In Brief

Telecoms watchdog under fire for ‘selective policies’ OTE telecom and the National Commission for Telecommunications and Post (EETT) continued to be at loggerheads yesterday over the problematic application of unbundled access to OTE’s local loop, through which consumers choose their telecom provider. OTE responded yesterday to EETT’s temporary measures of last week by speaking of selective policies by the regulator toward the corporation. After rejecting accusations by alternative providers that it is responsible for many of the problems detected, OTE claimed providers register clients without them knowing it and that the EETT does nothing about it. EETT asked OTE last Friday to repair damage on Vivodi’s network within one week and to deliver 42,600 lines by end-June to four alternative providers. Greece to renominate Vourloumis as OTE CEO The government said yesterday it would renominate Panagis Vourloumis as chief executive of the country’s largest telecom group, OTE, signaling its intent to continue to restructure the company. «The government will propose renewing the term of Panagis Vourloumis’s contract at OTE’s shareholders meeting,» a senior Finance Ministry official told Reuters. Vourloumis, handpicked by the government in May 2004 to pursue reforms at OTE before its further privatization, will have his reappointment put to shareholders at an assembly scheduled for next week. Greece, which owns about 39 percent of OTE, has sought to sell down its holding but the plan was put on ice after it failed to find a strategic investor. The government is now leaning toward a private placement of about 10 percent of OTE. European peers have balked at buying the stake over concerns that rigid employment practices, dating from when the company was fully state owned, would keep growth stagnant. (Reuters) Loan to Albanian bank The World Bank yesterday gave a 10-million-euro loan to Albania’s Banka Popullore (People’s Bank) to help the country’s mortgage lending market. The 12-year loan would «help expand the housing finance market in Albania» adding over 1,000 long-term residential mortgages, according to a statement. It would introduce new products such as mortgage finance and «increase the depth and liquidity of the country’s financial markets.» The investment will also support growth in the construction industry and related sectors, said Shahbaz Mavaddat, regional director of the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank’s private sector arm. The World Bank would also provide advice to both Banka Popullore and the Albanian regulatory authorities to help standardize mortgage credit and mortgage operations. Albania joined the World Bank in 1991. (AP) Turkey tenders Turkey aims to open sale tenders for a series of motorways and bridges by the end of this year, the head of the country’s Privatization Administration (OIB) said. The sell-off body will sign a consultancy contract on the tenders in the next few days, OIB Chairman Metin Kilci told Reuters this week. «The consultancy firm will begin working immediately,» he said. «We will ask that the work be done in two or three months. It will be possible to take an important step in the privatization process by the end of 2007,» he said. In April, the High Board of Privatization added highways to the privatization program, including those between Edirne-Istanbul-Ankara, Tarsus-Adana-Gaziantep and Pozanti-Tarsus-Mersin, as well as two bridges that link the Asian and European sides of Istanbul. (Reuters)

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