ECONOMY

In Brief

National Bank makes bid for Banque du Caire Cairo (Reuters) – Foreign banks yesterday started submitting final bids to buy 67 percent of the Banque du Caire from the Egyptian government in the largest privatization in Egypt since the sale of Bank of Alexandria in 2006. Mohamed Barakat, the chairman of Banque du Caire and sister state-owned bank Banque Misr, said the winner of a public auction would be announced today. He was quoted by the Egyptian state news agency MENA. The five banks cleared to bid are London-based Standard Chartered Plc, Saudi Arabia’s Samba Financial Group, National Bank of Greece, Dubai’s Mashreqbank and a consortium of Saudi Arabia’s Arab National Bank and its Jordanian affiliate Arab Bank Group. The government has said it expects the sale to raise at least $1.6 billion, the amount it got for an 80 percent stake in Bank of Alexandria, sold in October 2006 to Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo. PPC names ABB winner for Rhodes substation Greece’s electricity utility Public Power Corporation (PPC) named Swiss engineering group ABB the winner of a tender to build a substation on the island of Rhodes, it said yesterday. ABB bid about 12.3 million euros ($19.2 million) to carry out a feasibility study, provide equipment and build a high-voltage electrical substation on the southeastern Aegean island, PPC said in a statement. PPC also plans to spend about 250 million euros to build an oil-powered 110- to 120-megawatt plant on the southern part of the island to boost capacity to meet increased electricity demand. The plant, which will also use natural gas, is expected to become fully operational by 2012. (Reuters) Rumor denied Greece’s third-largest lender EFG Eurobank yesterday denied press reports it is looking to buy out small Turkish lender Tekstil Bank. «EFG Eurobank categorically denies today’s reports… and states that there is no interest, no discussion under way with Turkey’s Tekstil Bank or any other bank,» the Greek lender said in a filing to the Athens Exchange. Greek newspaper Imerisia reported, without citing sources, that EFG management was eyeing a buyout of a small Turkish lender and that they had entered into discussions with Tekstil Bank. (Reuters) Cyprus surplus Cyprus is projecting a budget surplus of half a percentage point for 2008, despite slower growth in the banking and construction sectors, Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis said yesterday. Stavrakis said the island’s economic growth would hover at around 3.5 percent, while inflation for the year is expected at 4.0 to 4.5 percent due to high oil and cereals prices. «Despite the challenges arising from the difficult environment abroad, Cyprus’s economy remains stable and robust with satisfactory growth, almost perfect employment conditions and low inflation and interest rates,» Stavrakis said. (Reuters) Bulgarian debt Bulgaria’s gross foreign debt grew 42.8 percent to 30.7 billion euros ($47.76 billion) at the end of April from a year earlier as private borrowing showed no sign of easing, central bank data showed yesterday. The external debt of the European Union newcomer grew 2.9 percent on a monthly basis and was 93.8 percent of gross domestic product, up from 91.2 percent at the end of March and 74.4 percent at the end of April of 2007. (Reuters)