ECONOMY

In Brief

Eurobank’s Polish unit has big growth plans Polbank EFG, a unit of Greece’s EFG Eurobank, plans to become Poland’s fifth-biggest lender by 2012 as it adds branches and sells more loans. The company, which posted losses in 2006 and 2007, reiterated earlier plans to become profitable in the first quarter of this year, Kazimierz Stanczak, the head of Polbank, said at a press conference yesterday in Warsaw. The lender, currently ranked No 21 by combined loan and deposit volumes in Poland, aims to benefit as almost 40 percent of adult Poles have no bank account. Polbank has 300,000 customers and 259 outlets in Poland. (Bloomberg) OTE says it now owns 100 pct of Cosmote Greece’s largest telecom company OTE said yesterday it now owns 100 percent of mobile phone unit Cosmote shares after the conclusion of a squeeze-out period in a tender for minorities. Cosmote, Greece’s largest mobile phone operator, delisted from the Athens Exchange on April 1. OTE bought out Cosmote as part of plans to offset a drop in income from fixed-line telephony. (Reuters) RTB Bor A Serbian state commission said yesterday it had urged the government to reject an offer by Austria’s A-TEC to buy troubled miner RTB Bor, hinting the stop-go deal could collapse for good after days of uncertainty. A-TEC was due to complete its $466 million purchase last Friday but could not raise the money by the deadline. Instead, it offered Belgrade a partial payment and asked for more time to pay the rest. The cabinet will formally consider A-TEC’s offer today. (Reuters) Closed-end funds Shares in Greece’s eight listed closed-end funds traded at a discount to their underlying net asset value (NAV) in March, Association of Institutional Investors data showed yesterday. The association said investment funds traded at discounts ranging from 2 to 31.6 percent, with the sector’s weighted average discount at 17.7 percent. All eight funds had negative returns on net asset value (NAV) in the first quarter, ranging from -11.75 to -23.13 percent. (Reuters) Industrial output down Greek industrial output shrank 4.2 percent year-on-year in February after a 1.5 percent rise in January, on lower natural gas and manufacturing production, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday. For the first two months of 2008, Industrial output was down 1.5 percent year-on-year, compared to a 4.3 percent rise in the same period in 2007, NSS said. (Reuters) Turkey highway tender Turkey plans this year to hold a build-operate-transfer tender for its North Marmara highway project, under which it will build a third bridge between Europe and Asia, a transport official told Reuters yesterday. He also said there was strong foreign and domestic interest in another tender to build a highway between Gebze and Izmir in western Turkey. (Reuters)