ECONOMY

In Brief

Turkey to delay sale of national lottery license Turkey will delay the sale of a license to run its national lottery by more than a month to allow bidders more time to prepare offers, Metin Kilci, head of the state-asset sales agency, said. Potential investors had asked for the delay as the «global crisis is affecting privatization as much as any other sector,» Kilci said in a telephone interview. Turkey is offering a 10-year license to run the lottery as part of a program of asset sales designed to help reduce state debt. Milli Piyango Idaresi, the lottery operator, had net income of 332 million liras ($220 million) in 2007 from gross sales of 1.2 billion liras, according to Treasury figures. It distributed 649 million liras in prize money. The Milli Piyango offer gives investors access to a «clear and surprise-free» market and will be carried out successfully, «although until conditions improve, we may be in a slower gear,» Kilci said. On November 4, the asset sales agency gave potential investors until January 15 to apply to take part in the auction, and until February 27 to submit bids. Kilci didn’t specify the new timetable. Companies including Athens-based Intralot SA and Turkey’s Koc Holding AS have said they may bid for Milli Piyango. Camelot Group Plc, which holds the concession to run the UK’s national lottery, and Scientific Games Corp may also bid, Milliyet newspaper said in July. Other possible bidders include Essnet AB, Tatts Group Ltd, GTECH Holdings Corp, Lottomatica SpA, Austrian Lotteries and Sisal SpA, Milliyet said. Turkey will press ahead with plans to sell operating rights for highways and bridges and dispose of sugar factories and ports, Kilci said. In addition, the agency will offer some electricity distribution grids for sale in the first quarter of the year, though the process may not be completed until 2010, he said. (Bloomberg) Moscow asks EU to provide monitoring of gas system MOSCOW (AFP)-Russia yesterday asked the European Union to provide monitoring of Ukraine’s gas transit system and charged Ukraine was stealing gas bound for Europe, as Kiev leveled its own charges. The exchange of accusations fueled a furious row over payments demanded by Russia’s Gazprom for gas supplied to its neighbor, which has led to shortfalls in several European countries. «Given that (Ukrainian state energy company) Naftogaz is not allowing monitors engaged by Gazprom into its gas monitoring stations, we sent a letter to the European Commission with proposals for ensuring independent monitoring of volumes of gas transiting Ukraine,» Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said. «In the last 24 hours we delivered to the entry of the Ukrainian transit system 295 million cubic meters – more than needed by European consumers – and at the exit received 270 million cubic meters. So they stole 25 million cubic meters,» he said in the latest such accusation by Russia. Macro data/EGMs The National Statistics Service (NSS) is scheduled to make public on Friday data on Greece’s manufacturing and industrial output for November. Figures on the country’s inflation rate and jobless numbers will be announced next week. Meanwhile, OTE telecom, Bank of Attica and health care group Hygeia are each scheduled to hold extraordinary general meetings of shareholders on Thursday.