ECONOMY

In Brief

Ellaktor teams up with Vinci for airport bid Greece’s biggest construction group Ellaktor will team up with French peer Vinci to bid for a major airport project on Crete, Ellaktor said yesterday. A senior Greek Infrastructure Ministry official told Reuters last month the government planned to relaunch by the middle of next year a tender to build a 1-billion-euro ($1.5 billion) airport in Kasteli. Ellaktor and Vinci have cooperated on other projects in the past. In May, they were declared lowest bidders for a 2-billion-euro highway project in Romania. Funds of about 7.5 billion euros, mainly from the European Union, are expected to pour into Greek infrastructure projects, including road concessions and airports, by 2014. Construction accounts for 11 percent of Greece’s GDP and new building projects are seen boosting Greece’s debt-stricken economy. (Reuters) Turkish banks upgraded on market potential Turkish banks were upgraded to «overweight» from «neutral» at Credit Suisse Group AG, which said the market is «relatively under-penetrated» and cited growth opportunities in mortgages. «In our view Turkish banks offer a structural growth opportunity – fully funded by deposits – into a relatively under-penetrated banking market with recovering macro and at attractive valuations,» Alexander Redman, an analyst at Credit Suisse in London, wrote in an e-mailed report yesterday. Turkish banks’ profits are accelerating after the central bank slashed interest rates to a record low, boosting demand for loans and profits from the bonds banks hold. (Bloomberg) Deficit narrows Bulgaria’s trade deficit narrowed in October from a year earlier as the recession curbed demand for imported goods. The gap shrank to 659 million lev ($494 million) from a 2.1-billion-lev shortfall the same period a year earlier, the statistics office in Sofia said on its website yesterday. The September deficit was 647 million lev. Bulgaria’s trade gap is narrowing from 2008, when the full-year shortfall was a record 19.7 billion as foreign investment and lending boosted imports. The European Union’s poorest country is going through its first recession in 12 years, curbing demand for consumer goods and production equipment. (Bloomberg) Mall in Montenegro Mercator Poslovni Sistem d.d., Southeast Europe’s largest supermarket chain, opened its biggest shopping center in the Montenegrin capital Podgorica to strengthen its foothold in the Balkan nation’s retail market. The new mall covers an area of 4,400 square meters (47,360 square feet) in an investment worth 5 million euros ($7.3 million), the Ljubljana, Slovenia-based company said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The Slovenian company entered the Montenegrin retail market in 2007 through its Mercator-Mex d.o.o. unit and has a 4 percent market share, according to its website. Mercator plans to open two additional shopping malls in Serbia, its biggest market for revenue outside Slovenia, and one in Albania by the end of the year, according to the statement. (Bloomberg)