ECONOMY

In Brief

Government eyeing possible IPO for DEPA The government will consider an initial public offer for its natural gas firm DEPA as a possible alternative to the search for a strategic investor, the company’s chief executive said yesterday. «We will be looking for a strategic investor and, as an alternative, (also) to a listing on the Athens stock exchange,» DEPA’s CEO Makis Papageorgiou told Reuters on the sidelines of an energy conference. The last new listing on the Athens bourse was in January 2008, as the global financial turmoil has dried up investors’ appetite, making it harder for companies to fund their growth. The government has been planning to sell part of its 65 percent stake in DEPA for years. Greece’s biggest refiner Hellenic Petroleum holds the remaining 35 percent. (Reuters) Globus Maritime’s Q4 EBITDA takes a dive Greek marine transporter Globus Maritime Ltd posted a 40 percent fall in its fourth-quarter EBITDA mainly on a non-cash impairment charge and scrapped its final dividend for 2008 to preserve cash. The company, which operates a fleet of dry-bulk vessels, said its Q4 results were also hurt by non-cash unrealized losses on interest rate derivatives. «The situation in the global shipping market is starting to change, but we still think it is early to tell if the recent resurgence in activity indicates a sustainable trend,» Chief Executive George Karageorgiou said in a statement. For the quarter ended December 31, the company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fell to $5.2 million from $8.6 million a year ago. (Reuters) Current account deficit The current account deficit in Greece shrank by 566 million euros to 3.368 billion in January, reflecting a smaller trade deficit, the country’s central bank said yesterday. Last year Greece’s current account deficit hit 14.5 percent of GDP or 34.98 billion euros. The large gap is seen as a key macroeconomic imbalance that threatens growth and jobs in the long term. (Reuters) Turkish budget woes The budget deficit in Turkey jumped to 7.39 billion lira ($4.31 billion) in February from a surplus last year, data showed yesterday, making it certain that the government will fail to meet 2009 budget goals. The Finance Ministry data showed that the first two-month deficit virtually equalled the end-2009 target of 10.398 billion lira deficit, which may prompt the IMF to press for savings measures before signing a long-delayed loan deal with Ankara. (Reuters) Turk vehicles down Turkish automotive production, exports and sales are expected to fall 35 percent this year, Automotive Industry Association (OSD) Chairman Turgay Durak said yesterday. Vehicle production in the first half of the year was expected to fall two-thirds, while employment levels are seen falling a third, he stated. (Reuters) Bulgaria loan Bulgaria is set to take a $200 million loan from the World Bank to create new jobs and raise productivity as it bids to prop up its economy from the global economic crisis, the government said yesterday. The 19-year loan, to be taken in euros, is part of a broader lending agreement with the World Bank signed in 2006 to support Bulgaria’s balance of payments, the government stated. (Reuters)