In Brief

Alpha Bank to join state-sponsored pension fund Alpha Bank will be permitted to join a state-run pension fund created in 2005 to help banks reduce costs. The government submitted to Parliament a legislative amendment that allows Alpha to join the ETAT pension fund. The bank will pay ETAT a total of 673 million euros in equal, annual installments over the next 10 years to finance the move, according to the text of the amendment. The amendment is scheduled to pass a vote next week. Banks which join ETAT are able to dissolve their worker-run supplementary pension funds, which have typically run high deficits, and transfer them to the state-run social security system. Emporiki Bank, and state-controlled ATEbank have already joined ETAT. (Bloomberg) Eurobank wants to double Ukraine network by 2009 EFG Eurobank Ergasias, Greece’s second-biggest lender, wants to double the number of branches in Ukraine by the end of next year as it expands in Eastern Europe. Eurobank’s Ukraine unit, Universal Bank, will have more than 100 branches by the end of 2008 from 53 at present, Eurobank said yesterday. Thirty-five new branches will be created just in the country’s capital of Kiev, the statement said. Universal’s outstanding loans have tripled since the beginning of this year, Eurobank said. (Bloomberg) OTE ups Cosmote stake OTE telecom, Greece’s biggest phone company, bought 16.7 million shares in its mobile phone subsidiary Cosmote yesterday, increasing its stake to 83 percent. OTE acquired the Cosmote shares at 26.25 euros apiece, according to a Regulatory News Service statement today. OTE on November 9 said it bid a total of 2.8 billion euros ($4.1 billion) in cash to buy 107.7 million Cosmote shares and take full control of its most profitable unit. (Bloomberg) Geniki rights issue Geniki Bank, majority-owned by France’s Societe Generale, said yesterday its 210-million-euro ($308 million) rights issue was fully covered. Geniki set a 9-for-10 rights issue at 4.0 euros a share, raising funds to boost its capital adequacy. The bank will issue a total of 52,549,145 new common shares. Societe Generale, which owns 52.32 percent of the bank, exercised all its rights. (Reuters) Carrefour, Sabanci bid Turkey’s Sabanci Holding has made a preliminary bid jointly with France’s Carrefour for retailer Migros, it told analysts in an e-mail seen by Reuters yesterday. «On November 5, 2007, Carrefour and Sabanci Holding jointly gave a non-binding preliminary offer for Koc Holding’s 50.83 percent controlling stake in Migros,» the note said. (Reuters) Cyprus growth Cyprus’s gross domestic product expanded by 4.3 percent year-on-year in the third quarter from 3.8 percent in the second quarter, the statistics department said in a flash estimate yesterday. Quarter-on-quarter GDP expanded by 1.0 percent in the third quarter of the year, compared to 1.2 percent in Q2. (Reuters)