ECONOMY

In Brief

Provopoulos set to be new central bank chief Greece is set to appoint Giorgos Provopoulos to head the country’s central bank and sit on the European Central Bank’s (ECB) Governing Council, a high-level banking source told Reuters yesterday. «The matter is closed; Provopoulos will be the new Bank of Greece governor,» the source said. The former CEO of Emporiki Bank and, until recently, No 2 at Piraeus Bank, Provopoulos, 58, will replace, for a six-year term, Governor Nicholas Garganas, 71, who is stepping down on June 14. Greece’s central bank governor and two deputy governors are appointed by the Cabinet after it considers a proposal by the Bank of Greece’s general council. BoG’s general council will convene on May 30 and propose Provopoulos as the country’s new central banker, the source added. Provopoulos served as a deputy central bank governor in 1990-1993. (Reuters) Turkey needs measures to reach surplus target ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey can only reach a primary surplus target of 3 percent of gross domestic product in 2009 if it takes fiscal measures to offset planned higher spending on infrastructure and municipalities, an IMF official was quoted as saying in a newspaper interview. The government has cut its public sector primary surplus, which excludes interest payments on government debt, to 3.5 percent this year from 4.2 percent, and 3 percent next year in order to stimulate a slowing economy. «If the primary surplus target for 2009 is to be reached, all these initiatives cannot be applied without taking compensatory fiscal measures,» IMF Turkey representative Hossein Samiei told Referans in an interview published yesterday. BoC denies interest Bank of Cyprus yesterday denied media reports it was in consultations to acquire Hellenic Bank, a domestic rival. Reports that Bank of Cyprus was interested in either merging with or acquiring Hellenic surfaced on a private Cypriot television station on Saturday. Hellenic added its voice to the denial. The island’s Greek Orthodox Church is a major shareholder in Hellenic. The group is Cyprus’s third-largest lender. (Reuters) Heracles Heracles General Cement Co SA, the Greek unit of Lafarge SA, said first-quarter profit slid 93 percent on higher fuel and power prices and the absence of a one-time gain a year earlier. Net income fell to 1.3 million euros from 18.7 million euros a year earlier, the Athens-based company said in an e-mailed statement today. Sales increased 2.5 percent to 168.4 million euros. (Bloomberg) Turk privatization Turkey’s Privatization Administration said yesterday it planned to sell tiny stakes it still holds in companies including Is Bank, Tupras and Koc Holding. The sales of Turkish Treasury-owned shares, which also include holdings in Petkim, Yapi Kredi and Erdemir, would be completed within a year, the Privatization Administration said in a statement to the stock market. (Reuters)