ECONOMY

In Brief

Marfin Popular ups profit forecast, no merger in 2007 NICOSIA (Reuters) – Marfin Popular Bank (MPB) said yesterday it would revise upward its profit forecast for the second and third quarter of 2007, and it would hold off any attempts at mergers or acquisitions until the end of the year. MPB, a one-time suitor of Bank of Cyprus said the Mediterranean island’s largest lender was a less attractive option now. «Additionally, its significance is reduced because of the hostile stance that the bank’s leadership has taken, supported by the large majority of its shareholders,» Marfin said in a statement yesterday. Marfin pulled a proposal in May for the two banks to merge their overseas operations after intervention from the island’s Orthodox Church, a stakeholder in Bank of Cyprus. Marfin’s proposals were repeatedly spurned by the Bank of Cyprus management and board. National Bank listed among the world’s biggest 500 firms The National Bank of Greece (NBG) is for the first time among the biggest 500 companies in the world, according to the FT Global 500 list compiled by the Financial Times. NBG lies in the 363rd spot and is the only Greek company on the list. It is also among the strongest banking groups in Europe, taking 27th position. The list is compiled using the capitalization of each company. Greece’s biggest lender stated that this distinction confirms the strategic choices of the bank in Greece and the broader region, aimed at creating a leading group in Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean. Turk liquidity flexibility Turkey’s central bank announced a series of measures yesterday designed to boost the effectiveness and flexibility of liquidity management and the payments system. They include the extension of its «late liquidity window» in the interbank money market to 1300-1400 GMT from 1300-1330 currently (banks can borrow from the late liquidity window at the central bank lending rate), the rise of the total borrowing limit in the interbank money market and the reduction of the liquidity available to market-making banks in open market transactions so as to broaden availability of liquidity in the banking system. (Reuters) Mobilkom in Serbia Mobilkom, the mobile unit of Telekom Austria, will start operating in Serbia on Monday as the third mobile phone operator, with the long-term aim of a 20 percent market share, a company official said. Mobilkom bought the renewable 10-year license in November 2006 for 320 million euros. It said it would invest another 100 million and pledged a total capital investment, including the license, of around 600 million euros in the next three years. (Reuters) Turkish jewelry exports Gold jewelry exports from Turkey, one of the world’s top exporters of the metal, rose 18.5 percent year-on-year to 45.4 tons in the first half of the year, data from the exporters’ association showed yesterday. Turkey’s gold jewelry exports rose by 26.6 percent to 7.8 tons in June. (Reuters)