ECONOMY

In Brief

Fitch: Risk of eurozone breakup low in short term NEW YORK (Reuters) – Although the sovereign debt crisis has revealed weaknesses, the risk of a eurozone breakup is low over the shorter term, Fitch Ratings said yesterday. The policy responses to the crisis «make the risk of a breakup of the eurozone even more remote,» over the near to medium term, Fitch analysts said in a report, «Sovereign Credit Crisis – Crisis of Confidence in the Eurozone.» The responses included the 500-billion-euro European Stabilization Mechanism, the European Central Bank commitment to purchase sovereign debt in markets that are «dysfunctional,» and accelerated reduction of budget deficits by some member states, Fitch said. The high legal, financial and economic obstacles as well as the high costs associated with any breakup also make the scenario highly unlikely, Fitch said. Novo Nordisk pullout not the right step, says GSK LONDON (Reuters) – The head of GlaxoSmithKline criticized Danish company Novo Nordisk yesterday for its recent decision to pull some insulin drugs off the Greek market after Athens slashed prices. «That kind of action isn’t necessarily helpful to the debate that is going on at the moment,» Andrew Witty, GSK’s chief executive, told reporters at the annual meeting of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). «We’ve got to find ways to stay at the table and be constructive. Walking away from the table isn’t, I think, necessarily the right step.» Witty, who is also president of EFPIA, said his comments were made in a personal capacity and not as president of the pan-European pharmaceutical organization. Novo Nordisk and privately held Danish drugmaker LEO Pharma last month rejected a Greek government decision to cut some drug prices by 25 percent, leading to fears of medicine shortages in the country. Since then, however, the world’s biggest maker of insulin has reached an agreement with Athens and Novo said last week it would continue to supply Greece after the country set new prices that amount to a reduction of around 10 percent. Impact ‘muted.’ The impact of Greece’s debt crisis on Eastern Europe has remained «muted,» and the region’s most solid economies will avoid contagion, Societe Generale SA said. East European credit default swaps show little correlation with Greece, Societe Generale analysts Esther Law and Sandrine Ungari wrote in an e-mailed note yesterday. Portugal, Spain and Italy have the highest correlation and the figure for Ukraine, Estonia and Lithuania is negative, they wrote. There has been «a muted impact on Central and Eastern Europe from sovereign risk so far,» they wrote, recommending that investors «stay in countries where fundamentals are good and vulnerability to the external environment is low, such as the Czech Republic» in Eastern Europe «and Israel, South Africa and Turkey,» in other emerging markets. (Bloomberg) National’s offer National Bank of Greece SA will offer to buy the remaining shares of Turkish leasing company Finans Finansal Kiralama AS. NBG will make the offer to buy at 2.6 liras per shares, meeting a demand from the market regulator, according to a filing with the Istanbul Stock Exchange yesterday. Finans Finansal fell 2 kurus, or 0.7 percent, to 2.86 liras at 5.30 p.m. The filing was made after the market closed. The company, acquired during NBG’s purchase of Turkish bank Finansbank AS in 2006, is worth 328.9 million liras ($212 million) and Finansbank and unit Finans Yatirim Menkul own about 60 percent of Finans Finansal, according to Bloomberg data. (Bloomberg) Phone discount Mobile phone company Cosmote will offer unemployed and retired customers a 15 percent discount on its monthly tariff fees, it said yesterday. The offer is applicable until the end of July to those registered with Manpower Organization (OAED) and pensioners over the age of 65.