ECONOMY

In Brief

Helex to launch ETF fund for 60 biggest firms Hellenic Exchanges SA, operator of the Athens stock and derivatives markets, hopes to develop an exchange-traded fund for 60 of Greece’s biggest companies. Groups interested in winning the contract to develop the second such fund for the Greek exchange can express their interest until March 13, according to an e-mailed statement from the Athens bourse yesterday. The ETF, as the funds are known, will be based on the ATHEX composite share price index. The fund is expected to begin trading by June this year, according to the statement. Hellenic Exchanges started the first such fund for the Greek exchange in January 2008, based on the FTSE/ATHEX 20 index of the country’s 20 biggest companies, in a bid to draw more retail investors. Exchange-traded funds are index-based investment products that allow investors to buy or sell shares of entire portfolios of stocks through a single security. (Bloomberg) Goldenport Holdings takes delivery of ship Goldenport Holdings Inc, the largest Greek shipping line traded in London, took delivery of a new ship and bought a secondhand one. The new 53,800 deadweight-ton supramax carrier, built by Jiangsu Heavy Industry Co in China, is now on a three-year rental, Athens-based Goldenport said yesterday in a statement distributed by the Regulatory News Service. The shipper also bought a secondhand ship for $10.5 million, without identifying the vessel or its age. (Bloomberg) Bulgarian smelter The global economic crisis will not affect plans by Canada’s Dundee Precious Metals Inc to build a gold and copper smelter in Bulgaria, a senior company official said yesterday. Alex Nestor, manager of investment projects at Dundee, said the company would build the $160 million plant on the site of its Chelopech copper and gold mine by 2012, despite worries about demand due to the global slowdown. «We are in intensive talks with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. I do not consider funding the project a problem,» Nestor told a news conference. The Bulgarian government will provide 25 percent of the total investment, and will hold a 25 percent stake in the new smelter in Chelopech, 65 kilometers (40 miles) east of Sofia. Under the same deal, Dundee has agreed to pay a higher concession fee to the state. (Reuters) Intralot bid Lottomatica SpA and Intralot SA are among five potential bidders for the Turkish national lottery Milli Piyango Idaresi, the government’s asset sales agency in Ankara said in a faxed statement yesterday. Osterreichische Lotterien Gesellshaft MBH and OPAP SA of Greece were also among initial applicants who applied to qualify to bid, it said. (Bloomberg) Cyprus inflation Cyprus’s EU-harmonized inflation rate slowed to 0.9 percent year-on-year in January from 1.8 percent in December, the statistics department said yesterday. Year-on-year, transport costs were down 9.4 percent and utility bills were down 3.6 percent. On the year, inflation on foodstuffs was up 9.9 percent. In January 2008, HICP inflation was running at 4.1 percent year on year. (Reuters)