In Brief

National Bank says not in merger talks with Alpha National Bank dismissed a report yesterday that it was close to a merger deal with Alpha Bank. «After today’s Kathimerini newspaper article under the headline ‘Persistent scenarios on National-Alpha,’ National Bank announces that it is not in talks with Alpha Bank regarding a merger of the two banks,» NBG said in a bourse filing. The paper said the two banks «were closer than ever» and one step before finalizing a merger deal to form a bigger entity, although management at both banks dismiss the rumors. The two banks agreed to merge in 2001 but the plans fell through. (Reuters) OPAP’s new CEO doesn’t see new licenses soon The new chief executive of Europe’s biggest betting firm OPAP said he didn’t see Greece issuing new licenses anytime soon, securing its domestic legal betting monopoly for the immediate future. «It is self-evident that at least until 2020 it isn’t possible to set an issue of granting new licenses for rights that are exclusively given to OPAP,» CEO Christos Hadziemmanuil told a shareholders meeting. OPAP stock has been hit over the past year partly on concerns that EU moves to deregulate the industry would lead to competition in Greece and hurt the company’s profits. Hadziemmanuil, an attorney specializing in international financial law, was a former head of Greece’s Olympic assets managing arm. (Reuters) Turk markets drift lower Turkish markets remained under pressure yesterday as investors continued to shun riskier assets amid global credit worries. The lira was best quoted at 1.1870 to the dollar at the end of interbank trade, down from 1.1795 on Thursday, after a relatively range-bound session. It also fell against the euro. Stocks also weakened, with the main stock index falling 0.8 percent to 54,304.47 points, following losses the previous day of 1.7 percent. (Reuters) Serbia bus firm sale Serbia yesterday launched a tender for the sale of the state’s 64.41 percent stake in the country’s leading bus company Lasta, without giving a minimum price. The tender, published in the daily Politika, said buyers must bid for 100 percent of the firm, as small shareholders would be invited to sell at the same time. Its shares traded at 3,200 dinars (41 euros) on the Belgrade bourse. (Reuters)