ECONOMY

In Brief

Bank Sarasin eyes buys in Greece,Turkey ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss bank Sarasin is considering takeovers in Turkey or Greece as a way to enter the Eastern European market, its chief executive was reported as saying yesterday. «We are looking for opportunities in Eastern Europe,» Joachim Straehle was quoted as saying in an interview with Swiss paper Handelszeitung. «We certainly don’t want to put our foot directly in Eastern Europe, rather operate from a somewhat more stable neighboring country where there is a natural business flow. Consider, for example, Turkey or Greece, which both have good relations to the Balkans and Eastern Europe,» he said. Sarasin is controlled by Dutch cooperative bank Rabobank. Bank of Cyprus H1 net profit up 58 pct y/y NICOSIA (Reuters) – Bank of Cyprus, the Mediterranean island’s largest lender, said yesterday first-half net profit rose 58 percent to 230 million euros, aided by strong lending growth. Net interest income came in at 363 million euros, an increase of 30 percent, the bank said. The bank made a 27 percent increase in loans, a 25 percent rise in deposits and a 19 percent increase in revenues from its insurance operations. The group, which has a significance presence in Greece, last week opened in Romania and recently acquired a license to start operations in Russia, said it expected to exceed an initial target of 415 million euros in net profit for the whole year. In Cyprus, after-tax profits rose 55 percent to 175 million euros. After-tax profits of Greek operations rose 83 percent to 51 million euros. Eagle Bulk buys Supramax Shares of Eagle Bulk Shipping said yesterday it would buy 26 Supramax vessels in a $1.1 billion deal that will more than double the size and tonnage capacity of its fleet. The company plans to fund the deal from a new proposed $1.6 billion revolving credit line led by Royal Bank of Scotland Plc. Eagle Bulk said 21 of the vessels being acquired are under long-term charters up to 2018. Minimum contracted revenues on the chartered vessels is about $1 billion. The deal will increase its fleet of these types of vessels to 46 from 23 and expand the overall tonnage capacity by 124 percent. It will also reduce the average age of its fleet to two years. The company is buying the vessels from the parent of Anemi Maritime Services, a private Greek shipping company. (Reuters) Romanian development Israeli-owned property company Plaza Centers said yesterday it planned to invest up to 115 million euros in a retail-led development in northeast Romania. The London-listed company, which manages several real estate projects in Eastern Europe and India, said it planned to develop 54,000 square meters (581,256 square feet) of retail space and 15,000 square meters of office space on the site in Iasi city. The company is a subsidiary of Elbit Medical Imaging. (Reuters) Penalties on banks The Bank of Greece yesterday imposed a total of 33.4 million in compulsory six-month, interest-free deposits, and fines totaling 130,000 on commercial banks and other financial institutions (which were not named) for violating provisions regarding the transparency of transaction and money laundering.