Greek March inflation slows to 2.6 pct y/y Greece’s headline consumer inflation slowed to an annual 2.6 percent pace in March from 2.7 percent a month earlier, helped by base effects, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday. «Slightly higher fuel prices were more than offset by low prices from the February-March sales period. A continuing rise in oil prices is likely to have an adverse impact on consumer inflation in the coming months,» said Dimitris Maroulis of Alpha Bank. «April inflation is expected to ease, as price increases in fresh produce, gasoline and heating oil are as seen lower than the rises in the same month in 2006… In the first quarter of 2007, the rise in the consumer price index averaged 2.67 percent versus 3.23 percent the same period a year earlier,» said NSS chief Manolis Kontopyrakis. (Reuters) Vivartia buys Bulgaria’s UMC dairy company Greece’s largest dairy group Vivartia agreed to buy leading Bulgarian dairy United Milk Company (UMC) as part of its plans to expand its operations in the neighboring country, Vivartia said yesterday. Vivartia will pay Greek investment firm Global Finance, which owns UMC, 18.7 million euros for 99.99 percent of the company, Vivartia said in a filing to the Athens bourse. UMC reported 2006 sales of 17.5 million euros, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 1 million euros, the statement said. (Reuters) Jumbo Jumbo, Greece’s largest toy retailer, said yesterday that sales in its fiscal nine months rose 26 percent, as the period leading up to Easter boosted business in the third quarter to March. Jumbo, which also sells stationery and items for the home, said sales were 263.37 million euros. Jumbo’s net profits rose 41.4 percent in its fiscal first half to December last year to 39.7 million euros, boosted by increased brand awareness and a shift in part to the sale of more lucrative maternity products. (Reuters) Cyprus inflation up Cyprus’s EU harmonized inflation rate was running at 1.4 percent year-on-year in March from a February reading of 1.2 percent, the statistics department said yesterday. The HICP rate was less than non-HICP consumer inflation which was 1.5 percent year-on-year in March. (Reuters) Health merger Listed hospital group Hygeia and maternity clinic Mitera decided yesterday to merge, creating the largest private health services group through a share-swap scheme. Hygeia has 370 beds and hosts 120,000 patients per year, while Mitera, along with its subsidiary Lito, has 535 beds and hosts 263,000 patients annually. LTC deals Leading Tourism Cluster (LTC), the first Greek company for business cluster development, is implementing significant deals with companies such as Pepsico and Creta Farm for 2007. The company started last October to develop cooperation among hoteliers in the fields of procurement, technology, quality systems, personnel training and development.