ECONOMY

In Brief

Turkcell confirms interest, denies bid for TIM Hellas Turkcell Iletisim, Turkey’s leading mobile phone firm, yesterday denied media reports that it had submitted a bid for TIM Hellas, Greece’s third-largest operator. «Turkcell confirms that as part of its efforts to selectively seek and evaluate new international investment opportunities, it is investigating, among others, the possibility of a purchase of TIM Hellas… No decision to make an offer to purchase this company has been reached,» the statement said. Turkcell had 30.8 million post-paid and pre-paid customers as of September 30, 2006, operating in a three-player market with a market share of approximately 62 percent as of March 31, 2006. Cosmote raises stake in Germanos to 82 pct Greece’s largest mobile phone company Cosmote said yesterday it had raised its stake in phone retailer Germanos to 82 percent as part of its plans to buy the remaining shares it does not already own in the retailer. Cosmoholding Cyprus Limited, a 100 percent-owned subsidiary of Cosmote, has made a public offer of 19 euros per share for the remaining shares of the phone accessories retailer. Cosmote owned about 63 percent of Germanos before the transaction. Cosmote bought a further 19.2 percent stake, or 15.7 million shares, at 19 euros each on Thursday and has a direct and indirect stake of 82 percent, it said in a bourse filing. Cosmote has said it plans to keep the Germanos brand. Germanos is a one-stop shop for products from the country’s leading mobile phone operators. (Reuters) Bulgarian power investment Austrian utility EVN said yesterday it would invest some 118 million levs ($78.30 million) next year to improve the electricity network and services of its two Bulgarian distributors. The Austrian company, which has held majority stakes in two power distributors in the southern towns of Plovdiv and Stara Zagora since 2004, said the funds were part of its planned investment program. EVN’s units serve over 1.2 million customers. The company also won a tender in October to buy a heating plant in Plovdiv for 32 million euros. (Reuters) Serbia central bank The IMF has written to the Serbian government expressing concern about legal changes that could result in central bank chief Radovan Jelasic losing his post, the National Bank of Serbia said. Serbia passed a new constitutional law this month saying a new governor must be appointed after elections on January 21. In a letter to government officials, the International Monetary Fund said it was «very concerned» about the legal change, which was «contrary to procedures set out under the law on the central bank from 2003.» The letter, signed by IMF deputy head John Lipsky and released by the central bank, appealed to Belgrade to discuss with the IMF «the establishment of a credible procedure of appointment and dismissal of governors regardless of which candidate will be proposed… after the elections.» (Reuters)