ECONOMY

In Brief

Bulgarian bourse to sell shares, seek investor The Bulgarian Stock Exchange plans to issue shares by year’s end to boost investors’ interest. The Sofia-based bourse will decide at an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting in September to raise the government’s stake to 50 percent plus one share from 44 percent now and to sell the rest, Assen Yagodin, chairman of the board, told reporters in Sofia yesterday. The move will enable the government to seek a strategic investor, he said. A prospectus for the share sale will be submitted to the Financial Supervision Commission within two months after the meeting, Yagodin said. Since 2008, the exchange has traded on Deutsche Borse’s platform known as Xetra, under a contract that expires in 2012. Bulgaria has discussed possibilities to sell the government’s stake in the exchange in the past decade with Sweden’s OMX AG and exchanges in Austria, Greece and Poland. (Bloomberg) Intralot gets first China deal, sees more in country Greek group Intralot, the world’s second-largest lottery systems provider, will provide gaming hardware and software to a lottery in China, its first deal in the country. Intralot said yesterday it will provide the Chinese lottery with its gaming systems along with 2,000 terminals allowing the lottery to set up, manage and broadcast multimedia content through its retail network of more than 2,500 points of sale. «Melcolot Limited, the Hong Kong-listed company in which Intralot is a substantial shareholder, has entered into an agreement with the China Welfare Lottery in the municipality of Chongqing,» Intralot said. «We are really pleased to undertake this important project in the People’s Republic of China,» Intralot Asia’s managing director Chris Moumouris said, adding Intralot was confident Chongqing would be the first of many projects the company could win in the country. The deal is for five years and can be extended by another five, Intralot said. (Reuters) Capital boost European banks may need to raise more than 85 billion euros ($109 billion) to bolster their capital after stress tests, according to Barclays Capital. Spanish savings banks may require 36 billion euros, German state-owned Landesbanks could need 34.5 billion euros, while the Greek banks may have to raise 8.6 billion euros, according to analysts led by Jeffrey Meli in New York. Portuguese lenders may require 5.9 billion euros, they estimate. «We view the upcoming release of the European banks stress tests as a potentially important inflexion point for the market,» the analysts wrote in the report. «They may ease concerns by ensuring that the sovereign crisis and a likely slowdown in European growth will not result in widespread bank failures.» (Bloomberg) Green light The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) approved Alexandria Cement’s 2.45-billion-Egyptian pound ($430 million) rights issue yesterday, the final green light needed to raise capital. The company said in June the one-month rights offer, which closed on June 20, was 99.43 percent subscribed but that it needed the EFSA’s consent to sell the remaining shares. The rights issue was designed to pave the way for the company’s main shareholder, Greek cement maker Titan, to sell a 16 percent stake to the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for 80 million euros ($102 million). (Reuters) Deficit narrows Bulgaria’s current account deficit narrowed to 2 percent of annual gross domestic product in the first five months of 2010 from 7 percent in the same period a year ago due to weak domestic demand, data showed yesterday. (Reuters) Slovakian approval The Slovak government approved yesterday signing the eurozone’s emergency loan facility, designed to provide financial support to countries in trouble, a spokesman said, clearing a hurdle of the fund’s activation. The euro area’s poorest member, led by the center-right cabinet of Prime Minister Iveta Radicova, had been holding up the special purpose vehicle, called the European Financial Stability Facility. The spokesman said the cabinet also recommended that parliament not support providing a bilateral loan to Greece, part of a separate European bailout plan for the country. (Reuters)