In Brief

Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline hit by delays SOFIA (Reuters) – The construction of a trans-Balkan pipeline due to carry Russian oil to Greece via Bulgaria is expected to start later than planned, in October 2009, and come on stream in 2011, a Bulgarian minister said yesterday. After 14 years of negotiations and delays, the three countries agreed last year on building the 1-billion-euro pipeline which aims to bypass the traffic-clogged Turkish Bosporus strait. Construction of the project was previously expected to start in late 2008 or early 2009. But the Bulgarian regional development and construction minister, Asen Gagauzov, told Reuters that the three countries were yet to pick a bank to help them raise funding, prepare a feasibility study and work out the project details. «We expect to be ready to start construction around September-October 2009,» Gagauzov said in an interview. «To finish the project would take about two years, which means launching the pipeline in 2011.» OLTH sees 2008 profits, a tough start to 2009 Thessaloniki Port (OLTH) expects to turn a profit this year despite ongoing labor action but revenues in the first half of 2009 will be hit by the global financial crisis, its CEO said yesterday. «Full-year results will be negatively affected by dockworkers’ action, but we will still see a profit that is expected to top 2006 figures,» Yiannis Tsaras told Reuters. «The next year, 2009, will be strange due to the financial crisis. The first half will be difficult, with a possible decrease in traffic until the slowdown ends,» he said. Greece’s second-largest port reported net profits of 3.64 million euros for 2006 and a nearly four-fold increase in earnings for 2007, as sales rose.(Reuters) Cyprus growth Cyprus has cut its growth and surplus forecasts for 2009, factoring in a worsening global financial outlook, with the prospect of finances tilting into a deficit next year not ruled out, Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis said yesterday. «According to ministry officials, 3 percent is the most probable growth (scenario) as things stand today,» Stavrakis said in a budget presentation in parliament, referring to next year. The figure was considerably lower than the upbeat 3.7 percent growth forecast cited by the Finance Ministry a month ago, while the surplus target for next year was also cut. (Reuters) IMF-Turkey deal The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said yesterday it was up to the Turkish government to decide whether to agree a new standby loan accord, but that the fund was always ready to act. The IMF’s mission chief to Turkey, Lorenzo Giorgianni, was speaking at the start of IMF talks in Turkey with business leaders and government officials as part of routine post-program monitoring after the expiry of the country’s $10 billion standby accord in May. «That (a new standby accord) is a question for the government. Of course, we are always ready to act whenever there is a need,» Giorgianni told reporters after talks with Turkey’s main business association TUSIAD. (Reuters)

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