In Brief

HELPE to invest 130 mln in Thessaloniki refinery Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE), Greece’s largest refiner, said yesterday its board has approved investments of -130 million ($169 million) in its Thessaloniki plant to enable production of cleaner fuels. The move is in line with European Union directives which aim at fuels with very low sulfur content. The refiner said the new technology would help reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 55 percent while also improving operating efficiencies. (Reuters) Cyprus taps domestic bond market for 300 mln pounds NICOSIA – The government of Cyprus will tap the domestic market for up to 300 million Cyprus pounds ($681.8 million) in total of two-, five- and 10- year bonds on February 13, and via a 91-day treasury bill auction on the same day, the central bank said yesterday. It said it was seeking 50 million in two-year bonds, paying a coupon of 3.75 percent, 150 million in five-year bonds paying 4.25 percent and 50 million Cyprus pounds in 10-year bonds, paying a 4.50 percent coupon. It was also offering 50 million in 91-day treasury bills, it said. In a January 2007 sale 91 day T-bills yielded an average 3.60 percent. The last two-year bond sale in July 2006 yielded an average 3.51 percent. In a January auction, five-year bonds had an average yield of 4.22 percent and 10-year bonds yielded an average 4.37 percent. (Reuters) Attica Bank rights issue Attica Bank said yesterday its board approved a new three-year business plan for 2007 to 2009 which includes a rights issue of -125 million to -150 million. The bank, which is slated for privatization this year, will seek shareholder approval for the capital increase on March 3, it said. It has said it wants to boost its capital adequacy and fund expansion plans. The government wants to sell two stakes in the bank of about 19.1 percent each, held by the state-controlled Post savings Bank and the Loans & Consignments Fund. (Reuters) Industrial output Industrial output rose 3.1 percent year-on-year in December, after a 1.8 percent drop in November, mainly due to a rise in manufacturing and electricity production, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday. «For the full year of 2006, industrial output remained below trend, due to weakness in textiles. For 2007, we should see a positive trend as domestic demand is expected to remain robust,» said Michael Lambrianos of Piraeus Bank. (Reuters) Cypriot trade deficit Cyprus’s trade deficit widened in 2006 to 2.53 billion pounds ($5.7 billion), according to preliminary data. Cyprus imported goods worth 3.18 billion on exports of 643.9 million pounds, the statistics department said. The trade deficit in 2005 stood at 2.24 billion pounds. (Reuters)