ECONOMY

In Brief

Cyprus bourse rejects Marfin bid for BoC NICOSIA (Reuters) -Cyprus’s stock exchange blocked yesterday a bid by Marfin Popular Bank for the Bank of Cyprus, saying a rival bid for Marfin by Greece’s Piraeus Bank took precedence. The decision could put to rest a bitter takeover struggle in the Cypriot and Greek banking sector which ended in the island’s Supreme Court. There has been controversy over the takeover attempt because it coincided with Piraeus Bank, Greece’s fourth largest lender, mounting a bid for Marfin. Cyprus’s bourse said it could not examine Marfin’s tender documents for 35 to 100 percent of the Bank of Cyprus, the island’s largest lender, as Marfin was a buyout target itself. Marfin declined to make any immediate comment on the decision. It had contested suggestions its twin bids for BoC and Bank of Piraeus were a defensive move to stall Piraeus. National Bank of Greece lifts Finansbank stake to 89.4 pct Greece’s largest lender, National Bank, said yesterday it had raised its holding in Turkish subsidiary Finansbank to 89.44 percent after its offer to buy up minority shares ended on Monday. NBG said it gathered an additional 5.43 million common Finansbank shares or 43.44 percent of the bank. The offer for minority shares ran from January 8 to 29. National was the first Greek bank to venture into Turkey, eying growth opportunities. It clinched a deal to acquire 46 percent of Finansbank for $2.77 billion (-2.14 billion) from the Ozyegin family last year. (Reuters) Bond Greece yesterday priced a 4-billion-euro bond due September 2040, the country’s Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA) said. The bond was priced at 99.597 with a coupon of 4.6 percent, giving a yield of 37.5 basis points over the 4 percent German Bund due January 2037, the PDMA said. The final spread is at the tight end of initial guidance of 37-39 basis points over Bunds, a sign of good demand. (Reuters) OTE – Merrill Lynch Telecoms group OTE said yesterday it had picked Merrill Lynch as its privatization adviser. «OTE… announces the appointment of Merrill Lynch International as its exclusive adviser,» it said in a statement. Greece wants to sell down its current 38.7 percent stake in the telecoms group to raise funds to pay down public debt, one of the highest in the eurozone as a percent of gross domestic product. (Reuters) FCC – Danube Bulgaria has awarded Spanish construction group FCC a 99.95-million-euro contract to build a bridge over the Danube River, the Transport Ministry said yesterday. Of five contestants, FCC filed the lowest bid to build the 2 km bridge linking the Bulgarian town of Vidin with Calafat in Romania. (Reuters) TMK – Corinth Seversky Pipe Plant, a unit of Russia’s TMK, has formed a joint venture with Greece’s Corinth Pipeworks to produce over 200,000 tons of pipe annually, TMK said yesterday. (Reuters)