ECONOMY

In Brief

Public debt exceeds annual target in first nine months Greece’s public debt has exceeded the annual target in the first nine months of 2006, data published by the Finance Ministry’s General Accounting Office showed yesterday. At the end of September, public debt stood at 227.16 billion euros, against an annual target of 226.08 billion. The data concerns central government debt alone. In the three quarters of 2006, public debt was 10.67 billion euros higher than for all of 2005. The Finance Ministry’s target for 2006, if attained, would represent 116 percent of gross national product (GDP), down from 119 percent in 2005 (215.4 billion). The public debt target for 2007 is 112.3 percent of GDP (a projected 234 billion euros). Official public debt figures include the budget deficit, which in 2005 amounted to 8.56 billion euros, but they are swollen by ex-budget expenses, such as armaments programs (1.5 billion euros), debt repayments and social insurance fund liabilities. NBG 3-year business plan due Feb 22 National Bank (NBG), Greece’s largest lender, said on Wednesday it would unveil its three-year business plan for 2007-09 on Feb 22. The group, present in Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Albania and Turkey, said its business plan would be completed by December after months of teamwork across all business lines. «The bank expects that in the intervening period, its recent Turkish and Serbian acquisitions will have been fully integrated into the group and that conditions impacting the group’s business in Southeast Europe will be in place,» NBG said. (Reuters) Mytilineos Metals and engineering group Mytilineos said yesterday its nine-month group net profit dropped to 103.1 million euros from 167.4 million in the same period last year. The group, which includes subsidiaries Metka and Aluminium of Greece, said sales in the period rose 19.8 percent to 649 million euros. Mytilineos said the drop in earnings was because last year’s result included a capital gain related to the acquisition of Aluminium of Greece and, cutting this out, its profit rose 176.6 percent. Group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 48.8 percent to 149.7 million euros. (Reuters) CA eyes Turkey French bank Credit Agricole (CA) said yesterday it remained interested in the Turkish banking market, amid speculation it might bid for Turkish bank Oyakbank. Chief Financial Officer Gilles de Margerie declined to comment on press reports that it could bid for Oyakbank. However, he told reporters, «Turkey is a country we consider very important.» (Reuters) Conference center Olympic properties yesterday invited expressions of interest in operating the tae kwon do stadium at Palaio Faliron for 26 years as Athens’s designated conference center.