ECONOMY

In Brief

Ports to pay 90 million euros for early retirement plan The port authorities of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, Greece’s two biggest ports, will pay about 90 million euros to finance an early retirement plan for workers, according to government estimates. The cost for Piraeus will be about 55 million euros and for Thessaloniki 35 million euros, the government’s accounting office said in a report on Parliament’s website. Greece is offering dock workers early retirement to overcome labor union opposition to a plan to seek private managers for some of the ports’ container operations. The government, which controls both companies, wants private investors to help improve their cargo-handling capacity. In January, Piraeus, the country’s biggest port, invited investors to bid to operate two piers for 30 years, with an option for an additional five years. (Bloomberg) Bulgaria to auction Bobov Dol thermal power plant SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria will auction its Bobov Dol thermal power plant in three months, after two previous failed attempts to sell the outdated generator to a strategic investor, the privatization agency said yesterday. The starting price for the 420-megawatt, coal-fired plant in western Bulgaria is set at 100 million lev, the agency said in a statement. Bulgaria had planned to call the tender by the end of 2007, but later decided to delay the sale due to a legal challenge by Greece’s Public Power Corporation (PPC). Bulgaria canceled Bobov Dol’s sale to PPC for a second time last May following environmental and coal-purchasing disagreements. PPC, which bid 105.2 million euros for the generator, is appealing against the agency’s decision in court. Bulgaria wants to sell the plant quickly as the operational life of its two units expires in 2011 and 2014, respectively. (Reuters) S&B 2007 results S&B Industrial Minerals said 2007 profit rose 16 percent as sales increased. Net income climbed to 25.7 million euros, or 84 cents a share, last year, from 22.1 million euros, or 73 cents, the year before, according to an e-mailed statement yesterday. Sales gained 18 percent to 535.4 million euros. The company said it will pay a dividend of 31 cents a share, compared with 30 cents in 2006. (Bloomberg) EFG Mideast venture EFG International, the Swiss private bank founded by the late Greek shipping tycoon John Latsis, said it has started a joint venture with Beirut-based Lebanese Canadian Bank to improve access to clients in the Middle East. Zurich-based EFG will own 51 percent of the venture, called LCB Capital Management Ltd, which will operate from London and is effective immediately. Lebanese Canadian Bank had assets under management of $3 billion at the end of 2007, EFG said. (Bloomberg)