ECONOMY

In Brief

Gov’t stays firm on decision to keep Olympic Airlines alive The government will do its best for Olympic Airlines to continue operations and become privatized, said Transport Minister Costis Hatzidakis after his meeting with the prime minister yesterday and the resignation of Olympic’s head, Ilias Karatzalis. He had been expected to step down following the departure of the ministry’s general secretary, Costas Stavropoulos, once the ministerial change took place. Speaking in Parliament, Hatzidakis added that privatization can take place under two conditions: first, that the staff of the airline is left untouched and, second, that the airline continues to cover its current flight schedule, including unpopular and island routes across the country. KKR buys 98 pct of Turk shipper for 910 mln ISTANBUL (Reuters) -US buyout firm KKR has bought 97.6 percent of Turkish shipper UN Ro-Ro in a deal valuing the whole firm at 910 million euros, CEO Cuneyt Solakoglu told Reuters yesterday. The deal, which closed despite a credit crunch on global markets, adds to already high foreign direct investment in fast-growing European Union candidate Turkey, which needs such flows to offset a large current account deficit. The sale, which looked uncertain last month after the chairman said he would never sell, was subject to competition authorities’ approval, CEO Solakoglu said. The roll-on roll-off shipper, which mandated Citigroup in November to sell a major stake, was owned by 45 transport companies. Romania budget pledge Romania’s 2008 budget draft envisages a deficit below the European Union’s ceiling of 3 percent of gross domestic product, Finance and Economy Minister Varujan Vosganian said yesterday. The budget plan for next year is built on «maintaining a stimulating fiscal policy, based on maintaining fundamental taxes (unchanged) to allow Romania to continue being attractive for investments,» Vosganian wrote in an opinion article in local daily Ziarul Financiar. He also said the target for budget revenues next year is 39.6 percent of GDP, compared with 2007’s 36.9 percent forecast. On Friday, he told Reuters the government’s deficit target for 2008 remained at 2.7 percent, just as the government was gearing up for talks on the fiscal plans with opposition parties. Rolling stock sale The rolling stock section of Hellenic Shipyards, owned by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, has been sold to Swiss holdings company Dr Meyer Beteilungen AG, according to sources. The Swiss group was chosen as it offered guarantees on keeping the 200 jobs of company, and respecting the labor and salary rights, while committing itself to new investments. The sale was agreed upon after negotiations with the shipyards’ labor union. Turk industrial output Turkey’s industrial production rose 6.1 percent year-on-year in August, the Turkish Statistics Institute said yesterday. The institute also revised July industrial output to growth to 3.9 percent from a previously reported 3.5 percent.