In Brief

PPC’s tariffs will rise despite inflation fears Greece’s largest electricity utility Public Power Corp (PPC) has no plans to freeze tariff rises due to inflation concerns, a senior company official said yesterday, denying media reports it planned a freeze. «PPC categorically denies any tariff freeze,» the official said. «Household tariffs will rise on average 7 percent from 1 July, while (industry) tariffs will rise at most 10 percent.» Greek media had reported that the country’s high inflation rate, which came in at a 10-year high of 4.9 percent in May, would force the government to put a cap on any price increases by utilities. (Reuters) Fourlis sees full-year net for 2008 up 39 percent Fourlis, which owns the Greek franchise of Swedish furnishing group IKEA, expects a nearly 40 percent rise in full-year net profit, it said yesterday.» Net profit is expected to reach 64 million euros ($98.8 million) for 2008, registering a rise of 39 percent from a year ago,» the company said in a statement to the Athens Stock Exchange. Fourlis, which is also a wholesaler in Greece and Romania of electrical appliances such as TV sets and mobile phones, said it expects full-year sales to advance 22 percent to 815 million euros, with pretax profit up 30 percent to 85 million. No further details were given. Fourlis opened its third IKEA store in Greece in March. Last year it took the IKEA brand into Cyprus and plans to expand it into Bulgaria in 2009. (Reuters) Vienna bourse The Vienna bourse is in talks to increase its control of the Budapest Stock Exchange by buying the holdings of two Austrian banks, it said yesterday. The Wiener Boerse, the operator of the Vienna exchange – which is battling the Warsaw bourse for pole position in Central and Eastern Europe – agreed on Thursday to buy UniCredit’s stake to boost its holding to 37.7 percent. If it succeeds in buying Erste Bank’s 12 percent and Raiffeisen’s 6.4 percent, the Vienna bourse would hold 56.1 percent of the Budapest operator. A third Austrian bank, OeKB holds a 12 percent stake. (Reuters) Provopoulos approved The Greek Parliament yesterday approved the appointment of Giorgos Provopoulos as the new governor of the Greek central bank. Provopoulos will succeed Nicholas Garganas as Bank of Greece governor as of today. The position brings with it a seat on the European Central Bank’s policymaking Governing Council. Provopoulos, 58, is a former chief executive at Piraeus Bank, while he was chairman and chief executive at Emporiki Bank in 2004-06. (Reuters) Gold sale Cyprus’s central bank yesterday rebuffed suggestions from the government to sell part of the republic’s gold reserves, saying it had resisted overtures from the present and previous administration for a sell-off. Breaking a weeklong silence, the central bank said the reserves were necessary to maintain adequate capital. «There had been no change in circumstances warranting a change in our position,» the central bank said in a statement attributed to Governor Athanasios Orphanides. (Reuters)