ECONOMY

In Brief

Bank workers to close dealing rooms Greece’s bank employees’ union (OTOE) yesterday declared a two-day strike for next week and ordered that the transaction rooms of all lenders be shut down today to protest the government’s planned changes to the pension system. OTOE, which represents about 60,000 employees, called for a 48-hour strike from March 1. OTOE «declares a 24-hour strike in the dealing rooms of all banks for tomorrow, March 7,» it said. Trading in Greek stocks and bonds resumed yesterday after a three-day closure, as the labor union at the nation’s central bank allowed some striking workers to return to their jobs. «I consider it my duty to apologize for the trouble investors in Greece and abroad suffered,» Spyros Kapralos, chairman of the Athens Exchange, said in a statement on the bourse’s website. Kapralos said the bourse has taken «all necessary steps» to avoid a recurrence of the shutdown. (Bloomberg) Vivartia to pay $320 mln for American biscuit firm Vivartia, Greece’s largest food group, said yesterday it has signed a deal to buy US biscuit and snack-producer Nonni’s for $320 million as part of its expansion plans. Vivartia, which is present in 30 countries, said it has agreed to buy 100 percent of Nonni’s from US private equity firm Wind Point Partners and Nonni’s board members in a deal expected to be completed by April 1. «The technical know-how offered by the company in combination with its broadened network and commercial potential make Nonni’s a suitable platform to expand in the USA,» Vivartia CEO Spyros Theodoropoulos said in a bourse filing. Nonni’s offers six production units in the USA and reported 2007 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $32 million on sales of $187 million, Vivartia added. (Reuters) MIG buys Croatia group Greek buyout firm Marfin Investment Group said it is taking a controlling stake in Croatian tourism group Sunce as part of its expansion plans. MIG will pay 155 million euros ($237 million) for a 75 percent stake in Sunce, which operates 11 hotels along the Adriatic coast, has a majority stake in a local airport and owns 860,000 square meters of development land. «The Sunce acquisition is further testament to MIG’s regional reach and ability to source significantly value-accretive transactions for its shareholders,» MIG Executive Vice Chairman Andreas Vgenopoulos said in a statement. (Reuters) Aluminium sell-off in doubt The failure of the government and the best bidder to agree on terms for the privatization of Bosnia’s sole aluminium smelter may prevent its sell-off, a local daily reported yesterday. The privatization agency of Bosnia’s Muslim Croat federation concluded talks this week with the consortium led by Swiss-based commodities trader Glencore without success, the Dnevni Avaz daily quoted unnamed government sources as saying. The government has said that it will begin negotiations with other bidders – Britain’s En+ Group and Greek group Mytilineos – if the talks with the Glencore-led consortium failed. (Reuters)