ECONOMY

In Brief

Four bid for Montenegro power firm stake PODGORICA (Reuters) – Four foreign companies submitted bids for a stake in Montenegro’s power monopoly Elektroprivreda Crne Gore, Deputy Prime Minister Vujica Lazovic said yesterday. The list of bidders included Italy’s A2A, Russia’s Inter Rao, Greece’s Public Power Corp (PPC) and Norway’s Nord-Troendelag Elektrisitetsverk, he told a news conference. PPC has bid together with GoldenEnergy One Holdings, a unit of Greek shipping group Restis. The government is selling 9.15 percent in EPCG but the buyer will be able to use a new share issue to raise its stake to 18.30 percent. «In line with rules and tender conditions, the tender commission will analyze and assess the bids… within seven days,» Lazovic said. Financial offers will be opened on July 24 and the government will then have 15 days to decide the winner. Cypriot prices still face upward pressure NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus’s grain market has opened up to competition in the last five years, but consumers still face upward pressure on prices because of the small size of the market, the island’s main grain importer said yesterday. The prices of bread and milk have been in the spotlight in Cyprus recently, with consumers calling boycotts over what they had described as unjustifiably high prices. «There is a price rigidity… which is not easy to beat here in Cyprus due to the size of the market and the small number of operators,» said Takis Kanaris, director of the Cyprus Grains Commission (CGC). «There is always a market for production, the real question is at what cost we can produce,» Kanaris said. Cyprus tourism June data released by the Statistical Service of Cyprus showed yesterday that arrivals to the island from abroad shrank by 15.1 percent year-on-year, falling from 307,237 in June 2008 to 260,931 last month. The decline is mostly attributed to the 20 percent drop in arrivals from the United Kingdom, a market on which Cypriot tourism is heavily dependent. Over the first half of 2009 foreign tourist arrivals dropped from 989,851 in January-June 2008 to 883,002 this year, a decline of 10.8 percent that exceeded the corresponding drop in arrivals in Greece (9.6 percent) in the same period this year. Turk Airlines Turkish Airlines the country’s flag carrier, announced yesterday that passenger numbers in the first half of 2009 rose 9.1 percent year-on-year to 11.2 million passengers. It added that its load factor fell 4.8 percentage points to 68.2 percent and that available seat kilometers rose 19.1 percent to 25.3 billion. (Reuters)