ECONOMY

In Brief

Turkey gets ready to launch lottery sale ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s Privatization Administration (OIB) has applied to the anti-trust board for preliminary permission to begin the sale of national lottery Milli Piyango, government sources told Reuters yesterday. The privatization of Milli Piyango is expected to attract foreign firms, despite lackluster foreign interest in recent Turkish privatizations and the global credit crunch. Milli Piyango posted sales of 459.8 million lira ($333.6 million) and had 331.8 million lira in net profits last year. Companies interested in the tender include GTECH-Lottomatica, Essnet-Tattersall, Scientific Games, Camelot, OPAP and Intralot, Turkey’s Koc Holding, Austrian Lotteries, Sisal, Dogus Group, Alarko and Cukurova Group. OIB Chairman Metin Kilci has said companies might be invited to bid for Milli Piyango before October 15. Milli Piyango’s license will be granted for 10 years, and the winning firm will receive 17 percent of the company’s revenues, with the rest to be divided between state institutions. Loans to shipowners to drop by a third Loans to shipowners will drop by at least a third this year as frozen money markets curtail banks’ ability to raise funds and shipping prices tumble, according to the largest lender to the industry last year. Banks will provide as much as $100 billion to shipowners this year, down from $150 billion in 2007, Ulf B. Andersson, head of shipping at Nordea Bank Plc, told a Marine Money conference in Athens yesterday. Funding costs have increased to one percentage point above the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, he said, without indicating how much the figure was last year. «We are in a vicious circle of financial turmoil affecting consumption and slowing down economies,» Guy Verberne, economic research chief at Fortis Bank, said in an interview. «We have to sit it out and wait for the dust to settle.» The shipping industry needs about $300 billion over the next three to four years to fund construction, Andersson said. The cost of hiring ships to haul coal, ore and grains fell by record amounts last month. Container ships are also being made idle due to slumping US demand for goods, Lloyd’s List reported yesterday. (Bloomberg) Top Ships Top Ships Inc said it has extended an exclusivity agreement on a possible acquisition by an affiliate of George Economou, the company’s single largest shareholder and chief executive officer of DryShips Inc. Top Ships said the potential acquirer had informed the company that the purchase price would be subject to further negotiations and would reflect prevailing market conditions. The exclusive agreement has now been extended by 14 days to October 22, the company said in a statement. (Reuters) PPC upgrade Public Power Corporation, Greece’s largest electricity producer, was upgraded to «overweight» from «underweight» at Morgan Stanley, which said agreed tariff increases and job cuts should boost profit next year. «In 2009, we expect EBITDA to triple and the group to easily finance its capex and reduce debt,» London-based analyst Antonella Bianchessi wrote in a report yesterday. «We expect management to announce a substantial cut in capex, cost cutting and minor disposals» at a November 18 business plan presentation. Bianchessi cut her price estimate on the stock to 20 euros from 25. (Bloomberg)