In Brief

Bank workers seek 10.5 pct wage increase Greek bank workers are demanding average wage increases of 10.5 percent in their next contract to offset the reduced buying power caused by accelerating inflation. The increase is «necessary» because prices have risen more than workers and banks expected when they signed their last wage agreement two years ago, bank workers’ union OTOE said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. Greek lenders had «excessive profits» over the past years and «must be more fair toward their workers,» the statement said. OTOE represents about 60,000 employees. The Greek inflation rate stood at 3.9 percent in December, its highest level since September 2005, fueled by rising energy and food prices. (Bloomberg) Aegean Airlines 2007 passengers up 18 pct Aegean Airlines said yesterday passenger traffic last year grew 18 percent, helped by a network expansion and a fleet renewal program. Aegean, which flies domestic and international routes, said it carried a total of 5.23 million passengers on 54,685 flights. Passengers per flight rose to 96 from 93 in 2006. The airline said it captured a 25 percent market share at Athens International Airport, used by 65 airlines. Domestic traffic increased 10 percent to 3.35 million passengers, with international traffic up 35 percent to 1.87 million passengers, reflecting efforts for further international route expansion. Last year, Aegean launched new direct flights from Athens to Frankfurt and Munich, code-shared with Lufthansa, and increased its frequencies to Milan, Sofia and Bucharest. The carrier, which went public in June last year, is planning to add new domestic and international destinations this year. (Reuters) Piraeus Bank Piraeus Bank, Greece’s fourth-biggest bank, said profit exceeded its own estimates last year and that the lender is on course to reach its 2007-2010 profit targets. Profitability in 2007 «confirms the targets of our business plan, which foresees net income of 1.2 billion euros in 2010,» it said in a statement yesterday. Piraeus has a «solid capital base and liquidity» to expand after a 1.35-billion-euro ($2 billion) rights offer held last year, the statement said. Deposits expanded at an annual 33 percent in the fourth quarter. (Bloomberg) Turk assets mixed Turkish stocks continued a downward trend, tracking global stocks with banking shares hit hardest, while the lira traded slightly stronger on the day against a weaker dollar. Istanbul’s main stock index ended yesterday’s first session down 0.97 percent at 51,417.89 points, edging toward its fourth consecutive day of losses. It’s true that global markets are hitting Turkey, but local sentiment is also not that favorable so we are losing, and we expect this to continue in the near term,» said Mehmet Ilgen, of Ata Invest. (Reuters) Koc Turkish conglomerate Koc Holding expects revenues to grow more than 10 percent in 2008 to around $50 billion, while a third of revenues would come from exports, Chairman Mustafa Koc said yesterday. He said that by 2010-2012 he aimed for 50 percent of revenues at its white goods business Arcelik to come from exports. (Reuters)