ECONOMY

In Brief

Cyprus inflation hits five-year low in June NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus’s EU-harmonized inflation hit a five-year low of 0.1 percent year-on-year in June, easing from a May reading of 0.5 percent, the statistics department said yesterday. The June HICP reading is the lowest since this March and April 2004, which were also 0.1 percent. A breakdown of data showed a significant decline in household utility bills last month, down 10.4 percent, as well as transport costs, which fell 10.7 percent on a yearly basis. The year-on-year EU-harmonized inflation rate in June 2008 was 5.2 percent. Last month, Cyprus’s consumer inflation eased to 0.2 percent year-on-year from 0.6 percent in May on the back of drops in food prices. Info-Quest agrees to buy Rainbow shares A unit of Info-Quest SA, Greece’s biggest computer maker, agreed to buy 6 million Rainbow Computer SA shares from Georgios Vamialis, Rainbow’s chairman, at 1.46 euros apiece. This amounts to an 80 percent stake and Info-Quest will make a public bid to acquire the remaining shares at 1.46 euros each, an Athens bourse filing from Rainbow said yesterday. (Bloomberg) MIG IPO MIG Real Estate, a subsidiary of Marfin Investment Group, expects to raise between 8.75 and 10.25 million euros ($14.37 million) when it goes public on July 8-10, before listing on the Athens stock exchange, it said on Sunday. MIG Real Estate will issue 2.5 million new common registered shares. The price range for the initial public offering was set at 3.5 to 4.10 euros per share. The shares issued are for 25 percent of the company, with the balance held by MIG and local Greek investors. MIG will use the proceeds to retire debt. Lead underwriters are Marfin Egnatia Bank and Piraeus Bank, while the issue adviser is Investment Bank of Greece. Based on its financials at the end of the first quarter, MIG Real Estate is going public at 0.72 to 0.84 times its net asset value (NAV) per share of 4.89 euros. On 2008 results, the company is going public at 13 to 15.3 times net earnings of 2.64 million euros. (Reuters) Romanian jobs Romania’s unemployment rate rose to 6 percent in June from 5.8 percent in May, the employment agency said yesterday, as the global crisis hits the country’s manufacturers. In June 2008, the unemployment rate was 3.7 percent. Tumbling demand from the eurozone has hurt Central and Eastern European economies in recent months, forcing many manufacturers to halt production and lay off workers. Moreover, the center-left government needs to make deep spending cuts to curb Romania’s large imbalances, bloated by lavish spending by the previous cabinet, especially since the country secured 20 billion euros in International Monetary Fund-led aid in March. This may also mean a restructuring of the country’s inefficient public sector, which employs about a third of Romania’s work force. (Reuters) Bond buyback National Bank of Greece, the country’s largest lender, said it has agreed to buy back a total $624 million in preferred securities. The Athens-based bank paid between 60 percent and 65 percent of the face value for the securities denominated in euros, dollars and pounds, it said in a statement. (Bloomberg)