ECONOMY

In Brief

Serbia’s NIS to invest 500 million euros BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbian oil monopoly NIS, majority-held by Russia’s Gazprom Neft, will invest more than the originally planned 500 million euros to prepare for a deregulated market in 2011, its CEO said yesterday. In January, Gazprom Neft paid 400 million euros for a majority stake in NIS, as part of an energy pact between Serbia and Russia, and pledged to invest 500 million euros to turn the Serbian company into a regional leader. «Now it is obvious that pledged investment of 500 million euros is not going to be enough to make NIS the leading company in the Balkans,» NIS Chief Executive Kiril Kravchenko said. He could not say how much more needed to be invested, before the managing board adopts the strategy later this year. NIS has held a monopoly in oil derivatives processing since 1999, when its two refineries were heavily damaged in NATO bombing. The monopoly, approved by the government to give NIS time to recover and become competitive, expires in January 2011. Bulgarian index may rise 50 percent more Bulgaria’s stock index, the best performer worldwide this month, may surge another 50 percent by year-end as signs of economic recovery in Europe lure foreign investors back, according to KBC Securities. Bulgaria’s Sofix Index has advanced 28 percent since July 31, with only one daily loss, as the new government of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov spurred confidence with pledges of a budget surplus and tackling corruption. Stock valuations are lower in Bulgaria compared with most other emerging markets after the Sofix plunged 80 percent last year, the worst performer among 89 benchmark share indexes tracked by Bloomberg. «Institutions specializing in frontier markets like Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia have been out of the market for quite some time, and we expect them to come back,» Svetoslav Tassev, an equity research analyst at KBC in Sofia, said in a telephone interview. (Bloomberg) Turk Telekom Turk Telekomunikasyon AS, Turkey’s biggest fixed-line phone operator, will probably cut its sales forecast for this year after the economy shrank and the company lost customers to rivals, CEO Paul Doany said in an interview. «Our consolidated revenue growth target of 8 percent is a little bit stretched and it will be a little bit less than that,» Doany said in the resort city of Antalya. «We will revise our numbers maybe in the third quarter.» Turk Telekom is aiming to increase sales while the economy is expected to contract by at least 5 percent this year, according to International Monetary Fund estimates. The company is also facing increased competition from Vodafone Plc and Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS. (Bloomberg) Romania contraction Romania’s economic contraction deepened last quarter after shrinking export markets forced businesses to cut jobs and left consumers reluctant to spend. The economy contracted an annual 8.8 percent in the second quarter after shrinking 6.2 percent in the three months ended March, the National Statistics Institute said. (Bloomberg)