ECONOMY

In Brief

Emporiki Bank closes down German subsidiary, continues restructuring Emporiki Bank is continuing its restructuring after its acquisition by France’s Credit Agricole, announcing yesterday the closure of its subsidiary in Germany. The sale of its insurance subsidiary, Phoenix-Metrolife, is also proceeding, with three insurance firms reportedly expressing interest. Meanwhile, Credit Agricole has boosted Emporiki’s capital sufficiency index with 370-million-euro loans in end-2006. The banks’ new organization chart provides for a smaller and more flexible structure, focusing on retail banking. When Credit Agricole bid for Emporiki, it suggested it would proceed to additional provisions of -350 million to upgrade its loan portfolio, but this may not be enough now. Technodomiki unit set to merge with Pantechniki Greece’s largest contractor Hellenic Technodomiki will merge its construction arm Aktor with part of Greek builder Pantechniki in a bid to boost its competitiveness, Technodomiki said yesterday. «Technodomiki’s board of directors decided to start the procedures to absorb part of Pantechniki’s construction activities, its participations and other relevant assets,» Technodomiki said in a stock-market filing. It will value the offer at one of its own shares for 2.32 shares of Pantechniki. The deal needs the approval of Technodomiki’s shareholders as well as Greek authorities and is expected to be completed in August. Technodomiki has been involved in many Greek public projects in recent years. It operates Attiki Odos in Athens and the Rio-Antirio bridge connecting Greece’s southern peninsula to the northern mainland. The firm, also active in waste management and wind energy, signed a -135 million waste management project in Cyprus, it said in a separate stock-exchange filing. (Reuters) Piraeus in focus ING said Piraeus Bank replaced Alpha Bank on its focus list as Piraeus is its preferred Greek bank to play the excellent regional prospects for expansion in lending and financial services. The investment bank said Alpha Bank, still rated a «buy,» but is no longer its preferred pick on growth in the Greek banking system as other banks have greater upside potential to its target price. ING, which has a «buy» rating on Piraeus, raised its share price target to -33.0 from -29.5. (Reuters) Cyprus wants euro Cyprus will by February 14 formally apply to join the eurozone on January 1, 2008, Finance Minister Michael Sarris said yesterday. «The formal letter will be sent today or Wednesday at the latest,» Sarris told Reuters. (Reuters) Safety at work Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas opened yesterday the Hellenic Atomic Energy Commission exhibition on the protection of employees from radiation. The exhibition, held at the ministry, allows visitors to get to know the activities of the Commission, observe some of its equipment and speak with its scientific personnel, said Sioufas.