ECONOMY

In Brief

Sell-off of Turkish state assets to slow this year Turkey will probably sell state-owned assets at a slower pace this year because of the global credit crunch, said Metin Kilci, chief of the Privatization Administration. The agency will give investors more time to consider bids for items, such as power grids and sugar factories, Kilci said in an interview at his office in Ankara late on Wednesday. «We will be more careful in gauging the mood in the market,» he said. «Sale preparations and auctions will take a little more time.» Turkey is seeking revenues from state asset sales to help pay for increased spending after the global credit crunch pushed it to request a loan from the International Monetary Fund. The government hasn’t set a goal for revenues from the asset sales this year for the first time since it came to power in 2002. It raised $6.3 billion last year. The fiscal deficit widened 25 percent to 17.1 billion ($10.4 billion) last year after revenues from asset sales. (Bloomberg) Russian gas reaches Greece via Ukraine Greece started to receive Russian natural gas supplies through Ukraine and Bulgaria today after a two-week halt, state-run Public Gas Corporation said. «The flow of Russian gas to Greece through Bulgaria resumed,» Public Gas, or DEPA, said in an e-mailed statement. Russia and Ukraine signed an accord over the weekend ending a pricing dispute and paving the way for the resumption of deliveries to Europe. Greece was able to meet demand during the cutoff with imports of liquefied natural gas via tanker, DEPA said. (Bloomberg) Cut in output Bulgaria’s largest zinc and lead smelter, KCM, will cut the output of both metals this year due to falling markets and the global economic downturn, its chief executive said yesterday. Stoyan Pehlivanov said the plant plans to slash zinc production to 63,000 tons and lead output to 59,000 tons due to slack demand. The cuts represent a 16 and a 9 percent drop in annual zinc and lead output respectively. «These (cuts) have been imposed by the overall economic slowdown worldwide and especially as our major customers in the construction and automobile sectors quit the market,» Pehlivanov told Reuters on the sidelines of a business event. (Reuters) Warsaw exchange The Warsaw Stock Exchange may attract as many as 30 companies to its main market in 2009 as it fights for dominance among bourses in Central Europe, Chief Executive Officer Ludwik Sobolewski said yesterday. The share sale of state-owned Polska Grupa Energetyczna SA, the country’s biggest power group, is set to be the largest this year, with a value of as much as 4 billion zloty ($1.2 billion). Hungary’s OTP Bank Nyrt, which trades in Budapest, may also be interested in listing its shares on the Polish stock market, Sobolewski said in an interview from his office. «We want to be the leading market in the region,» said Sobolewski. «We will attract Polish and foreign companies to continue our strategy of being more than just a Polish market.» The number of new listings will fall for a second year in 2009 as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression prompted investors to exit emerging markets. (Bloomberg)