In Brief

Business sentiment retreats in November Greek business sentiment retreated in November due to a drop in consumer confidence, think tank IOBE said yesterday. In its monthly review, IOBE said the sentiment index fell to 107.6 points last month from 109.3 points in October, in line with European Union trends. Expectations in the industrial and services sectors improved, while the recession noted in the construction sector in the last few months seem to be easing off. Bulgaria grants Melrose Resources oil/gas permit SOFIA (Reuters) -The Bulgarian government gave a three-year permit to British-based Melrose Resources Plc yesterday to explore a Black Sea offshore block for oil and gas, the cabinet’s press office said. The oil and gas explorer, which already extracts gas from another Bulgarian Black Sea deposit, will explore a block of 1,910 square kilometers in the Galata field. The company is expected to invest $120 million during the exploration period, the government said. In 2001, a Melrose subsidiary signed a 25-year concession agreement with Bulgaria to extract gas from a deposit in the Galata field, with estimated reserves of 1.44 billion cubic meters. Japan award The chairman and CEO of the Public Power Corporation (PPC), Takis Athanassopoulos, became one of the few Greeks to be awarded Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun as well as the Gold and Silver Star in Athens on Wednesday night. Ambassador Takanori Kitamura made the award on behalf of Emperor Akihito. «This award is to commemorate the outstanding contribution that Dr Athanassopoulos has made in enhancing ties between Greece and Japan,» said Ambassador Kitamura. Athanassopoulos became chairman and CEO of Toyota Hellas in 1989. In 2001, and with Toyota topping car sales in Greece, he moved to Toyota Motor Marketing Europe as executive vice president and CEO. Erdogan defends IMF ties Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended Turkey’s ties with its major creditor the International Monetary Fund in a speech to workers yesterday, saying the fund provided low-interest loans to Turkey. Turkey has a $10 billion standby loan deal with the IMF which will expire next May. The government has yet to decide on a follow-up deal. Turkey has cut its debt to the IMF to $7.2 billion from $23.5 billion when the ruling AKP party took power in 2002, Erdogan said. (Reuters) Alapis Alapis Holdings, a maker of veterinary drugs and agricultural products, bought a 49 percent stake in KP Marinopoulos for 18.5 million euros ($27 million). Alapis made the announcement in a filing to the Athens Exchange today. Marinopoulos is a closely held supplier of pharmaceutical products and was founded in 1979. (Bloomberg) Turkey privatization Turkey’s Privatization Administration has started preliminary work to sell state cable television and satellite businesses, the agency’s chairman Metin Kilci said yesterday. Speaking at a conference in Istanbul, he said no decision had yet been made. (Reuters)