In Brief

Thumbs-up from Emporiki board for Credit Agricole offer Emporiki Bank’s board yesterday expressed satisfaction with Credit Agricole’s improved 3.3-billion-euro buy-out offer, as workers at Greece’s No. 5 bank called a two-day strike. «The improvement of the price offered, to 25 euros per share, is a positive development,» Emporiki’s board said. «The improved price lies exactly in the middle of the fair price range per share.» Ministers are expected to accept the offer today. Ferry operators worry about new fuel specifications The Coastal Shipowners’ Union (EEA) intends to seek the government’s intervention for oil refineries to guarantee the steady provision of the new type of fuel with reduced sulfur, which the European Commission dictates companies must use from August 11. Refineries are reportedly unable to keep up a supply, so EEA will alternatively seek a postponement of the directive’s application for a short period. The new fuel costs 20 percent more and could bring fare rises of 6 to 8 percent. Montenegro deal off Montenegro yesterday canceled an agreement for oil exploration with Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE), saying the Greek refiner had failed to meet a contractual obligation for drilling in one of three offshore concessions. HELPE obtained the concessions in 2002 in a consortium with British firm Ramco, which went bankrupt in January last year. It also acquired the local Yugopetrol firm. HELPE officials said the group had not been officially notified, and that they did not fear for its 90-million-euro investment in the newly independent country. Retail sales Greece’s retail sales by volume rose 7.0 percent year-on-year in May, slowing from a 9.7 percent annual pace in April, data by the country’s statistics service (NSS) showed yesterday. Retail sales by revenues rose 9.1 percent year-on-year in May, compared with a 12.3 percent rise in the previous month. (Reuters) Turk trade deficit up Turkey’s trade deficit swelled 7.9 percent year-on-year to $4.216 billion in June, the Turkish Statistics Institute said yesterday, but undercut the median forecast of $4.55 billion in a Reuters poll. Exports jumped 25.6 percent to $7.582 billion, while imports rose 18.6 percent to $11.798 billion in June. «Exports increased considerably more strongly than imports, indicating that the external accounts are beginning to respond to the weaker lira,» said Beat Siegenthaler from Bear, Stearns & Co. (Reuters)

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