ECONOMY

In Brief

Cypriot tourism arrivals fall 7.1 pct in January NICOSIA (Reuters) – Tourism arrivals to Cyprus fell 7.1 percent year-on-year in January, official statistics showed yesterday, reaffirming the industry’s fears of a difficult year for the sector. There was an 8.5 percent drop in January arrivals from Britain, Cyprus’s main market, which accounts for roughly half the 2 million-plus arrivals each year. German tourist arrivals fell 5.6 percent, and there was a 4.1 percent decline from the Greek market, the statistics department said. Russians, a comparatively small market but eyed for its growth potential to the Mediterranean island, bucked the trend, with January arrivals almost doubling year-on-year. Tourism represents about 10.6 percent of Cyprus’s gross domestic product. The sector expects a downturn in arrivals this year, with bookings to the holiday island already down by estimates of up to 20 percent. Owners of Akbank put stake up for sale Owners of Akbank TAS, Turkey’s biggest bank by market value, including members of the Sabanci family, registered shares equal to an 8.4 percent stake for sale on the Istanbul Stock Exchange. The time limit for the sale of about 251 million shares, worth about $640 million at current market prices, is between 10 and 20 years, according to a filing on the exchange’s website yesterday. The stake represents about 23 percent of Akbank’s free float. «This is negative for the shares at this stage, because they didn’t reveal to whom are they selling and at what price,» said Funda Afacan, an analyst at BGC Partners in Istanbul. «In this depressed environment, with depressed valuations, I am guessing a block sale must be on their agenda, probably even the buyer is ready.» (Bloomberg) Eco-friendly phone Mobile phone company Wind Hellas said yesterday it has introduced its first «eco-friendly» phone, a Samsung model, to its product range. The phone is made of bioplastic, a biodegradable and compostable plastic, and the packaging is made of recyclable paper without plastic coating, the company added. Romanian fund Romania’s new government, which took office two months ago, plans to create a closed-end investment fund which will own the state’s minority stakes in 376 companies worth 30 million euros ($39 million) and sell shares on the Bucharest Stock Exchange. «We want to create and immediately list this fund on the stock exchange because it’s economically advantageous,» Mircea Ursache, the newly appointed head of the Romanian state asset sale authority, known as AVAS, told reporters in Bucharest yesterday. «The expenses with these minority stakes are huge, it’s very difficult to sell them because the market doesn’t want them.» (Bloomberg) FYROM mine The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s (FYROM) only copper mine, shut in December due to a deteriorating global market, was reopened yesterday thanks to growing price stability, MIA news agency reported. «The price of electricity has fallen on the European market and world copper prices are slightly higher as the gold market is more stable,» said Nikolajco Nikolov, manager of the Buchim mine. (AFP)