ECONOMY

In Brief

Bulgaria speeds up efforts to join eurozone SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria’s new center-right government has accelerated efforts to join the eurozone and aims to adopt the single currency by 2013 during its mandate, Finance Minister Simeon Djankov said yesterday. «My key goal for the whole mandate is eurozone entry,» Djankov, who is also deputy prime minister, told a news conference. «I firmly believe and I am optimistic that this will happen in this mandate.» Djankov said he had launched informal talks about joining the pre-euro ERM-2 waiting room. The cabinet of the GERB party, which won July general elections, is working to apply for ERM-2 entry in November, he said. High inflation and a current account deficit of over 20 percent of GDP in the past several years have hindered the Balkan country’s efforts to join the ERM-2 mechanism so far. Rampant corruption and organized crime, which the previous Socialist-led government failed to tackle, were also among the reasons for keeping the EU’s poorest nation away from the euro, EU diplomats have said. Romania plans to list two major energy firms BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romania plans to list stakes worth 15-20 percent each in the two major energy companies it wants to create as part of an energy sector overhaul, Deputy Economy Minister Tudor Serban said yesterday. The reform envisages integrating largely inefficient assets into two holdings which should become fully operational by the second half of 2010. The ministry plans to prepare a law setting up the holdings by October. Officials say the overhaul, which critics say lacks transparency and credible details, should help lower energy costs and raise competitiveness with regional power giants. «We intend to list stakes, but we won’t list more than 15-20 percent,» Serban told an energy seminar. He did not offer a potential timing for the listings. Serban said the potential listings also involve Fondul Proprietatea, a state-owned investment fund set up to compensate Romanians whose properties were seized under communism. With assets worth roughly 3.5 billion euros and bourse listing plans for 2010, Fondul Proprietatea holds 5-20 percent stakes in most state-owned assets, including energy firms. Rail deal Hyundai Rotem Co, the train-making unit of Hyundai Motor Co, and Hanwha Corp won a 160-million-euro ($235 million) order from Greece to provide rail cars. Rotem will provide 102 electric rail cars to Attiko Metro SA of Greece by 2011, the South Korean companies said in a joint e-mailed statement. (Bloomberg) Minister ‘healthy.’ Cyprus Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis was discharged from Nicosia’s general hospital yesterday morning and his health is sound, a ministry spokesman said. Stavrakis checked into the cardiac unit with no worrying signs on Tuesday night, Stockwatch reported yesterday, citing the head of the hospital. The minister wasn’t admitted for any specific condition and the results of standard tests were satisfactory, the spokesman said. (Bloomberg)