ECONOMY

In Brief

OTE completes its voluntary exit plan OTE said yesterday it had successfully completed its voluntary retirement plan with 90 percent of those eligible taking up the option. The retirement scheme is part of OTE’s major restructuring plan aimed at streamlining the former state monopoly and increasing its competitiveness in a deregulated market. «Of the 5,216 who had the right to participate, 4,759 took part and gradually left over a span of 12 months,» the company said in a statement. The number of people employed by OTE now stands at 11,827, which includes 1,237 new employees hired in 2006. Of those that left, 91 percent had been employed by OTE for more than 29 years, while 94.3 percent were aged between 54 and 64 years of age. OTE has offered some 5,000 workers the opportunity to take early retirement, as the company tries to attract a strategic investor. Employees had until October 14 to accept the scheme. (Reuters) Romania’s Alro may invest $600 mln in a new plant BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romania’s Alro, one of Europe’s biggest smelters, said yesterday it plans to invest $600 million in an aluminium plant if it wins the tender to build the third and fourth nuclear reactors in Cernavoda. Alro Slatina, owned by US metals trader Marco, is among 13 firms which submitted letters of intent and have qualified for finalizing, launching and operating the Cernavoda power plant reactors. «If we win the tender, we will build an aluminium plant in Cernavoda,» Gheorghe Dobra, Alro Slatina manager, told Reuters, adding that the plant’s production capacity would reach 250,000 tons a year. Cernavoda operator Nuclearelectrica says the deadline for binding bids for Cernavoda expires at the end of the year. Works at Cernavoda plant, designed to have five reactors, began 30 years ago under the former communist regime. Construction stopped in 1990 when a survey revealed some of the equipment was in poor condition and the welding was faulty. State job boost The Turkish government will hire 100,000 new workers by the end of 2006, the state Anatolian news agency quoted a deputy prime minister as saying late on Wednesday. Mehmet Ali Sahin said in parliament that unemployment was Turkey’s biggest problem and called on more private sector and foreign investment to cut unemployment. Unemployment fell to 8.8 percent in the three-month period from May to July. But the true unemployment rate is hard to measure because of a large unregistered economy. (Reuters) Koc sale Turkey’s Koc Holding said in a statement yesterday it has agreed to sell a 55 percent stake in Doktas, a manufacturer of iron and aluminium casting, to Finland’s Componenta. In its statement to the Istanbul Stock Exchange, Koc said it had sold the stake for 89 million euros ($111.6 million). (Reuters)