ECONOMY

In Brief

Gov’t will auction T-bills in January, says PDMA head Greece will auction treasury bills in January, its first sortie into capital markets this year, as part of a 53- to 54-billion-euro ($76-78 billion) borrowing plan, the head of the country’s Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA) said on Tuesday. Greece’s credit standing suffered three downgrades by rating agencies last month on concerns over its soaring budget deficit and worsening debt dynamics. The country borrowed more than 66 billion euros last year. «There will be T-bill auctions in January, most likely next week,» PDMA Chief Spyros Papanicolaou told Reuters in a telephone interview. He did not say how much Greece would try to raise but a total of about 4.27 billion euros of 13-, 26- and 52-week T-bills mature later this month. Greece’s public debt is seen as rising to 120.8 percent of gross domestic product, or 294.9 billion euros, this year from 113.4 percent in 2009, based on budget projections, meaning that the country is headed toward becoming the eurozone’s most indebted economy. Citing fiscal health concerns, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s cut Greece’s rating to BBB+ and Moody’s to A2 from A1. «The rating downgrades by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch were excessive, Moody’s rating is a more fair reflection of Greece’s situation,» Papanicolaou said. (Reuters) Hochtief, Ellaktor team up for Bulgarian construction project Hochtief AG and Ellaktor SA, Germany’s and Greece’s largest construction firms, have teamed up to compete with eight other bidders to construct a $170 million waste treatment plant near the Bulgarian capital Sofia. The Sofia City Council received nine bids for the project and will announce the winner in May, Sofia Deputy Mayor Maria Boyadjiiska said in phone interview on Tuesday. The plant, which will help the city of 2 million deal with a longstanding shortage of waste storage space, should be completed in 2012, she said. The European Union and the Bulgarian government will co-finance the project. Other bidders include Austrian firm Alpine Bay and Holding Roads Co of Bulgaria, and a group including Poland’s Mostostal Warszawa SA, Bulgaria’s Risk Engineering AD and Energoremont AD. (Bloomberg) Fast-food tax Recession-hit Romania plans to introduce a tax on fast-food products to boost budget revenues, Health Minister Attila Cseke said on Tuesday. If enforced, the tax could hit the revenues of global fast-food chains with a big presence in Romania, such as McDonald’s or Kentucky Fried Chicken, as well as those of smaller chains in shopping malls across the country. «The new tax will account for a percentage of fast-food products sales, and the revenues that we will collect will be used to supplement funds needed to run health programs and invest in system infrastructure,» Cseke said. (Reuters) Oil deal Romania’s top oil group Petrom has bought Korned LLP, a firm that owns an exploration license for an oil field neighboring one of Petrom’s in Kazakhstan for an undisclosed price, the firm said yesterday. Petrom, which is 51 percent-owned by Austria’s OMV, entered Kazakhstan in 1998, and owns exploration and production licenses for five oil fields. (Reuters)