ECONOMY

In Brief

ATEbank eyeing big stake in American Bank of Albania ATEbank is interested in buying a majority stake in the American Bank of Albania (ABA), the Greek bank said in a stock market filing yesterday. «The process is at an early stage. Should developments unfold, ATEbank will issue relevant statements,» the bank said. Italy’s Sanpaolo IMI and Austria’s Raiffeisen International were also in talks to buy ABA, sources close to the negotiations told Reuters on Friday. However, a spokesman for Raiffeisen denied it was interested in the Albanian bank. Sanpaolo had no immediate comment. ABA has branches around Albania and one in Athens. ATEbank agreed to buy 24.99 percent of Serbia’s AIK Banka in September in a bid to expand its operations in the Balkans. The deal came after an acquisition in Romania in June, where ATEbank agreed to buy a majority stake in MindBank for 32 million euros. (Reuters) Eurobank pulls out of Egyptian sale EFG Eurobank said yesterday it would not make a final bid for Egypt’s Bank of Alexandria. «Eurobank EFG decided not to participate in the final stage of the privatization process for Bank of Alexandria and not to submit a binding offer,» Eurobank said. Eurobank, which has a presence in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Poland and Turkey, provided no further details for its decision. Last month, the Egyptian government set an October 16 deadline for final offers for up to 80 percent of the state-owned bank. Eurobank was one of six lenders in a shortlist of suitors that included France’s BNP Paribas and Italy’s Sanpaolo IMI. Eurobank in September said it agreed to buy Bulgaria’s DZI Bank in a 157.8-million-euro deal as part of its plans to expand in Eastern Europe. (Reuters) Marfin Marfin Financial Group said yesterday it reached a deal to buy a 30 percent stake in US hedge fund adviser Aris Capital Management for $3 million (2.4 million euros). Aris Capital, based in New York, is an SEC-registered investment adviser specializing in multi-strategy funds of hedge funds. It has $140 million of assets under management. Marfin said it agreed to buy the stake through its subsidiary Marfin Bank, with an option to purchase another 21 percent. It said it expects a return on invested capital of over 20 percent annually. (Reuters) Romania 3G licences Romania has selected two winners to acquire third-generation (3G) licenses in the Black Sea state’s mobile telephony market, the telecoms inspectorate (IGCTI) said yesterday. The inspectorate had said successful bidders will be announced by October 15. It said in a statement that Telemobil SA and RCS&RDS SA won one 3G licence each. «The winners can acquire the licenses only after they pay the first chunk of money worth $10.5 million, within a period of 120 days starting today,» the IGCTI chief Catalin Marinescu said in a statement. The IGCTI has set the cost of one license at $35 million. Greece’s Cosmote was among the unsuccessful bidders. (Reuters)