ECONOMY

In Brief

PPC misses out on Montenegro tender PODGORICA (Reuters) – Montenegro yesterday accepted an offer from Italian utility A2A for a minority stake in power monopoly EPCG, Deputy Prime Minister Vujica Lazovic said, beating a rival, higher offer by Greece’s Public Power Corporation. The PPC offer was deemed «incompatible» with the rules of the tender, a day after the company, bidding with GoldenEnergy One Holdings, a unit of the Greek shipping group Restis, said it had no conditions attached to its offer. Lazovic, however, would not specify the grounds for the rejection of PPC, which had offered 11.10 euros per share for an 18.3 percent stake in EPCG, or roughly 127 million euros, against the 8.40 euros per share bid by A2A. PPC will have eight days to lodge an appeal before the Privatization Council confirms the decision, he added, speaking after a three-hour government session, which followed the meeting of the tender commission. NSS launches indices for services sector Greece’s National Statistical Service (NSS) yesterday released new indices tracking turnover in the services sector on a quarterly basis, providing more detailed coverage of the country’s services-oriented economy. Using 2005 as a base year, the new indices measure the course of sales in services, including telecommunications, information technology, data processing, law, accounting, advertising, architecture, management consulting, market research and security. Based on the data provided, publishing, management consulting, office support and advertising appeared to be faring worst in the first quarter based on sales, feeling the impact of the economic downturn. (Reuters) Bulgaria plant Bulgaria’s new center-right government must find private investors for its majority stake in the planned Belene nuclear power plant or abandon the project, parliamentarians said yesterday. The government of the center-right GERB party, which won a general election earlier this month, has said it will review major energy projects, including Bulgaria’s participation in gas and oil pipeline projects, in the coming months. The cabinet has said it cannot afford to take out loans at a time of tight global liquidity and recession to fund its 51 percent stake in the 2,000-megawatt Belene project. (Reuters) Romania deficit Romania will ask the International Monetary Fund to allow it to run a higher budget deficit of up to 7 percent of gross domestic product this year, hoping to follow Hungary in securing easier terms for an aid package. A senior government official close to talks with the IMF, which started on Wednesday, told Reuters flexibility from the lender was needed because of dwindling state revenues as the Romanian economy plunges deeper into recession. (Reuters) Turkey contraction Turkey’s economy may shrink by more than 5 percent this year, steeper than the current forecast for 3.6 percent contraction, as the global economic crisis bites, Turkish government sources told Reuters yesterday. The sources also said the country’s budget deficit, currently expected to grow to 48.3 billion Turkish lira ($32.50 billion) by year-end, is expected to balloon to 55 billion lira. (Reuters)