ECONOMY

In Brief

Attica Bank’s first-half profit soars, boosted by trading gains Attica Bank, set for privatization this year, said yesterday its first-half group net profit soared more than 20-fold, boosted by increased trading gains. Net income for the small Greek lender rose to 7.2 million euros from 297,000 euros for the same period last year, the company said in a statement. Last year’s profit was hurt by one-off provisions that weren’t repeated this year. Net interest income at the bank grew 5 percent in the first half to 42.8 million euros. Mortgages grew 40 percent year-on-year to 427 million euros, with consumer credit expanding 25 percent to 258 million euros. The government wants to sell two stakes in the bank of about 19.1 percent each held by the state-controlled Post Savings Bank (TT) and the Loans & Consignments Fund. (Reuters) Romania, Bulgaria sign up to EU market crisis deal FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The central banks of new European Union member states Romania and Bulgaria have signed up to an EU-wide agreement to tackle financial crises, the European Central Bank said yesterday. «The framework… will apply in crisis situations with a possible cross-border impact involving individual credit institutions or banking groups, or relating to disturbances in money and financial markets,» the ECB said. The agreement sets out how banking supervisors and central banks should cooperate and dates back to 2003. The central banks in Romania and Bulgaria, which joined the EU on January 1, also signed up to an agreement to promote tie-ups between Europe’s national wholesale and retail payment systems. Hygeia H1 net jumps Listed medical center operator Hygeia reported yesterday a first-half net profit of 8.56 million euros, as the company plans to become the biggest healthcare group in Southeastern Europe. The net profit figure compared with a profit of 0.84 million euros in the same period last year. Group sales rose 20 percent to 57.2 million euros. Hygeia, majority-owned by Marfin Investment Group, bought a private hospital in Cyprus in July and recently set up a firm in Albania to build the country’s first private clinic. (Reuters) FYROM power plant The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia said yesterday it would sell the country’s TEC Negotino thermal power plant to a four-company consortium for 61.7 million euros. The government, at a session late on Tuesday, picked the Hatch consortium, comprising Canadian Hatch Acres Inc, Finance Engineering Ltd of Bulgaria, UK-based Mott MacDonald and Unit Investment of Belgium, said Deputy Prime Minister Zoran Stavrevski. Hatch plans to upgrade the plant to 850 megawatts of capacity from its current 210 megawatts. (Reuters) Cyprus sales up Cyprus retail sales rose a provisional 6 percent in volume and 9 percent in value terms provisionally year-on-year from January to May 2007, the Statistics Department said yesterday. From January until April 2007 retail sales volume and value were 6.1 percent and 9.1 percent higher than their respective levels in 2006. (Reuters)