ECONOMY

In Brief

Grimaldi Group buys Minoan Lines stake Italy’s freight and cargo Grimaldi Group bought out the largest shareholder of Greece’s Minoan Lines to become its biggest shareholder, the Greek ferry operator said yesterday. Minoan’s largest shareholder, Sea Star Capital, signed an agreement with Grimaldi’s Atlantica Spa di Navigazione unit to sell its 26.7 percent stake in Minoan for about 100 million euros. Grimaldi, which currently owns about 15 percent of Crete-based ferry operator ANEK Lines, will sell its stake in ANEK to Sea Star for about 47.6 million euros, as part of the agreement, the Greek company said in the filing. Sea Star is controlled by the Greek Vardinoyiannis shipping family. It already owns 15 percent of ANEK, meaning it will increase its stake to about 33 percent. Minoan is Greece’s second-largest ferry operator, while ANEK is the country’s fourth-largest. (Reuters) Edison, DEPA set up JV for ITGI pipeline Italian energy group Edison and Greek natural gas firm DEPA will set up a joint venture to develop a new pipeline to bring 8 billion cubic meters of gas from Azerbaijan to Italy, Edison said yesterday. The new company, to be set up by March, will develop an infrastructure project for a 206-kilometer undersea link to connect Italy and Greece, part of a major plan to bring Azeri gas via Turkey to Greece and Italy, known as ITGI project. Edison and DEPA, which under the project have exclusive rights for gas transport for 25 years, plan to boost the pipeline capacity and eventually open it up for third parties, Edison said in a statement. (Reuters) Slovenia exchange bid Hellenic Exchanges, the operator of the Athens bourse, will bid for Slovenia’s stock exchange, the Greek bourse’s chief executive said yesterday. «We are taking part in the procedures, the sale of the Slovenian stock exchange. On February 8 we will submit a binding bid for 64 percent of the shares of the Slovenian bourse,» Hellenic Exchanges CEO Spyros Kapralos said. The Warsaw bourse is also interested in acquiring Slovenia’s stock exchange, Ljubljanska Borza, as part of regional expansion plans in Central Europe. (Reuters) Cyprus, Malta in gold pact New eurozone members Cyprus and Malta have joined the central bank gold agreement which limits gold sales by eurozone central banks and their Swiss and Swedish counterparts, the European Central Bank said yesterday. «The maximum annual sales, as well as the total sales, both as specified in the original agreement of 8 March 2004 by the signatories to the central bank gold agreement, will remain unchanged over the period of the agreement,» the ECB said. (Reuters) C/A gap widens Greece’s current account deficit reached 3.4 billion euros year-on-year in November, mainly due to an increase in the trade gap and the income account, the Bank of Greece said yesterday. The country’s current account gap in November widened 742 million euros. Figures showed that in the 11-month period, the current account gap ballooned 31 percent to reach 27.3 billion euros, or about 13.7 percent of GDP. (Reuters)