In Brief

OMV and RWE start joint venture for gas pipeline VIENNA(Reuters) – Austria’s OMV and Germany’s RWE are starting a joint venture to carry out exploration for a gas pipeline across the Caspian Sea that could feed into the Nabucco link to Europe, OMV said yesterday. The venture, called Caspian Energy Company, will next year review gas transport infrastructure options that could provide Europe with access to natural gas from the eastern side of the Caspian Sea, OMV said. Based on the study’s outcome, the company plans to build and operate gas transport systems across the Caspian Sea which could link to existing or newly built pipelines toward Turkey and the planned Nabucco gas pipeline, it said. OMV and RWE are both part of the Nabucco consortium, which plans to build a 7.9-billion-euro ($11.1 billion), 3,300-kilometer (2,051-mile) gas pipeline from Turkey to Austria. The Caspian pipeline project would provide a feed into that pipeline. Nabucco separately confirmed yesterday that its financing was on track despite the global financial crisis. Cyprus land tax revenues plummet 31 percent NICOSIA(Reuters) – Cyprus’s tax revenues from real estate transactions fell 31 percent in the first 11 months of the year, although tax gains overall were marginally higher than last year, data released yesterday showed. Revenue from capital gains tax fell to 291.03 million euros from January to November, compared to 422.26 million during the corresponding period of 2007. The levy is primarily charged on the disposal of real estate, a sector that has been hit by slumping demand from Western European markets for holiday homes on the island. Real estate revenues boosted state finances to a 3.3 percent surplus in 2007. Authorities expect a surplus of around 0.5-0.7 percent in 2008. Cyprus’s inland revenue department January-to-November data showed a 10 percent increase in corporate tax revenues. Overall, total receipts were 1 percent higher at 1.83 billion euros. T-bills auctioned Romania sold 405 million lei ($144 million) in one-year treasury bills at its last 2008 debt auction yesterday, bringing the total sold to 12.4 billion lei, as yields jumped because of worries about the economy. The average accepted yield yesterday was 14.23 percent, compared with 9.29 percent in January, even though inflation declined slightly to just under 7 percent so far this year. Earlier in the fourth quarter, the Finance and Economy Ministry revised its 2008 issuance plans to 12.7 billion lei, from 11 billion. It sold mostly short-term paper, with maturities ranging from between three months and five years, as the global cash squeeze has pushed yields upward. Meanwhile, a growing need for cash to deal with a gaping budget deficit left the ministry unable to resist. In November, a ministry official said Romania would need at least 16 billion lei next year to cover a deficit target of 2 percent of GDP. (Reuters) Airline deal Turk Hava Yollari AO, the carrier known as Turkish Airlines, bought a 49 percent stake in Air Bosnia, Turkish Airlines said in a filing with the Istanbul Stock Exchange yesterday, citing the agreement. (Bloomberg)

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