ECONOMY

In Brief

Reopening of 10-year bond sells quite briskly Greece’s reopening of a 3.6 percent 10-year government bond met with strong demand yesterday with the auction, in one of the eurozone’s highest yielders, covered almost 5.6 times, compared with 4.56 percent in the previous auction on May 9. The Public Debt Management Agency sold a total of 1.2 billion euros of the bond, topping off the original amount of 1 billion with 200 million of non-competitive bids. The auction produced a weighted average yield of 3.91 percent, down from 4.29 percent in the previous auction. «It’s the last time the 10-year benchmark bond reopens this year, hence the high demand,» said a bond dealer at a large Greek bank. «Primary dealers competing in the rankings snapped it up.» Greece, with one of the eurozone’s highest debt-to-GDP ratios, plans to borrow at least 2.6 billion euros in the fourth quarter. The government is aiming to squeeze public debt down to 104.8 percent of GDP this year from 107.9 in 2005. (Reuters) Kuwaiti telecoms firm considering bid for TIM Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Co (MTC) is considering a bid for Greek mobile phone operator TIM Hellas, which has been put up for sale by private equity firms, MTC officials said on Monday. Private equity firms Texas Pacific Group and Apax Partners want to sell TIM Hellas, Greece’s third-largest mobile operator, for up to 4 billion euros ($5.13 billion), London’s Times newspaper reported on Monday. The newspaper said an auction was now under way. «Yes we are interested,» Ibrahim Adel, director of investor relations at MTC, told Reuters. «We haven’t had time… to make a determination whether this is a good opportunity for us. It could end up being one, or it could be that it is not appropriate and doesn’t fit with our strategy,» he said. MTC, the larger of two mobile phone operators in Kuwait, is expanding aggressively abroad and has a subscriber base of at least 15 million across the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. Haitham al-Khaled, MTC’s deputy director-general for business development, said the Greek market marked a departure from this model but still looked attractive. (Reuters) Pipeline project Royal Dutch Shell announced yesterday it had signed an agreement with energy peers Eni and Calik Enerji on its possible participation in a major oil pipeline project in Turkey. A spokeswoman for the Anglo-Dutch group confirmed a statement from Italian energy group Eni that said: «Shell has signed an agreement with Eni and Calik Enerji (of Turkey) to investigate the possibility of participating in the development of a pipeline between Samsun and Ceyhan.» Samsun and Ceyhan are ports – the former on the Black Sea and the latter on the Mediterranean. «The aim of the project is to provide a convenient and attractive alternative to oil tanker traffic in the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits,» the Shell spokeswoman said. Analysts at the Sucden brokerage firm in London said that the pipeline would cost about $1.5 billion (1.18 billion euros) to build and would be able to transport about 75 million tons of oil per year. (AFP)