In Brief

NBG files lawsuit against Turkish regulators National Bank of Greece (NBG), Greece’s biggest bank, filed a lawsuit yesterday against Turkish regulators to challenge a ruling demanding a new call offer in Turkish leasing company Finans Finansal Kiralama AS. NBG filed the court case after Turkey’s capital market regulator ordered the lender to offer a higher price to minority investors for Finans Finansal shares, the Athens-based lender said in a filing with the Istanbul Stock Exchange. NBG’s December 2006 call offer to minority shareholders in Finans Finansal was annulled by the regulator after a Turkish court upheld a case filed by investors Griffin Capital Management, East Capital Asset Management and Charlemagne Capital. Finans Finansal is a unit of Finansbank AS, the Turkish lender in which National Bank acquired a majority stake for $2.8 billion in August 2006. (Bloomberg) Jan-Aug c/a deficit grows by 167 million euros Greece’s current account deficit grew by 167 million euros year-on-year to 494 million euros, reflecting an expansion in trade and income shortfalls, the country’s central bank said yesterday. Bank of Greece data showed that in the eight-month January-to-August period, the current account gap rose 13.4 percent to reach 21.989 billion euros or about 8.94 percent of estimated 2008 gross domestic product. «The drop in oil prices and the continuing slowdown in imports is expected to contain the 2008 current account gap at last year’s levels,» said Nicholas Magginas, economist at National Bank. (Reuters) South Stream Russia’s Gazprom energy giant is pursuing the possibility of including Romania in its South Stream gas pipeline to Europe in place of existing partner Bulgaria, a Russian newspaper reported yesterday. The Kommersant daily said Bulgaria was one of several countries along the route of the proposed mammoth pipeline that were creating difficulties, probably delaying its realization. The problems with Bulgaria were one of the motives behind talks last Friday between Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller and the ambassador of Bulgaria’s neighbor Romania, together with the heads of Romanian companies Transgaz and Romgaz, the paper said. «Bulgaria is now insisting on ownership of the gas pipeline by the state, while Gazprom would like it to be Russian property,» Kommersant said. (AFP) Competitions probe Bulgaria’s competition watchdog said yesterday it had opened a probe into Austrian utility EVN for possible abuse of its dominant position in the electricity market. The antitrust authority said it would examine complaints from consumers in the southeastern town of Haskovo that the company provided power with lower than the standard voltage, which burnt out television sets and other electrical appliances. Other complaints include a refusal to carry out checks for the lower voltage and refusal to add new consumers to the power network in the region. EVN, which took over power distribution in central and southeastern Bulgaria in 2004, faces fines of up to 300,000 levs ($205,614) if found guilty. EVN declined to comment before studying the probe carefully, a company spokesman said. In September, the watchdog launched a similar probe against Czech power utility CEZ. (Reuters)