ECONOMY

In Brief

Larco to cut production by half this year Greece’s Larco, one of the world’s top five producers of ferronickel, an alloy used in the steel industry, will cut production by about half this year due to the global economic slowdown, a senior official said. Ferronickel output will be reduced by about 55 percent in 2009 from 90,000 tons last year, Larco’s executive director, Gerassimos Apostolopoulos, said yesterday. «Falling demand hurts (clients’) stainless steel products,» Apostolopoulos said. Larco’s main customers include steel manufacturers ArcelorMittal, ThyssenKrupp AG, Outokumpu Oyj and Acerinox. ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, said yesterday it would continue production cuts in Europe as the economy slows. Larco’s production of nickel, a ferronickel ingredient, will decline from about 18,500 tons last year to between 10,000 to 12,000 tons in 2009, depending on international prices, Apostolopoulos said. Larco is jointly owned by the Greek government, the country’s biggest lender National Bank and Public Power Corporation, Greece’s biggest power producer. (Reuters) Intralot gets deal for Ohio instant lottery Intralot SA, the world’s second-biggest gambling services provider, said it got a contract to run an instant lottery game in the US state of Ohio. The two-year contract complements Intralot’s existing contract to run the Ohio lottery, according to an e-mailed statement. The value of the contract is estimated at $5.5 million a year, the statement said. (Bloomberg) Cypriot power Cyprus’s electricity authority has invited companies to prequalify as potential partners in a liquefied natural gas (LNG) venture, it said yesterday. The process would be open to firms and voluntarily formed consortia interested in participating in the LNG terminal company responsible for the development, financing, operation and management of the regasification terminal, the electricity authority, EAC, said in a statement. The prequalification process ends on May 29. Those companies that prequalified would be invited to submit a formal proposal at a later stage, EAC said. Cyprus now uses heavy fuel oil at its power stations and wants to switch to the cheaper option of LNG, introducing it to the market by 2014. Official estimates put Cyprus’s LNG requirements at 1 bcm per year. The island is holding exploratory consultations with Egypt and Algeria for supplies. (Reuters) Telecom fined OTE, Greece’s biggest phone company, was fined 1.5 million euros by the country’s telecommunications regulator for failing to notify the agency of cost data. The fine was announced in an e-mailed statement by the Athens-based regulator. (Bloomberg) IMF-Ukraine The International Monetary Fund said it hopes to reach quick agreement with Ukraine after resuming talks on disbursing a second tranche of the former Soviet state’s $16.4 billion loan. The lender came to Kiev after receiving «strong assurances» from Ukraine’s leaders last week that laws needed for resuming the loan program will be passed by lawmakers next week, said Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, the IMF mission head in Ukraine. «Much was achieved in the past and we look forward to further discussion,» Pazarbasioglu said. (Bloomberg)