarily banned poultry exports to the European Union following a reported mixed infection of Newcastle disease and a low pathogenic strain of avian flu in southern Bulgaria. The Agriculture Ministry said the ban on exports of live birds, eggs and poultry products was a necessary step in order for the EU to impose only a regional ban on Kardzhali district, where the outbreak was reported last week. (Reuters)