ECONOMY

In Brief

Bank of Cyprus Russian unit eyes future listing NICOSIA (Reuters) – Bank of Cyprus plans to list its Russian subsidiary Uniastrum on a Russian stock exchange within the next seven years, the group said yesterday. Bank of Cyprus acquired 80 percent in Uniastrum in October 2008. Yesterday the bank signed a five-year shareholders’ agreement with Uniastrum’s two founding partners who will remain shareholders in the Russian unit and maintain managerial roles. «This agreement opens up new avenues for increasing our shareholder value, as in the medium term 2014-2016 the group intends to proceed with the listing of Uniastrum in a Russian stock exchange,» said Andreas Eliades, Bank of Cyprus group chief executive officer. The Cypriot group planned to maintain its controlling interest in Uniastrum, he said. Uniastrum has a 220-branch network in Russia, eyed by the Cypriot group as a source of future growth. The group says Uniastrum had no direct exposure to the financial crisis, nor any concentrated risks in its loan portfolio. Three groups interested in EYATH utility sale Three groups have expressed interest in the sale of a 23 percent stake in Greece’s second-biggest water utility EYATH in Thessaloniki, officials said yesterday. French Suez Environnement with Greek construction firm Hellaktor, Spanish FCC’s Aqualia joined by Greece’s third-largest constructor GEK Terna and French utility group Veolia with Greek Marfin Investment Group were interested in the sale, said the officials, who declined to be named. Greece is seeking a strategic investor for EYATH as part of plans to raise 1 billion euros from state asset sales this year to reduce high public debt. (Reuters) Cypriot tourism Cyprus’s revenues from tourism for the first half of 2009 fell 15.8 percent compared to a year earlier, while the number of holidaymakers arriving on the island dropped 10.8 percent, statistics showed yesterday. Tourism earnings from January to June came to 565.8 million euros compared to 671.9 million euros in the same period of 2008, the passenger survey conducted by Cyprus’s statistics department showed. (Reuters) Bulgaria finance Simeon Djankov, who yesterday became Bulgaria’s new finance minister, said Sofia would cut billions in spending to reach a balanced budget this year and avoid financial risks arising from the global crisis. Djankov, 39, who worked for the World Bank for over 13 years, reiterated that Bulgaria’s new government would ask the International Monetary Fund to audit its budget revision but would not seek aid for now. (Reuters) Romania-IMF Romania will ask the International Monetary Fund to raise the government budget deficit target to around 5-5.5 percent of gross domestic product this year from 4.6 percent, a senior official said yesterday. Since it secured 20 billion euros in IMF-led foreign aid to shield Romania’s fragile economy in the wake of a global cash squeeze, the ruling center-left coalition has stayed on course with budget plans as agreed. (Reuters)