ECONOMY

In Brief

Emirates ups stake in Forthnet to 34 pct Emirates International Telecommunications LLC, an investment arm of Dubai Holding LLC, increased its stake in Forthnet SA after the Greek company raised 300 million euros ($466 million) in a share sale. Emirates now indirectly owns 52.7 million shares, or 33.9 percent, after the rights offer, according to an Athens bourse filing by Forthnet yesterday. The stake includes shares held by its units Forgendo Ltd and Emirates International Telecommunications (Malta) Ltd. Forthnet, Greece’s second-biggest provider of Web services, completed a sale of new shares to stockholders last week to help finance the 490-million-euro acquisition of Greek and Cypriot pay-TV company NetMed NV. The NetMed purchase will allow Forthnet to be the first Greek company to offer high-speed Internet, television and phone services in one package. (Bloomberg) Carlyle acquires 99.4 percent of Neochimiki Carlyle Group acquired a 99.4 percent stake in Neochimiki LV Lavrentiadis after making a public offer to buy shares it didn’t already own in the Greek chemicals maker. Green Bidco SA, which is controlled by Carlyle, owned 35.8 million shares at the end of the offer, according to an Athens bourse filing. On May 9, the US leveraged buyout firm acquired a 74 percent stake in Neochimiki for 19 euros apiece and said it planned to acquire the shares it didn’t own, valuing the company at about 684 million euros ($1.02 billion). The public offer ended on Monday. (Bloomberg) Turkish bidders Lottomatica SpA, manager of Italy’s national lottery, and Ladbrokes Plc, owner of more than 2,300 UK and Irish betting shops, were among bidders for a 10-year license to run Turkish sports-wagering game Iddaa. The winner will be selected within 20 days, Mustafa Turgut, deputy chief of Turkey’s gaming authority, told reporters in Ankara. The authority accepted applications for initial bids yesterday. Lottomatica and Labrokes aim to take over running of Iddaa from Inteltek, a joint venture partly owned by Athens-based lottery-machines maker Intralot SA. Inteltek wants to retain the concession, Turgut said. It’s operating for now under a one-year license after a Turkish court suspended a previous contract in January of last year. «The current operator is keeping about 7 percent of revenue,» said Toygun Onaran, an analyst at EFG Istanbul Securities. «I think we’ll see bids below that. There’s some aggressive interest.» (Bloomberg) Romanian privatization Romania plans to float next year a minority stake in leading landline telephone operator Romtelecom, majority-owned by Greece’s OTE, the government said yesterday. The float was scheduled for 2006 but has been repeatedly delayed after recent sell-offs had come under the spotlight on suspicion of commercial espionage and due to unfavorable market conditions. Telecoms Minister Karoly Borbely said earlier this year the float of at least 10 percent in Romtelecom was due by the end of 2008. «The government’s intention to privatize Romtelecom does exist. We did not have a proper climate for such an initiative in the context of a bad financial situation worldwide,» Borbely said in a statement. He said signing of a consultancy contract to advise on the sale will be done within one and half months, to allow for the listing next year. (Reuters)