ECONOMY

In Brief

Orascom says interested in Greece’s OTE sale Egypt’s Orascom Telecom is interested in buying a stake in Greece’s dominant telecoms group OTE, an Orascom official said yesterday. Greece has said it plans to sell part of its 38.6 percent stake in OTE, preferably to a European strategic investor, next year. It is expected to pick a sale adviser next week. «We are interested in the OTE stake. We are not currently negotiating with the Greek government,» Khaled Bichara, a member of Orascom’s board of directors, told reporters. «We will evaluate the options when the government is there with a solid document,» Bichara said. But Bichara said Orascom will not bid for Greece’s third largest mobile operator, TIM Hellas, as previously indicated. Separately, OTE has picked Citigroup, Dresdner Kleinwort, JP Morgan and NBGI to lead-manage a two-part benchmark euro bond issue, the banks said yesterday. The mandate follows OTE’s announcement last month that it planned to issue up to 2 billion euros of bonds to refinance mobile subsidiary Cosmote’s acquisition of phone accessories retailer Germanos. The deal is likely to total 1.5 billion euros across the two tranches, made up of a three-year floating-rate note, and a fixed-rate bond due May 2016. (Reuters) Turkish cotton harvest hit by heavy rainfall IZMIR (Reuters) – Turkey’s cotton harvest was hit by this week’s heavy rainfall, which damaged the quality of cotton, traders said yesterday. A total of 1,000 tons of cotton was traded in the Izmir Trade Bourse between October 26 and November 1, down from 2.145 tons the previous week. New season benchmark standard-1 cotton was sold for 1.95 lira per kilo ($1,334 per ton), the same as the previous week. Nearly 30 percent of the crop is still waiting to be harvested and farmers which have cotton unaffected by rainfall refused to sell their produce below 2 lira per kg, said bourse agent Fikret Cem. «Countries like Greece and Syria are having the same problem. The amount of cotton unaffected by rainfall is very low,» Cem said. Bulgaria approves DZI sale Bulgaria’s competition watchdog gave the green light to the 157.8-million-euro ($201.4 million) sale of DZI Bank, Bulgaria’s 11th-biggest bank, to Greece’s EFG Eurobank, it said yesterday. EFG Eurobank, which already controls Post Bank, Bulgaria’s seventh largest in terms of assets, has said it plans to merge the two banks after the deal is finalized to boost its market position in Bulgaria ahead of EU entry in 2007. The Commission for Protection of Competition said the deal will create Bulgaria’s fourth-largest bank representing 9 percent of the country’s banking system and will not lead to a dominant position in the sector. The deal, signed on September 29, is pending the approval of the Bulgarian central bank before it can be closed. (Reuters) Metka Metals group Metka will bid, either alone or in a joint venture, for the construction of a power plant for the country’s dominant power utility, Metka said yesterday. The project, with a budget of 235 million euros, is for the construction of a Public Power Corporation (PPC) natural gas fired electricity plant of 370-420 megawatts on the island of Evia, central Greece. The launch date for the tender is November 21, Metka, a subsidiary of major Greek metals and engineering group Mytilineos, said in a stock market filing. (Reuters)