ECONOMY

In Brief

Millennium Bank-Greece’s 2006 net grows to 15.1 mln euros Millennium Bank-Greece, a subsidiary of Portugal’s Millennium bcp, said yesterday its net profit last year grew to 15.1 million euros from 3.5 million euros in 2005 on a like-for-like basis. The bank had reported net profits of 16.9 million euros in 2005 but 13.4 million came from a one-off capital gain from the sale of Bank Europa in Turkey. Net interest income last year grew 35 percent to 100.8 million euros. The bank, with a network of 148 branches and 200 ATMs, said its loan portfolio grew 37 percent in 2006 with balances reaching 3 billion euros. Millennium said its mortgage loans grew to 1.4 billion euros, with 466 million lent in 2006, a 3.3 percent market share of total outlays. The lender, previously called Novabank, rebranded to Millennium in November last year as part of its parent bank’s strategy to build a single supranational identity in Portugal, Greece, Poland, Turkey and Mozambique, where its main networks operate. In Greece it plans to expand its network with 30 new branches this year. (Reuters) Hellenic Petroleum signs 914-million-euro credit facility Greece’s largest oil refiner, Hellenic Petroleum, said yesterday it had signed a 914-million-euro syndicated credit facility to refinance debt, more than it had originally planned. Hellenic had said it would seek to borrow 620 million euros as part of its plans to optimize its funding and liquidity. But high demand from foreign banks wanting to take part in the loan led the refinery to increase the amount by about 50 percent. About 32 percent of the funds raised will come from Greek banks, with 53 percent from EU-based lenders, 8 percent from the USA and 7 percent from Japanese banks, the refiner said. The credit facility, at Libor/Euribor plus 18/25 basis points and a five-year maturity, has two one-year extension options. The facility was raised by Hellenic’s recently established treasury operation in London – Hellenic Petroleum Finance. The refiner said the lead arrangers were Alpha Bank, Bank of America Securities, BNP Paribas, Calyon, EFG Telesis Finance, HSBC and National Bank. The group owns and operates three of Greece’s four refineries, covering about 73 percent of local petroleum products demand. (Reuters) Building permits Greek construction activity, measured by the number of new building permits, dropped 28.3 percent year-on-year in November, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday. The NSS said 6,837 new permits were issued nationwide in November, corresponding to 6.820 million cubic meters, a decline of 33.9 percent from a year earlier. A total of 74,912 new permits were issued around the country in the January-to-November period, down 5.4 percent from the same period a year ago, amounting to 76.575 million cubic meters, the NSS said. (Reuters) Fast profit Fast-food franchise McDonald’s Greece is aiming this year to complete the reorganization of its branch network and partners so that the company records operating profits at the end of 2007, the company’s general director, Ilias Malamas, stated yesterday.