ECONOMY

In Brief

Albania to open stock exchange in two years TIRANA (Reuters) – Albania’s new economy minister said yesterday that he wanted to open a stock exchange within the next two years, breathing life into a project his predecessors have talked about for more than a decade. «We want to use the stock exchange for the privatizations [of remaining state-owned assets] and to attract capital and investments to our companies,» Dritan Prifti said. «There is no reason why all the instruments traded on other exchanges shouldn’t be traded there but, of course, derivatives and futures will come at a later stage,» he said. Prime Minister Sali Berisha launched a bourse in May 1996 but it did not trade any stocks, despite government pledges to sell shares of state-owned companies. «It is so quiet, you can hear a share drop,» one foreign journalist said of the Tirana bourse at the time. Prifti listed as the major tasks ahead the education of Albanian investors, the careful licensing of brokers and an awareness campaign to make sure efforts do not backfire. Terna plans for Balkans, Asia, South America Terna Energy SA, a Greek alternative energy producer, plans to expand into markets in the Balkans, Asia and South America, according to a company presentation posted on the Athens Exchange’s website by GEK Terna, the Greek builder. GEK Terna plans to have a quarter of construction sales coming from outside Greece in the next three years, according to the presentation. (Bloomberg) Ellaktor prospects Ellaktor SA, Greece’s biggest builder, said prospects for new contracts in Greece, Southeast Europe and the Middle East were favorable in the near future. The company said it is «well-positioned» to target additional contracts of some 7.4 billion euros in Greece in the period up to 2013. The company made the statement in a posting on the Athens Exchange’s website. (Bloomberg) Piraeus insurance ERGO Versicherungsgruppe AG and Piraeus Bank SA will work more closely together at selling insurance products in Greece. The exclusive cooperation will have a duration of at least 10 years, ERGO said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. (Bloomberg) Cypriot growth Cyprus expects to see a rebound in growth in mid-2010, its finance minister said yesterday, and said it saw no reason to rein in fiscal stimulus while growth was slow and deficit levels remained in check. The eurozone member lagged considerably behind its peers in taking the full brunt of the global downturn, and technically fell into a recession in the second quarter of 2009. Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis said that, historically, the island nation had a six-to-nine-month time lag in picking up broader economic trends. «We are confident there will be a net positive impact from abroad on the Cypriot economy, six to nine months from now,» he told Reuters on the sidelines of a Commonwealth Finance Ministers conference on the island. «We should be optimistic that by mid 2010 we will see the positives of the global upturn in Cyprus as well,» he said. (Reuters)