ECONOMY

In Brief

Second-half earnings for EFG International drop EFG International, the Swiss private bank whose largest shareholder is the Greek Latsis family, declined the most on record in Zurich trading after a 69 percent drop in second-half profit. Net income fell to 58.5 million Swiss francs ($51 million) from 188.3 million francs a year earlier, according to Bloomberg calculations. Second-half earnings were derived by subtracting first-half profit from full-year figures released yesterday. EFG, which competes with wealth managers including Bank Sarasin and Julius Baer Holding AG, scrapped a target for net income of at least 800 million francs by 2010 after market declines and currency swings eroded managed assets. Client assets under management fell 21 percent to 77.2 billion francs in the six months to December 31, missing the Zurich-based company’s target of at least 121 billion francs. (Bloomberg) Cyprus Airways says last year was better than 07 NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cypriot national carrier Cyprus Airways said last year’s results should be better than those for 2007, helped by the disposal of a stake in Cyprus Tourist Development Company and lower financing costs. Higher fuel costs were offset by an increase in revenue and a reduction in other expenses, Cyprus Airways said in a statement yesterday. The airline is due to report 2008 results tomorrow. The Cypriot government holds a majority stake in the airline. Bulgarian power. Bulgaria’s Finance Engineering, majority-controlled by US Traders International, plans to build a 130.4-megawatt gas-fired power plant in the southern town of Haskovo, its chief executive said yesterday. Genadi Tabakov said the company would invest 250 million leva ($163.8 million) in the plant and planned to have it operational at the end of 2011. At a later stage, the company plans to build a second 130-megawatt unit at the same site in Haskovo, some 240 kilometers southeast of Sofia and near the borders with Greece and Turkey. «We need to get building and environmental permissions, as well as a 35-year license for power generation. We hope to start construction in the middle of 2010,» he told Reuters. The plant’s equipment will be supplied by Germany’s Siemens. Finance Engineering will finance the new generator by its own funds, loans by local banks and funds from Germany’s export agency, Tabakov said. Bulgaria supports the building of new power plants as it strives to restore its role of a leading power exporter in Southeastern Europe after it closed aging nuclear units at its Kozloduy plant to gain entry to the European Union. The Balkan country has launched the construction of a 2,000-megawatt nuclear power plant at the Danube River town of Belene. US energy major AES is building a new 670-megawatt thermal power plant in the country’s Maritsa East lignite coal-mining complex, that should become operational in 2010. (Reuters) Turkish deal CEZ AS, the Czech Republic’s largest utility, won European Union approval to buy a stake in Turkish power generator Akenerji Elektrik Uretim AS for $303 million. The European Commission, the 27-nation EU’s antitrust regulator in Brussels, announced the decision in a statement yesterday. Prague-based CEZ announced plans in October to buy half of the majority stake in Akenerji. (Bloomberg)