ECONOMY

In Brief

Finansbank records healthy growth in first quarter The National Bank of Greece announced yesterday that the first-quarter results of its Turkish subsidiary, Finansbank, marked a significant improvement, with loans issued rising by 47.4 percent. Its market share rose both in retail banking (up 0.22 percent) and in corporate banking (0.23 percent), reaching 6.74 percent and 5.62 percent respectively. Mortgages grew by 74.7 percent on an annual basis and 8.7 percent on a quarterly basis, taking the bank’s market share to 9.3 percent. According to its business plan, Finansbank opened 10 new branches in the year’s first quarter, constantly attracting new clients. Greece revises bond spread on strong demand Greece has revised guidance on its benchmark euro bond due 2024 as demand has built to over 9 billion euros, an official at one of the lead managers said yesterday. The bond will be priced to yield around 3 basis points over mid-swaps, versus earlier guidance of 2-5 basis points over, the official said. Order books close today. Alpha Bank, Deutsche Bank, EFG Eurobank, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch are managing the sale. (Reuters) Cyprus tourism drop Cyprus’s earnings from tourism were 1 percent lower year-on-year from January until March, the island’s statistics department said yesterday. Revenue from the sector, a key component of gross domestic product, was estimated at 82.3 million Cyprus pounds (142.7 million euros) from 83.2 million a year ago. Over the same period, tourism arrivals were down 3.9 percent year-on-year. Cyprus has a tourism intake of about 2.5 million people annually and the sector represents about 15 percent of GDP. Year-on-year in March alone, tourist revenue was up 3.1 percent to 40.1 million pounds, the statistics department said. (Reuters) Turk gov’t debt stock Turkey’s central government debt stock edged lower to 352.1 billion lira (200 billion euros) at the end of April, the treasury said yesterday, from 357.6 billion lira reported for March. It said in a statement 230 million lira was denominated in local currency, 120.4 billion lira in foreign currency and the rest in foreign currency-indexed debt. The treasury said 53.5 percent was owed to the local market, 21 percent to the public sector and 25.5 percent was owed abroad. Turkey is trying to reduce its debt as part of an International Monetary Fund-backed economic program. (Reuters) Cukurova loan Turkish group Cukurova, a shareholder in Turkcell, said yesterday it had signed a $1.5 billion loan to pay off early its debts to Russian telecoms investment firm Altimo, another Turkcell shareholder. Cukurova sold a 13 percent stake in Turkey’s leading mobile operator Turkcell to Altimo in 2005 as part of a financing deal for the debt-laden Turkish group. Last month Altimo called for Cukurova to pay off its $1.35 billion debts, saying it had opened a court case against the Turkish firm because of contract breaches. It had said the court case could result in the seizure of Cukurova’s stake in Turkcell, which Cukurova denied. (Reuters)