ECONOMY

In Brief

Vivartia planning to set up four subsidiaries Vivartia, Greece’s largest food group, will propose to shareholders that it split its operations into four subsidiaries in a move that will help the company secure strategic partnerships, it said yesterday. Vivartia will propose becoming a holdings group and management company that will include a subsidiary for each of its activities – dairy products, restaurant and entertainment services, bakery goods and frozen food. Vivartia’s aim is to improve management and obtain greater flexibility and strategic deals for each branch separately via the changes, it said in a statement. The date for the changeover has been set for March 31. Delta dairy products, fast-food chain Goody’s and Barba Stathis frozen food products are among the companies owned by Vivartia. Business sentiment in Cyprus hits all-time low NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus business and consumer sentiment hit an all-time low in March due to concern about rising unemployment, though there were improved expectations of a mild pickup in demand, a survey showed yesterday. The economic sentiment indicator for March fell to 66.7 points, a 0.6-point drop from the previous all-time low of 67.3 in February. «Consumers appear more pessimistic in March about the economic outlook, particularly on the outlook for unemployment,» the University of Cyprus survey said. «However there was an improvement in business expectations for the next 12 months, particularly as regards demand for services and retail sales,» it said. Betting on Italy Greek lottery system provider Intralot is interested in bidding for Italian instant lottery and slot machine licenses this year, its chief executive said yesterday. «We are definitely interested in the Italian market and we will pursue the opportunities that arise,» Intralot CEO Constantinos Antonopoulos told Reuters in an e-mailed statement. He said an official from Italy’s state monopoly administration AAMS had recently said the country was planning to launch new tenders for instant lotteries and slots later this year, as the current licenses expire in 2010. (Reuters) Plane leased Cyprus Airways Ltd, the state-controlled carrier on the eastern Mediterranean island, plans to lease a plane from Dublin-based CIT Aerospace International, a unit of US commercial lender CIT Group Inc. Cyprus Airways signed a memorandum of understanding on March 24 to lease a new Airbus A320-200 for 45 months, the Nicosia-based company said yesterday in a statement to Cyprus bourse authorities. The companies are still negotiating the deal, which is subject to the approval of the airline’s board, according to the statement. The Cypriot carrier, which is renewing its fleet, expects the short-to-medium-range plane to be delivered in February 2010. (Bloomberg) Serbia-IMF The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it has reached a preliminary agreement with Serbia on a 3-billion-euro ($4.1 billion) standby loan to help the Balkan nation shore up its finances during the global financial crisis. The 27-month accord must still be approved by the Washington-based lender’s executive board, IMF representative Albert Jaeger told reporters in Belgrade yesterday, confirming news of the loan which was made public yesterday. (Bloomberg)