ECONOMY

In Brief

Vivartia rejects charge of cartel behind high milk prices Greeks will always pay more for their milk, due to higher costs, just as the Germans will always pay more for holidays in the sun, a top dairy industry official said yesterday. Spyros Theodoropoulos, managing director of Vivartia, the group which includes Delta dairy, told a press briefing that the proposed extension of the expiry date for fresh milk would fail to push prices down. The Development Ministry has argued that such an extension, which would double the shelf-life of milk and bring it on a par with elsewhere in Europe, would allow cheaper imports and lower prices. Theodoropoulos further rejected the charge of a cartel among the country’s dairy industries and denied that the main industries had colluded to bar milk farmers from changing clients. «There never was and can never be a milk cartel in Greece,» he said, adding that it would be difficult for the Competition Commission to confirm such a charge. Duty Free Shops to expand to Turkey, cooperate with UK firm Listed retailer Hellenic Duty Free Shops (HDFS) is negotiating a cooperation agreement with Turkish company Setur, of the Koc group, which last month won the tender for the operation of shops in six border stations in Turkey for 15 years. The bids by Setur and HDFS had been the highest when offers were opened on September 18 for the stations with an annual traffic of more than 10 million travelers. HDFS is also planning a multiple cooperation with British firm Links of London, bought out last July by the Greek Koutsolioutsos group, which also controls HDFS and Folli-Follie. Within the context of the UK company’s expansion, its products will be sold in Greece through the network of shops of HDFS, along with entering the markets of China, Japan and Taiwan. Its total expansion plan over the next three years will reach 6 million euros. Enel Bulgaria Bulgaria’s Maritsa East Three thermal power plant, controlled by Italy’s Enel, said yesterday it had agreed on a 450-million-euro ($571.8 million), 17-year loan with French bank Societe Generale. Maritsa East Three, in which Enel holds a 73 percent stake, signed the deal to refinance its 600-million-euro capacity and environmental upgrade program at the 840-megawatt coal-fired generator in southeastern Bulgaria. It said the new debt will cover existing loans and allow for the upgrade as well as for a lower price of the electricity produced in the plant due to the achieved lower interest rate and longer payment period. (Reuters) Denizbank Turkey’s banking regulator BDDK has approved Franco-Belgian bank Dexia’s 75 percent takeover of Turkish bank Denizbank, the regulator said yesterday in a statement to the Istanbul Stock Exchange. Dexia agreed in May to buy a 75 percent stake in mid-sized Denizbank from Turkey’s Zorlu Holding for $2.44 billion. (Reuters)