ECONOMY

In Brief

Partners seek $2.5 bln loan for Greek toll road Vinci, the world’s biggest construction company, and Hochtief AG, the largest in Germany, hired Natixis and three other banks to arrange a 1.7-billion-euro ($2.5 billion) loan to build a toll road in Greece. The banks, including Alpha Bank, Calyon and Millennium Bankshares Corp, began seeking buyers for the loan on February 7, the lenders said in a statement. They will hold a meeting for prospective investors on February 14 in London and in Athens a day later, according to the statement.The 365-kilometer highway linking Athens to Elefsina, Patras and Tsakona in the south of Greece will take six years to build and allow the Vinci-led group to operate the motorway for 30 years. Greece’s two biggest builders, Aktor SA and J&P – Avax SA are also partners in the project. Vinci is based near Paris. Hochtief is in Kleidi, Essen. (Bloomberg) Greece sets guidance on 2024 bond increase LONDON (Reuters) – Greece has set guidance on a 3-billion-euro ($4.4 billion) minimum increase to its 4.7 percent government bond due 20 March 2024, an official at one of the banks managing the sale said yesterday. Guidance has been set at 36 to 40 basis points over the French 4.25 percent OAT due 2023, the official said. Alpha Bank, Banca IMI, BNP Paribas, EFG Eurobank and ING are lead managing the increase. Greece is rated A by both Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings and A1 by Moody’s Investors Service. Turkish lira falls Turkish stocks fell 1.5 percent yesterday along with the lira, hit by weakness in global markets, while Migros rose 1.57 percent after its parent said it was close to selling the firm. At 10.00 GMT the lira closed at 1.2220, 1.5 percent weaker on the previous interbank close. It softened further to 1.2310 in after-hours trade. The yield on the October 7, 2009, benchmark rose to 16.92 percent from Friday’s 16.62 percent and the main stock index fell 1.47 percent to 41,342.84 points, adding to losses of 24 percent seen so far this year. A broker said the index might fall below 41,000 points if overseas markets deteriorate today. (Reuters) Nokia in Romania Nokia said yesterday it had started mobile-phone production at its new plant in Romania. Nokia announced the investment in the new plant in early 2007 and it said it expects to employ 500 people in Cluj during the first phase of production and 3,500 people by the end of 2009. The cellphone maker announced in January it would close its production plant in Bochum, northwest Germany, by mid-2008, moving the plant’s production to Romania. (Reuters) Cyprus industry Cyprus’s industrial turnover index rose 11.0 percent in November 2007 compared to November 2006, the statistics department said. Between January and November the index rose 8.3 percent compared to the previous year, it said. (Reuters)