ECONOMY

In Brief

Gov’t vows to privatize ports despite strikes The government will go ahead with plans to privatize its largest commercial ports despite a strike by dockworkers, the merchant marine minister said yesterday. The government has said it wants to sell stakes in its major ports to strategic investors seeking to bolster investment and make them regional hubs. «The ports’ development is a one-way street,» said Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis after meeting with Piraeus city officials. Workers at state-controlled Piraeus (OLP) and Thessaloniki ports staged a 24-hour strike on Monday opposing the government’s plan and refusing to work overtime. «OLP is a profitable business. It is the cow that provides us with milk, it cannot be handed over to private or international investors,» said Giorgos Nouhoutides, head of the OLP’s employees union. Stevedores will stage another 24-hour strike on Friday and will continue with more action in coming weeks that could cause disruption in goods distribution. The government has not detailed the size of the stake it wants to sell but the plan is part of its privatizations agenda for 2008 to raise funds to pay down public debt. (Reuters) Intralot signs South Carolina online system agreement Greek lottery systems supplier Intralot said yesterday it had signed a deal to provide the South Carolina Education Lottery (SCEL) in the USA with an online gaming system. Intralot, the world’s second-largest lottery systems supplier, said the seven-year deal, signed by its subsidiary Intralot USA, can be extended by up to three years and includes total revenues of 46.08 million euros ($67.8 million). «In addition to the online gaming system, SCEL has chosen to deploy Intralot’s new compact, full function terminal to all of the lottery retailers,» Intralot said in a statement. It will initially supply 3,800 terminals and 1,800 ticket checkers plus related equipment. Intralot is present in 40 countries and the contract is its fifth deal in the US market. Intralot stock trades about 18 times its estimated 2007 earnings, compared with multiples of 25 and 32 for Italy’s Lottomatica and New York-based Scientific Games respectively, according to Reuters Estimates. (Reuters) Four-bln-euro bond Greece has tightened guidance on the sale of a planned 4-billion-euro ($5.9 billion) increase to its 2040 government bond, an official at one of the banks managing the sale said yesterday. Guidance has been cut to 46 basis points over the January 2037 German Bund, down from revised guidance of 47 basis points area. Initial guidance was set at 45 to 48 basis points. The sale, which is being managed by Deutsche Bank, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, National Bank of Greece and Societe Generale, is an increase to Greece’s 4.6 percent bond, due September 2040. Demand has been strong with orders north of 8 billion euros, the official said. (Reuters)