ECONOMY

In Brief

Qatar and Cyprus sign leisure complex deal NICOSIA (Reuters) – Qatar has signed a deal with Cyprus to develop a hotel, office and residential complex in the capital Nicosia, targeting rising numbers of visitors to the eastern Mediterranean island. Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company and the Cypriot government agreed to set up a joint venture for the development of a leisure complex, with the initial investment exceeding $150 million, officials said. Mohammed bin Ali Al Hedfa, chief executive officer of Qatari Diar, owned by the Gulf state, said the first phase will be a five-star hotel, while the second phase will be apartments and offices. The contribution in capital from each partner in the venture was still under negotiation, Al Hedfa said. Each side will hold 50 percent. The area allocated for the complex is close to the commercial hub of the capital and is expected to cover 50,000 square meters, Cypriot officials said. Romania to sell stakes in energy companies BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romania plans to sell minority stakes in top oil firm Petrom, utilities Transelectrica and Transgaz and gas producer Romgaz beginning in 2010, the country’s Economy Minister Adriean Videanu said. «Money from the sale of these stakes will be used solely on investment in infrastructure,» said Videanu, adding that other state-owned firms would be part of the program. «The sum we will get will be very large.» Videanu said the ministry could sell its stakes either via the bourse, domestically and internationally, or through open bidding. The Romanian government could start to cash in within nine months. The government, which owns about 21 percent of leading oil firm Petrom, controlled by Austria’s OMV, will retain more than 8 percent in the company, he said. Upgrade? Moody’s said yesterday a ratings upgrade for the Bulgarian government was possible in the next year to 18 months, even though Sofia recently announced its 2009 fiscal gap was bigger than expected due to a hidden deficit. A ratings upgrade, however, was conditional upon fiscal consolidation to stabilize the government’s debt burden, as well as the re-emergence of sustainable economic growth, the credit rating agency said in a statement. Bulgaria’s rating is currently Baa3 with a positive outlook. (Reuters) JAT Airways split The Serbian government will form a new flag carrier, splitting its indebted JAT Airways into a profitable airline and a loss-making part, said Miodrag Miljkovic, state secretary at the western Balkan country’s Infrastructure Ministry. «The new company will take over assets, part of the work force and destinations,» Miljkovic said on Tuesday by phone. Under a plan adopted by the government last week, the other part will take over debts that in 2009 amounted to as much as 16.5 million euros ($22.3 million), he said. «The deal is tailored to allow Serbia to seek a strategic partner for JAT in an easier way,» Miljkovic said. The plan stipulates that Serbia will launch the new company with a minimum investment of 400,000 euros, while the strategic partner will have an obligation to recapitalize it. (Bloomberg)