ECONOMY

In Brief

Intralot, OPAP reach deal on transition period before divorcing Intralot, the world’s third-largest provider of lottery systems, gained 4.04 percent to 22.16 euros on the Athens bourse yesterday after it clinched a 65-million-euro deal with Greek betting monopoly OPAP. The company said it agreed to provide OPAP with the necessary equipment and software to operate its flagship fixed-odds sports bet Stoichima in-house for six months after its contract expires early next year. The deal aims to help OPAP with the transition. Analysts said the move lifted uncertainty over Intralot’s 2007 earnings. «The market was expecting the loss of Stoichima’s operation would result in Intralot posting a drop in 2007 revenues and profits. The deal with OPAP now makes that possibility slimmer,» an analyst, who declined to be named, said. (Reuters) Bank of Cyprus 9-month net profit surges Bank of Cyprus, the island’s largest financial institution, announced yesterday a 158 percent increase in net profits for the first nine months of 2006. From January to September, the bank made after-tax profits of 226 million euros ($287 million) compared to 87 million euros (110 million dollars) during the same period in 2005. The biggest company on the Cyprus Stock Exchange and listed on the Athens bourse estimates that after-tax profits for the entire year will exceed the 277-million-euro ($351 million) target set in July. The bank said it had also «significantly improved» – from 9.3 percent to 6.6 percent – the ratio of non-performing loans to total loans. A interim dividend of 0.12 euros (15 cents) per share was also announced. In Greece, the bank’s operations enjoyed a 43 percent after-tax increase reaching 44 million euros ($56 million). Improved profitability was down to cost containment, good insurance performance and larger deposits, the bank said. (AFP) Bond trade The volume of Greek government debt traded on the central bank’s electronic system (HDAT) was steady at 52.6 billion euros in October ($66.7 billion) from 52.4 billion in September, the Bank of Greece said yesterday. Daily average turnover was 2.39 billion euros. The central bank said investor interest mainly focused on the long end of the yield curve. The most actively traded bond was the 10-year benchmark, which recorded 23.7 billion euros’ worth of transactions. Greek government paper yields rose in October along the entire maturity spectrum. The yield curve, measured as the yield difference between 30- and 3-year bonds, flattened to 47 basis points from 60 in September. (Reuters) Sofia realty US-based real estate developer Tishman International Companies said yesterday it will invest 200 million euros ($255.5 million) in building a business park and hotel complex in the Bulgarian capital. Tishman plans to build 115,000 square meters of office space, storage and a hotel complex near Sofia’s airport. (Reuters) Footwear fair The International Shoe Fair opens today at the Mediterranean Exhibition Center, 301 Lavriou Avenue, Paeania. Participants include the 10 largest Turkish shoe manufacturers.