ECONOMY

In Brief

EIB to provide loan for construction of Thessaloniki metro system The European Investment Bank (EIB) signed an agreement yesterday with Attiko Metro, providing a 250-million-euro loan for the construction of Thessaloniki’s metro, it said yesterday. The agreement, which brings the EIB’s total loan to Attika Metro to 650 million euros, is intended for the design, construction, testing and commissioning of the first phase of the Thessaloniki metro, comprising a 9.6-kilometer underground track, 13 stations and one depot. The EIB, the lending bank of the European Union, provides financing to different sectors, such as infrastructure projects and small to medium-sized enterprises. Greece borrows 1.4 billion euros Greece’s Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA) sold a total of 1.4 billion euros ($1.96 billion) in 26- and 52-week T-bills at auctions yesterday, benefiting from lower yields due to strong investor demand. The auction produced a uniform yield of 1.12 percent for the 52-week T-bill, down from 1.78 percent in a previous April 7 auction. The yield came to 0.91 percent (previous 1.48 percent) for 26-week paper. Greece has borrowed about 50 billion euros since the beginning of the year, around a fifth of the country’s gross domestic product. The European Union’s second most indebted country after Italy, Greece’s debt to GDP ratio was 97.6 percent in 2008. Greece was long perceived as the eurozone’s most risky bet. (Reuters) Cyprus permits The number of building permits issued in Cyprus, the euro region’s second-smallest economy, increased in the first four months of the year, as builders prepared for a rise in real estate demand. The number of permits authorized, a leading indicator of future construction, rose 2.8 percent from the same period a year earlier to 2,867, the National Statistics Service said yesterday in a statement on its website. The total value of the permits fell 0.3 percent to 890,081 euros ($1.2 million) and the number of planned dwelling units covered by the permits dropped 4.3 percent to 5,805. (Bloomberg) Tanker chartered Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd, a shipping company whose vessels carry oil and petroleum products, chartered a Suezmax-class oil tanker for three years. The charter includes a profit-sharing agreement. The Arctic, built in 2007, began its charter earlier this month, Athens-based Tsakos said in a PRNewswire statement. The charter should generate at least $25 million, according to the statement. The agreement with an unnamed charterer includes an undisclosed daily rate, as well as a profit-sharing agreement in which Tsakos would receive half the difference if market rates move higher than the daily rate for the duration of the charter, according to the statement. (Bloomberg) Alfa-Beta stake Belgian supermarket group Delhaize said on Monday its stake in Greek Alfa-Beta Vassilopoulos would rise to 89.56 percent, just short of the 90 percent required for a squeeze-out. Delhaize, which already owned 65.27 percent of Greece’s second largest food retailer, launched a 30.50 euro offer on May 18, which it raised to 34 euros per share at the end of June after scooping up precious few Alfa-Beta shares. Delhaize had said it intended to proceed with a squeeze-out if it acquired 90 percent of Alfa-Beta voting rights and begin delisting it from the Athens exchange if it reached 95 percent. Delhaize will still benefit from a greater share of Alfa-Beta profit flowing to the group, but costs related to the Greek subsidiary’s listing will remain. «We will look at opportunities that pop up,» a Delhaize spokesman said. (Reuters)