ECONOMY

In Brief

Greek regulator clears Agricole’s Phoenix tender French banking group Credit Agricole (CA) said yesterday Greece’s securities watchdog approved the prospectus on its tender for Greek insurer Phoenix Metrolife. The French group is tendering for all the shares in Phoenix Metrolife it does not own, offering 2.18 euros a share. It intends to delist the company from the Athens bourse. CA’s offer will start September 27 and run to October 25. On September 21, CA controlled directly and indirectly 95.02 percent of voting shares in Phoenix. Phoenix Metrolife is a subsidiary of Emporiki Bank, which was taken over by CA last month. The French bank, which is being advised by Morgan Stanley on the offer, owns 72 percent of Emporiki Bank after a successful offer of 25 euros a share. OTE reaches pay pact with unions OTE Telecom staff will receive pay raises totaling 12.5 percent this year and next, according to a pact agreed to with unions yesterday. The raises will be 6 percent this year and 6.5 percent in 2007. The lowest paid worker will receive 812 euros, the lowest paid college graduate 1,128 euros and the lowest paid specialized employee with a doctorate 1,405 euros. The agreement also resolves various issues related to raises to be received by those dismissed or going to be dismissed within the framework of the company’s voluntary retirement scheme. The government recently announced an intention to sell a major stake in OTE and workers responded with a strike, fearing job losses. Omega Navigation Greece’s Omega Navigation Enterprises Inc yesterday said it would sell its two dry-bulk carriers for about $82.5 million. The marine transportation services company said with the sale, expected to occur between November 15 and January 15, 2007, it would become a «pure play» product tanker company listed in the US. The company said it plans to use half of the net proceeds from the sale to repay debt. (Reuters) Intralot Lottery systems supplier Intralot got shareholder approval to issue a corporate bond up to 200 million euros, the company said yesterday. It said it would use the proceeds from the seven-year bond to finance its global expansion. The firm has rolled out an aggressive expansion plan in recent years clinching deals on all five continents. (Reuters) Hellenic Exchanges Merrill Lynch on Friday initiated coverage of Hellenic Exchanges with a «buy» rating and a price target of 14.90 euros. The brokerage said Hellenic Exchanges is still a discount in its peer group because of its strong long-term growth potential driven by further development of the Greek market. Merrill Lynch reinstated its coverage of London Stock Exchange and Euronext with »neutral» and Deutsche Boerse with a »buy» rating. «Of our coverage universe, we expect HELEX to see the highest growth in EPS over the next two years,» the brokerage said adding that it is its top pick. (Reuters)