ECONOMY

In Brief

Government to annul Thessaloniki port tender The government will annul a tender to privatize and upgrade facilities at the country’s second-largest port in Thessaloniki, known in Greece as OLTH, after the top bidder withdrew due to the global crisis, the state and company sources said yesterday. «We are essentially canceling the tender,» said a company official, who requested anonymity. «The company has already started the expansion process… using its own funds.» He said the cancellation would be officially announced by the end of next week. A government official, who declined to be named, confirmed that the tender will be canceled. Greece launched tenders last year to turn two of its ports, among the largest in the eastern Mediterranean, into regional hubs and boost competitiveness. Piraeus port sealed a deal with China’s Cosco Pacific in November, but the Thessaloniki port tender has now fallen victim to the global crisis. (Reuters) CB Richard Ellis in deal with Bulgarian agent LONDON (Reuters) – The world’s largest property broker CB Richard Ellis has signed an affiliation agreement with Bulgarian commercial real estate services provider MBL Eood, reflecting its long-term confidence in Eastern and Central Europe’s burgeoning property markets. CB Richard Ellis said the relationship would further enhance its coverage of the region after last year’s acquisition of Eurisko Consulting in Romania and affiliation with Greece’s Atria Group. Established in 2007, MBL Eood employs 15 people and is based in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. The company specializes in valuations, investment transactions, retail, office and industrial rentals, landlord representation, land transactions and property management. Bulgaria’s economy has been growing at an annual rate of over 5 percent for the past five years, but its relatively immature commercial real estate market offers significant long-term growth potential, CB Richard Ellis said in a statement. Debt cutback Babis Vovos International Construction SA, a Greek property developer, plans to sell some tourist properties to reduce its short-term bank debt of 201 million euros, according to an e-mailed statement. The firm is also in talks with banks to convert some of the loans into longer-term debt. (Bloomberg) Mixed ratings There is no justification for treating all Central and Eastern European governments as if their creditworthiness was uniform, ratings company Moody’s said in a report. It said that the sovereign ratings of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Slovenia are «well-anchored despite challenging conditions,» while Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia are «subject to some degree of rating volatility.» (Bloomberg) Turk profits Turkish banking watchdog chief Tevfik Bilgin said profits in Turkey’s banking industry rose a yearly 23 percent in January to 1.6 billion liras ($900 million). Capital adequacy ratios at Turkish banks were an average 17.9 percent in the month, Bilgin said in a phone interview in Ankara yesterday. Nonperforming loans are currently 4 percent of total loans, he said. (Bloomberg)