ECONOMY

In Brief

Terna Energy to invest 1.5 bln euros by 2012 Greek renewable energy company Terna Energy plans to invest about 1.5 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in wind-power capacity by 2012, the chief executive of its parent company, GEK Terna group, said. Greece is struggling to cut its green power shortfalls in a bid to meet EU directives. New wind-farm planning laws have removed bureaucratic hurdles, making investment more attractive. Terna Energy plans a total capacity of 1,200 megawatts in Greece and abroad by 2012, Georgios Peristeris, CEO of Greek construction and energy company GEK Terna, told Reuters in an interview yesterday. «We’ll stick to this target,» said Peristeris, adding the company had set up subsidiaries in Bulgaria, Romania and Poland. «Along with these Eastern European countries, we are also exploring intensively some markets in Latin America.» The firm currently has a 142 MW wind farm capacity in Greece and a further capacity of 6.5 MW from a small hydroelectric plant. (Reuters) Bulgarian economic growth nearly halves Bulgaria’s economic growth nearly halved to an annual 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 due to slowing domestic demand and exports but was still one of the highest in Eastern Europe, data showed yesterday. The growth was slightly below a previous estimate of 3.6 percent, the statistics office said. The European Union newcomer’s economy grew an annual 6.8 percent in the third quarter and 6.9 percent in the same period of 2007. Full-year growth stayed strong at a real 6 percent from 6.2 percent in 2007 on the back of a good performance in the first half of the year, the statistics office said. The Balkan country’s fourth-quarter growth was above that of Poland’s year-on-year 2.9 percent, Slovakia’s 2.5 percent, Romania’s 2.9 percent and the Czech Republic’s 0.7 percent. Hungary’s economy contracted 2.3 percent. Bulgaria’s central bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund see growth slowing to 1.8-2.0 percent this year, while some economists say it may contract due to the global downturn. (Reuters) Branch expansion Bank of Cyprus plans to open at least five new branches in Greece this year as part of plans to expand its network. The lender said yesterday it opened a branch in Alexandria, northern Greece, bringing the local network to 161 branches. Gas license Turkey will approve a license for a fourth company to import natural gas, as the government seeks to boost competition, Sakir Arikan, deputy head of state pipeline company Botas, said yesterday. The three companies that have already received permits will be able to import gas from April 1, and a fourth license will be added «soon,» Arikan told an energy conference in Ankara. The licenses allow the companies to import and distribute gas to electricity producers and other consumers in Turkey. The country is seeking to end Botas’s monopoly of the wholesale market and eventually reduce its share to 20 percent. The energy market regulator has already approved licenses for Bosphorus Gaz Corp, owned by Russia’s OAO Gazprom and Turkey’s Tur Enerji AS; a Royal Dutch Shell Plc unit; and Turkey’s Enerco Enerji Sanayi & Ticaret AS. (Bloomberg)