ECONOMY

In Brief

Hellenic Petrol to shut refinery for maintenance Hellenic Petroleum SA plans to shut the largest of its three oil refineries in Greece later this year for maintenance, cutting supplies ahead of peak winter demand for heating fuels. Maintenance at the Aspropyrgos refinery will begin in early September, Evangelos Stranis, a company spokesman, said in a telephone interview on April 7. The full shutdown, which was originally scheduled to take place in the first half, will last about a month, a company official said yesterday, declining to be identified because he is not authorized to speak publicly about the work. He didn’t give a reason for the delay. The Aspropyrgos plant can process 7.5 million metric tons of oil a year, according to the Athens-based company’s website. That’s about 150,000 barrels of oil a day. European refiners tend to conduct maintenance in the spring and autumn ahead of peak demand for gasoline in the summer and rising consumption of heating oil in the winter. (Bloomberg) Industrial output falls 4.6 pct in February Greece’s industrial output fell 4.6 percent year-on-year in February, following a 10-year record drop of 10.2 percent in January, the National Statistics Service said yesterday. «The index declined mainly due to the significant adjustment of inventories. Given that new orders remained at extremely low levels, we expect industrial production to continue to decline in the next two months at a pace similar to that of February,» said National Bank economist Nikos Magginas. (Reuters) Striking workers Nearly 1,000 workers at Bulgaria’s largest steelmaker, Kremikovtzi, have been rallying in the capital to protest delayed pay and to demand that the government find a new owner for the factory. Workers blocked major intersections in Sofia yesterday, causing huge traffic jams. The Kremikovtzi steel mill once produced nearly 10 percent of Bulgaria’s total exports, but was declared insolvent last year. The government says it will support any investor who agrees to reduce emissions and pay off debts to state companies. But workers accuse the government of ignoring their plight. The mill provides jobs for more than 5,000 people and its future is politically sensitive going into the general elections this summer. (AP) Bond bids Greece accepted more bids for its April 7 bond auction, according to an e-mailed statement from the country’s Public Debt Management Agency. The government accepted additional noncompetitive bids of 210 million euros ($279.1 million) for its bonds maturing in 52 weeks and the same amount for its 26-week bonds, the Athens-based agency said yesterday. (Bloomberg) Emporiki Cyprus Emporiki Bank of Greece SA, the Greek unit of Credit Agricole SA, will buy the remaining stake it doesn’t already own in its Cyprus unit, Emporiki Bank Cyprus Ltd. Emporiki will acquire 500,000 shares, or 2.7 percent, and 999,000 shares, or 5.4 percent, from two different shareholders, the lender said in an Athens bourse filing yesterday. (Bloomberg)