ECONOMY

In Brief

EFG Eurobank not planning to raise funds via rights issue EFG Eurobank, Greece’s second-largest lender, is not planning to raise funds via a rights issue, the group’s deputy chief executive said yesterday. «There is no reason for a rights issue,» Nikos Karamouzis told reporters during a briefing. «This will be clear with one look at our [capital] ratios when we release results next month.» On Monday Alpha Bank was the latest Greek bank to opt for a cash call to recapitalize and pay back government funds under a liquidity support plan. Alpha will tap the market for 986 million euros ($1.47 billion) to retire 940 million euros worth of preferred shares it sold the government, raising talk in the market that others may follow. Like Eurobank, Piraeus Bank said on Monday that it is not considering a cash call as its capital adequacy is sound. «We did a rights issue two years ago and did not use the proceeds for buyouts,» Karamouzis said. «I don’t see why we should be singing the same tune [as other banks].» Eurobank earlier this year got a capital injection of 950 million euros via the sale of preferred shares. It raised another 300 million in July via a non-dilutive hybrid bond issue, with another hybrid planned in the near future. (Reuters) Cost of Wind Hellas credit default swap drops The cost of protecting Wind Hellas Telecommunications SA’s subordinated debt from default fell as the deadline neared for buyers to bid for the company’s assets. Credit-default swaps tied to junior bonds issued by the third-largest Greek wireless operator dropped 806 basis points to 10,775, according to CMA DataVision prices. That signals an improvement in perceptions of Wind Hellas’s credit quality the day before potential purchasers of its assets are due to make final and binding offers. Athens-based Wind Hellas is offloading assets as it seeks to restructure as much as 3 billion euros ($4.5 billion) of debt. Forthnet SA, Greece’s second-largest Web services provider, submitted a nonbinding offer this month, while the Naftemporiki newspaper reported October 20 that Blackstone Group LP, Apax Partners and TPG Inc also expressed interest. (Bloomberg) Deal approved Hellenic Petroleum SA’s acquisition of BP Plc’s Greek network was approved by the Greek Competition Commission, according to an e-mailed statement on Tuesday. Some conditions apply to operations on some islands including Crete, according to the statement. (Bloomberg) Gas energy Ankara is nearing a deal with Baku on gas transit through Turkey to Europe, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said, adding there had been much progress since Azerbaijan said it might explore alternative routes. Failure to agree terms for Azerbaijan’s gas to cross Turkey could pose problems supplying the planned Nabucco pipeline, backed by the European Union, which aims to reduce Europe’s reliance on gas imports from or via Russia. Yildiz also said in an interview with Reuters yesterday that Turkey supported a seventh partner in the Nabucco pipeline project and that France’s GDF Suez was a good candidate. Turkey had previously opposed French involvement. (Reuters)