In Brief

Germany’s Asklepios group raises share in AMC German healthcare group Asklepios, which currently operates 100 hospital units (94 in Germany and six in the USA) yesterday announced an increase in its participation in Athens Medical Center (AMC) share capital to 30.73 percent. «Among the top priorities of this strategic cooperation is the creation of synergies and capitalizing on the know-how and expertise of the German group in areas such as cost containment, provision of highly specialized services, PPP structures and privatization projects,» the group said in a press release. Asklepios intends to go ahead with these plans in a very short time frame. The G. Apostolopoulos family currently controls the largest block of shares in AMC, 33.34 percent. HSBC raises Turkey to overweight in portfolio ANKARA (Reuters) – HSBC Bank raised Turkey to overweight in its portfolio, the bank said in a research note yesterday. «Our view is that there is now much more room for positive surprise on Turkish macro,» the bank said. HSBC said there was a good chance general elections in Turkey next month would lead to a reappraisal of the Turkish environment. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has led Turkey into the start of European Union accession talks and a successful economic recovery from a deep crisis five years ago, is widely expected to win the elections. Many investors say a rally could follow in the financial markets if the AKP wins enough seats in parliament to rule on its own again. «The convergence story remains powerful… Ongoing EU corporate interest in Turkey is a reflection of this expected real convergence. Against this backdrop, we see Turkey’s formal political membership of the EU largely as an irrelevance,» HSBC said. «Turkey looks extremely cheap for the kind of growth that it is delivering,» the bank said. Retail sales down Greece’s retail sales by volume fell 1.3 percent year-on-year in April after a 3.5 percent rise in March, data by the National Statistics Service showed yesterday. Retail sales by revenues grew 1.7 percent year-on-year in March after a 7.2 percent rise in the previous month. «The decline in April may be attributed to a base effect, given the 10 percent rise year-on-year in April 2006. We expect the retail sales volume index to recover in the following months,» said Platon Monokroussos of EFG Eurobank. (Reuters) Petkim Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan will together bid for a majority stake in Turkish petrochemical company Petkim through their national oil firms, an official for Azeri state oil firm Socar said. «Socar has agreed with KazMunaiGas to participate jointly in a tender to buy Petkim. In the event that we win, we will manage this company together,» the official told Reuters. He did not give any more details. Eight companies or consortiums had presented bids for the block sale of a 51 percent stake in Petkim, Turkey’s Privatization Administration said on June 25. (Reuters) Turk trade deficit Turkey’s trade deficit widened year-on-year to $5.739 billion in May, the Turkish Statistics Institute said yesterday, worse than a forecast of $4.80 billion shown in a Reuters poll. Exports rose 29.2 percent year-on-year to $9.1 billion, while imports rose 17 percent to $14.84 billion. (Reuters)

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