ECONOMY

In Brief

NBG eyes Ukraine, Russian, Egyptian markets National Bank, Greece’s largest lender, is interested in expanding its activities to the Ukrainian, Russian and Egyptian markets, its CEO told financial daily Naftemporiki yesterday. «The Ukrainian market has been monitored for a long time and is our first choice under the right conditions,» Takis Arapoglou was quoted as saying. «We are equally scrutinizing the Egyptian and Russian markets in case banks come up for sale which meet our criteria.» National Bank, with a current market capitalization of 21.2 billion euros, had attempted to buy a small Ukrainian bank earlier this year. The group derives about 40 percent of its core profit from Southeast Europe and Turkish operations. (Reuters) Ankara gas grid tender on course ANKARA (Reuters) – A tender to sell off the Turkish capital’s gas distribution grid will be completed by the end of November, the city’s mayor told Reuters in an interview. The tender, part of a wider sale of the country’s distribution grids, is expected to begin in the next two weeks. «Preparations for the tender will be completed this week… Most likely the tender will be done by the end of November,» Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek told Reuters late on Monday. The tender has attracted the likes of Gaz de France, Germany’s RWE, Russia’s Gazprom and Turkish companies Aksa, Zorlu, Energaz and Sabanci Group. Croat telecoms The Croatian government set the share price for national telecom operator T-HT at 265 kuna yesterday and halved the maximum allowed for each citizen to accommodate huge demand. The government will list 32.5 percent of T-TH, majority-owned by Deutsche Telekom and one of the most profitable Croatian firms, on October 5 in Zagreb and London. «The interest was beyond all expectations,» Prime Minister Ivo Sanader told a cabinet session. He said 358,000 citizens had subscribed for the stock in the past two weeks and bids totaled more than 37.5 billion kuna ($7.3 billion). The government will allocate 25 percent of the stock to Croatian citizens. (Reuters) Cyprus unemployment down The unemployment rate in Cyprus fell in the second quarter of 2007 to 3.4 percent from 4.8 percent in the first quarter, the statistics department said yesterday. Labor force survey data showed that in the corresponding quarter in 2006, unemployment stood at 4.2 percent. (Reuters) Turkish gold imports Turkey’s gold imports rose 24.3 percent year-on-year to 191.8 tons in the first nine months of the year, almost reaching the amount the country imported in the whole of 2006. But gold bullion imports fell by 49 percent year-on-year to 13.6 tons in September. (Reuters) New Cosmote CFO Cellular operator Cosmote, Greece’s largest, yesterday announced the appointment of Emily Filippou-Klopfer as chief financial officer.