In Brief

Cyprus economic sentiment rises NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus economic sentiment in July has risen by 3.2 points from last month’s weak outlook, with the services sector showing signs of improvement, a survey showed yesterday. July’s economic sentiment index has climbed to 66.5 points as an increase in demand over the next few months is expected, the publicly funded survey from the Economic Research Center of the University of Cyprus said. The data showed a deterioration in business sentiment in the retail trade sector and consumers. «Consumers seem more pessimistic about the rise in prices and the prospect of big ticket purchases as well as savings,» the report said. PPC tables highest bid for Montenegro utility PODGORICA (Reuters) – Greece’s Public Power Corporation (PPC) bid 11.10 euros a share for a 18.3 percent stake in Montenegro’s power monopoly, EPCG, while Italian rival A2A offered 8.40 euros a share, a top government official said yesterday. «Our task is to check if offers were in accordance with the transaction documents and we hope that we shall be able to rank the bids in the next seven days,» Vujica Lazovic, the president of the tender commission, told a news conference. The price offered by Public Power Corporation, which bid together with GoldenEnergy One Holdings, a unit of Greek shipping group Restis, came as a surprise, said a Montenegrin official, who had expected A2A to offer the higher price. A2A acquired a 15 percent stake in EPCG in May in a series of block trade transactions on the Montenegro stock exchange from four local institutional stakeholders, for 122.7 million euros, or 7.10 euros per share. Serbia-IMF loan Serbia is considering asking the International Monetary Fund to let it use part of its 3-billion-euro loan to fund its growing budget deficit, the country’s finance minister said yesterday. «This is a special situation for the world economy and we want to have some reserves due to the uncertainty,» Diana Dragutinovic told a news conference. Dragutinovic said improving balance of payments have taken pressure off the Balkan country’s currency reserves and the dinar currency, and would allow the reallocation of some IMF money to the budget. (Reuters) Bosnia merger Bosnia’s Muslim Croat federation government yesterday merged seven coal mines with the largest power utility Elektroprivreda BiH (EPBiH), to supply its thermal power plants. The deal sees the formation of a new company, the Elektroprivreda Group, and paves the way for EPBiH’s 300-million-euro investment in the overhaul of mines over the next five years and the creation of better work conditions for its employees. (Reuters)