ECONOMY

In Brief

Government to seek Attica ring road tender in 2010 Greece will publish by the end of the year a new call for tenders for a 1.8-billion-euro project to extend a toll ring road around Athens, a government minister said yesterday. The new Socialist government has canceled an invitation for bids published last year by its conservative predecessor and will re-examine the project from scratch, Infrastructure Minister Dimitris Reppas said. «We will redesign the project,» Reppas told Reuters without giving further details. The government will also publish about halfway through the year another tender proposal for a new, 1-billion-euro airport in Kastelli, Crete, Reppas said. Concession contracts, such as the Athens ring road, have financed many infrastructure projects in Greece, where the government is faced with chronic budget shortfalls and a high public debt. (Reuters) Kosovo picks Enka and Bechtel for highway project ANKARA/PRISTINA (Reuters) – Turkish builder and power company Enka Insaat said yesterday that it and US engineer Bechtel had been named preferred bidders by Kosovo for a 103-kilometer highway project. Kosovo officials have said the highway may cost around 800 million euros. The project would be the largest public investment in the landlocked Balkan country since its 1998-99 war. The road linking Kosovo with Albania is seen as an important project for giving Kosovo access to the Adriatic Sea via Durres. «The Kosovo government told us that they picked us as the preferred bidder, but contract negotiations are yet to be concluded. We are still at the tender process,» an Enka official, who declined to be named, told Reuters. The Enka Insaat official did not provide any figure for the cost of the project, saying it would be finalized in talks. Albania eurobond Albania plans to have its first ever eurobond out by April, a month earlier than originally planned, the head of its government debt issuing department said yesterday. «We plan to issue [a 300-million-euro-denominated bond] sometime in April,» Xhentil Demiraj, general director of debt management at Albania’s Finance Ministry, told Reuters. He added that Albania was already mulling plans for another eurobond next year. «We don’t think [another eurobond] is likely this year but, yes, next year possibly. [The issue amount] would be lower, maybe 150-200 million [euros].» A dollar bond could also be considered if the price was right, Demiraj said. «We may entertain the idea, it’s possible. In the name of diversification, it might be good and also for the right price. If they offer a very good yield, we’ll do it.» (Reuters) Croatia shipyards The long-delayed sale of ailing state shipyards has become a key obstacle to Croatia’s European Union accession talks, which Zagreb aims to complete this year, EU diplomats said yesterday. Brussels wants the former Yugoslav republic to sell the indebted shipyards and cut high state subsidies, reform its inefficient judiciary and step up the fight against corruption before joining the bloc, which could happen in 2012. (Reuters)