In Brief

PPC to invest 1.95 bln in renewable energy The Public Power Corporation, Greece’s biggest electricity company, plans to build a total 950 megawatts of renewable energy units by 2014. The company’s PPC Renewables unit will invest 1.95 billion euros ($2.8 billion) over that period, it said in a regulatory filing yesterday. PPC will contribute 330 million euros of the total investment between 2008 and 2011, the statement said. The government expects energy companies to invest more than 4.5 billion euros in the country by 2010 as a result of measures to make it less dependent on oil. Greece has no nuclear power and produces almost no oil or natural gas. (Bloomberg) Gov’t plans to recoup firms’ tax reserves on EU instructions The government yesterday presented legislation to recoup about 200 million euros ($291 million) from some of the country’s biggest companies from past tax exemptions found illegal by the European Union. Greek companies, including Hellenic Petroleum, the country’s biggest refiner, will have to return the money in four, equal installments by March 2008, according to a draft law submitted in Parliament yesterday. A law exempting up to 35 percent of some companies’ earnings from taxation gave them an «unfair advantage» over competitors, the European Commission, the 27-nation bloc’s executive arm in Brussels, said in July, ordering Greece to recover the money. Greece revoked the exemptions in 2004. Hellenic Petroleum had accumulated tax-free reserves of 81 million euros, resulting in an exemption of about 20 million euros. (Bloomberg) Eurobank merger EFG Eurobank, Greece’s third-largest lender, said yesterday it has completed the legal merger of the two Bulgarian banks it controls to strengthen its position in the new European Union member market. The new bank will become the Balkan country’s fifth-largest lender after the merger of Postbank and DZI Bank. It will also have Bulgaria’s third-largest network with 264 outlets. The new bank’s total assets will be 4.55 billion levs ($3.37 billion). It will also have around a 10 percent market share in the country of fewer than 8 million, where 30 banks with total assets of 51.9 billion levs operate. Postbank will serve over 1 million clients and have 3,000 employees. (Reuters) Pipeline opening Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said yesterday the official opening of the natural gas pipeline linking Turkey and Greece will take place on November 18, in the presence of the two countries’ prime ministers. The ceremony at the Greek-Turkish border post on the Evros River, will include the first transmission of natural gas from Turkey to Greece. The size of the new pipeline reaches 300 kilometers, linking Karacabey in Turkey with Komotini in Greece. Economic climate Greece’s Economic Climate Index receded to 109.3 points in October from September’s year-high of 111.9, remaining significantly above the eurozone average. By contrast, consumer confidence rose to a three-year high.