ECONOMY

In Brief

Turkish lottery sell-off seen in next few days ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The tender for the privatization of Turkey’s national lottery is planned to take place over the next few days, the head of Turkey’s privatization agency (OIB) said yesterday, according to broadcaster CNBC-e. The privatization of the lottery, known as Milli Piyango, is expected to attract foreign firms, despite lackluster foreign interest in recent Turkish privatizations and the global credit crunch. 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 said earlier this month it had sought preliminary permission from the anti-trust board for the sell-off. The lottery’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. Milli Piyango posted sales of 459.8 million lira ($329.49 million) and net profits of 331.8 million lira last year. Regulator OKs Deutsche Telecom plans for OTE Greece’s telecommunications regulator approved a plan by Deutsche Telekom AG, Europe’s biggest phone company, to buy a controlling stake in the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), according to an e-mailed statement from the Athens-based agency yesterday. The Greek government in May approved an agreement through which Greece and Deutsche Telekom will each hold a 25 percent stake plus one share of OTE. (Bloomberg) Cement cutbacks Russian cement producers are cutting back plans for new plants as the financial crisis derails construction projects and imports may more than double, an industry group said. Only about 15 percent of the 70 projects that have been announced will be completed, Vyacheslav Boltenko, head of trade group Soyuzcement, told reporters in Moscow. Companies have pledged 500 billion rubles ($19.1 billion) in investment for those projects through 2015, he said, without naming companies that may not finish the work. Russia’s worst financial crisis since the 1998 default has damped a construction boom, putting pressure on building materials producers. Imports have soared twenty-fold in a year as companies including HeidelbergCement AG, Germany’s largest producer, Turkey’s Cimsa Cimento Sanayi & Ticaret AS and Titan Cement Co of Greece announced plans this year to expand into the country. (Bloomberg) More jobless Turkey’s estimated unemployment rate increased to 9.4 percent in the three months to the end of August from 8.8 percent in the same period last year, the state statistics institute said yesterday. A survey based on interviews with a sample of about 31,500 families across the country showed the number of jobless to have increased by 202,000 to 2,353,000 people, it said. High unemployment and huge unregistered activity remain a major challenge for the Turkish government, despite several years of strong growth in the wake of two severe financial crises in 1999 and 2001. To determine the jobless rate, the statistics institute surveys households in different regions of the country and uses the results to make a nationwide three-month projection. (AFP)