ECONOMY

In Brief

Cyprus considering rare 1-bln-euro eurobond issue NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus may tap international markets with a 1-billion-euro eurobond issue to refinance outstanding debt maturing this year, its finance minister said yesterday. The republic, which seldom ventures onto the international debt market, has launched «preliminary consultations» with UBS and Dresdner, and other investment banks. It is also looking at the option of raising financing from domestic bond issues, Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis said. «We are investigating the possibility of issuing a 1-billion-euro bond on international markets targeted at institutional investors,» Stavrakis told Reuters. Stavrakis said he was fully aware of challenging conditions on debt markets reeling in global economic turmoil, but said he was confident any issue would be a success because of the island’s good economic credentials. Cyprus has about 1.7 billion euros in debt maturing this year. Moody’s rates Cypriot government bonds Aa3, while Standard and Poor’s has an A+ on its long-term sovereign credit rating and A-1 short term. Both have a stable outlook on the island, which joined the eurozone on January 1 2008. «Representatives of UBS and Dresdner are in Cyprus and we have been talking to them to see whether such a large issue is possible,» Stavrakis said. «At a first glance, and because of the very good conditions of the Cypriot economy, there would be interest from foreign institutional investors,» he said. Stanleybet gets go-ahead from court to expand in Greece An Athens court ruled that UK-based fixed-odds betting firm Stanleybet can reopen its outlet in the city, the company said yesterday, opening the way for it to move ahead with its Greek expansion plans. Stanleybet opened a store in Athens and one in the northern city of Thessaloniki late last year but Greece shut them down for violating a law which protects OPAP’s exclusive rights on sports betting until 2020. Stanleybet said at the time the move violated European Union law and called on the European Commission to act against Greece. «The court issued a ruling suspending a previous decision on the closure of Stanleybet’s store in Athens,» Stanleybet said in a press release. (Reuters) Global Dow index National Bank, Greece’s largest lender, said yesterday its share has been included in the Global Dow Top 150 index. Criteria used to choose companies for the index include the size of firms, their reputation and the role played in forming global economic trends. National is one of seven European banks included in the index, it added. Spanish borrowing Spain is paying more to borrow as Standard & Poor’s threatens to downgrade its credit rating and a flood of sales by European governments outstrips investor appetite. Spain’s treasury issued 1 billion euros ($1.32 billion) of 30-year bonds at an average yield of 4.836 percent yesterday, compared with 4.194 percent at a December auction, the Bank of Spain said in a statement from Madrid. The nation also sold 2.6 billion of 15-year notes at an average yield of 4.471 percent. «It’s happening at a time when the auction calendar has been very heavy and S&P is on the brink of cutting Spain’s debt ratings,» Axel Botte, a strategist at Axa Investment Managers, which has about $800 billion under management, said in an interview from Paris. (Bloomberg)