ECONOMY

In Brief

Coca-Cola HBC buys Italian bottler Socib Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (CCHBC), the world’s No 2 Coke drinks bottler, yesterday clinched a deal to buy family-owned Italian peer Socib SpA for 270 million euros, expanding in its second-largest market. Analysts said the acquisition was a good strategic move that may help offset profit concerns after CCHBC and other soft-drink bottlers cut forecasts on fears of a downturn in consumer spending, rising energy costs and high inflation. «CCHBC has the cash to proceed with buyouts and it is positive that they are sticking to long-term growth plans despite the crisis in the beverage sector,» said one Athens-based analyst. The Greek bottler, 23.3 percent owned by Coca-Cola, will buy Italy’s second-largest Coke bottler, adding five regions in southern Italy with a population of nearly 14 million. (Reuters) Turk minister asks bank to stop lira rise ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s foreign trade minister called on the central bank yesterday to inject lira into the market and purchase more dollars to stop the currency’s appreciation, which he said hurts exports. The lira rallied after Turkey’s highest court ruled last week against closing the ruling AK Party for Islamist activities, boosting investor hopes for greater political stability that will help the government refocus on economic reforms. The lira hit a six-month high on the back of the court decision. «Injecting lira into the domestic market and withdrawing dollars slowly from the market will both raise (the central bank’s dollar) reserves and take the lira to its normal value,» Foreign Trade Minister Kursad Tuzmen told reporters. Romania revenues up Romania’s consolidated budget revenues rose 35 percent on the year to 90.6 billion lei ($40.21 billion) in the first seven months of the year, data from the Finance and Economy Ministry showed yesterday. Revenues amounted to roughly 19 percent of the latest government forecast gross domestic product for this year. The European Union member state’s centrist minority government targets revenues at around 39 percent of GDP in 2008, including the absorption of some 2 billion euros worth of EU funds. (Reuters) Dinar intervention Serbia’s central bank intervened for the second consecutive day yesterday in small amounts to slow down gains in the dinar, which has jumped on investor optimism about the country’s European Union entry prospects. The bank had bought 3 million euros on Tuesday to curb the currency after it rose 1.1 percent against the euro following the arrest and extradition of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. (Reuters) Kremikovtzi insolvent A Bulgarian court ruled yesterday that ailing steelmaker Kremikovtzi was insolvent, opening the way for its sale. The world’s largest steel producer, ArcelorMittal, and Ukrainian tycoon Constyantin Zhevago are vying to take over the mill, Bulgaria’s industrial pride during the communist era. The court said it has opened a bankruptcy case and appointed a temporary receiver for the plant, which employs about 8,000 people and indirectly supports another 90,000. (Reuters)