In Brief

Trade deficit aggravates Greek current account imbalance Greece’s current account deficit widened by 6,884 million euros, or 86.22 percent in the January-August 2006 period, year-on-year and reached 14,869 million euros, an increase reflecting mainly a rise in the trade deficit, and to a lesser extent, an increase in the income account deficit and a narrowing of the services and the current transfers surpluses, the Bank of Greece said yesterday. «The widening of the overall trade deficit (including oil and ships) by 5,505 million euros is due to the increase of net payments for purchases of ships (by 2,076 million euros), the rise in the net oil import bill (by 1,984 million euros) and the increase in the deficit, excluding oil and ships (by 1,445 million euros),» the central bank said. Analysts said the country’s C/A deficit to GDP ratio will exceed 10 percent in 2006. Emporiki Bank appoints Crontiras as new CEO The executive board of Emporiki Bank, a subsidiary of French banking group Credit Agricole, has appointed Antonis Crontiras as its new chief executive, the Greek lender said yesterday. «The decision to select Antonis Crontiras as CEO of Greece’s Emporiki Bank signals a strategic change in Emporiki Bank’s course toward a more customer-oriented approach,» said Jean-Frederic de Leusse, Emporiki Bank’s acting chairman and Credit Agricole’s head of international development. Crontiras, who will report to de Leusse, is replacing acting CEO Christian Jacques, who has been appointed deputy CEO. Crontiras, 49, has held several managerial positions in Greece and France, including vice-president and CEO of Delta Ice Cream, chairman of Danone Hellas and business development manager for Barilla International. (Reuters) Metka plant bid Metals group Metka will bid either alone or as part of a consortium for the construction of an electricity transmission plant for the country’s dominant power utility, Metka said yesterday. The tendered project, budgeted at 13 million euros, is for the construction of a Public Power Corporation (PPC) electricity transmission plant on Rhodes. The tender’s launch date is October 31, the company, a subsidiary of major metals and engineering group Mytilineos, said. (Reuters) Cosmote-Germanos Cosmoholding, a subsidiary of mobile operator Cosmote, said yesterday it had made a public offer of 19 euros per share for the 58 percent it does not already hold in phone accessories retailer Germanos. «Cosmoholding will buy 20.75 percent of Germanos from Cosmote and the remaining stake from the other shareholders,» a company official told Reuters. (Reuters) Laiki in ASE Cyprus’s Laiki Bank received approval to list its shares on the Athens Stock Exchange, the bourse operator said in a statement late on Thursday. The bank will retain its listing on the Cyprus Stock Exchange, the statement noted. (Reuters) Sanpaolo-ABA Italian bank Sanpaolo IMI has agreed to buy 80 percent of the American Bank of Albania (ABA), valuing the Albanian bank at $156.9 million. (Reuters)