ECONOMY

In Brief

Bulgarian gov’t sees 0.7 percent budgetary gap SOFIA (Reuters) – The Bulgarian government has penciled in a budget deficit of 0.7 percent of GDP next year but will aim for a zero gap in a bid to speed up eurozone entry and avoid a prolonged recession, a draft showed yesterday. The budget draft, obtained by Reuters, showed the new center-right government, which won July general elections, planned for a fiscal deficit of 465.7 million levs ($351.2 million), or 0.7 percent of GDP in 2010. It did however say that a reserve of 406 million levs was put aside in the budget and would be spent only if unforeseen needs occurred. «The government has to create conditions for economic recovery by maintaining a balanced budget as an important argument in our negotiations to join the ERM-2 and adopting the euro in the shortest term,» the draft reads. The poorest European Union nation has said it will apply to join the pre-euro ERM-2 waiting room next year and try to adopt the single currency by 2013. Axa to enter Romanian market by 2012 Axa SA, Europe’s largest insurer, is gaining market share this year in Central and Eastern European countries from Poland to Ukraine and will seek to enter the Romanian market by 2012. «The goal is to exit the crisis stronger,» Cyrille de Montgolfier, head of Axa’s operations in the region, said in an interview in Paris yesterday. «We haven’t reduced and we didn’t want to reduce investments» in the region, de Montgolfier said, declining to give the amount of annual investments. Axa gained a foothold in Eastern and Central Europe in 2006 as it bought Credit Suisse Group’s Winterthur unit for 7.9 billion euros ($11.6 billion). (Bloomberg) Turk expansion Agaoglu Group, a Turkish construction and energy company, said it bought Italian-Dutch wind-farm operator Galata Wind for $500 million, as it seeks to secure a larger slice of the growing renewable energy market. The purchase of Galata increases Agaoglu Group’s five-year investment plan for energy to $2 billion, Chairman Ali Agaoglu said yesterday in an interview in Istanbul. Galata, a Turkey-based unit of Italian-Dutch energy producer Relight, has three wind farms with total capacity of 203 megawatts, he said. Agaoglu predicts energy investments will start picking up again from next year as Turkey’s economy is set to return to growth in 2010 after an estimated 6 percent contraction this year. Agaoglu may consider additional purchases to grow in Turkey’s energy industry, he said. «Our aim is to reach 1,000 megawatts of power capacity and become one of the top 10 players in the sector by 2015,» Agaoglu said. «We have reached 620 megawatts now with the purchase of Galata.» (Bloomberg) Buyouts delayed Turk Telekomunikasyon AS, the Turkish phone company owned by Saudi Oger Ltd, said it’s shelving plans to expand via acquisitions due to current economic conditions. Turk Telekom will grow in Turkey and abroad via investments in its own units, the company said in a filing with the Istanbul Stock Exchange yesterday. (Bloomberg)