ECONOMY

In Brief

Alpha Bank sets new targets in business plan Alpha Bank set new targets in an updated 2007-10 business plan presented yesterday, projecting group profit will reach 1.4 billion euros ($2.08 billion) by 2010. The bank expects earnings per share to grow by 23 percent annually during the period, up from a previous target of 20 percent, and to further expand its franchise in Southeast Europe. «Two years into the Agenda 2010 implementation, we feel increasingly confident of the bank’s capacity to exceed its 10 percent market share target in Southeast Europe and continue to strengthen its position in the Greek market,» CEO Dimitris Mantzounis said in a statement. The bank, present in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania and Cyprus, projects its foreign network will contribute 30 percent of group profit by 2010, up from a 25 percent previous target. It said it will add 240 more branches than originally planned, eyeing a footprint of 1,010 branches by 2010. (Reuters) Albania suffers power cuts from overload Albania suffered an «almost total» power cut yesterday as excess electricity imports from Serbia and Montenegro overloaded local circuits, a Greek official said. «For some reason, Albania’s northern imports increased and the country’s weak interconnections there couldn’t handle the load,» Aristidis Tassoulis, network management director at Greek grid operator DESMIE, said by telephone. A spokeswoman for Albanian Power Corp who declined to be identified confirmed the cut and said power had now been restored. Albania yesterday sought bids to build two electricity plants with a combined installed capacity of as much as 270 megawatts. Government-controlled Albanian Power, or KESH, requested applications by the end of this month for a diesel-powered plant in the city of Durres to add as much as 200 megawatts. The Economy Ministry also invited bids for a water-powered plant of as much as 70 megawatts. (Bloomberg) AB Alfa-Beta Vassilopoulos, the Greek supermarket chain controlled by Belgium’s Delhaize Group, said sales in the fourth quarter rose 15 percent, boosted by new stores. Sales increased to 336.3 million euros ($498 million) from 291.4 million euros in the same period a year ago, according to a filing with the Athens bourse today. Annual sales climbed 14 percent to 1.175 billion euros. No profit figure was given. (Bloomberg) Rhodes Hilton sold Ionian Hotel Enterprises, a unit of third-biggest Greek lender Alpha Bank SA, sold the Hilton Rhodes Hotel for 35.5 million euros. Lampsa Hotel Company and Plaka, owned by the Sbokou family, will jointly acquire 100 percent of the hotel, according to a bourse filing yesterday. Alpha owns 92 percent of Ionian, according to Athens stock exchange data. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval. (Bloomberg) Turkish capacity Turkish capacity utilization fell to 81.2 percent in December, from 82.6 percent in November, the Turkish Statistics Institute said yesterday. In December 2006 capacity utilization stood at 81.7 percent. (Reuters)