ECONOMY

In Brief

Romania to sell stake in oil comany OMV Petrom Romania plans to sell a 9.8 percent stake in OMV Petrom SA, the country’s largest oil company, on the Bucharest exchange to raise investment funds and attract foreign capital, Economy Minister Adriean Videanu said. The state will sell less than an initially planned 11.8 percent because it wants to remain a «significant» shareholder with at least 10 percent, retaining the right to call a general shareholders’ meeting, Videanu said yesterday in Bucharest. The government owns 20.6 percent and Austria’s OMV AG 51 percent. «We aim to select a broker for the sale by mid-September and get the sale done by the end of this year,» he said. «One of our major goals is to attract foreign capital. We want to attract the major players on European markets.» The government aims to use part of the proceeds to take part in a planned sale of new shares by Petrom, Videanu said. (Bloomberg) Akbank misses targets on narrower margins Akbank TAS, the Turkish bank part-owned by Citigroup Inc, said second-quarter profits rose an annual 3.9 percent, less than analysts expected, as margins from lending narrowed and the bank made a loss from trading. Net income was 759.1 million liras ($507 million) compared with 730.3 million in the second quarter of last year, Akbank told the Istanbul Stock Exchange yesterday in a filing. The bank was expected to earn 877.6 million liras, according to the average estimate of nine analysts questioned by Bloomberg. Akbank had reported a profit of 967.8 million liras in the first quarter, an increase of 56 percent over a year ago. «Aggressive volume growth seems to have come with higher-than-expected margin compression,» Sevda Sarp, an analyst at Istanbul-based broker Ata Invest, said in an e-mailed comment to clients. Banks in Turkey are cutting interest rates on loans to compete for lending to consumers and businesses, as profit from trading in bonds declined after the central bank slashed the benchmark rate to a record low last year and then held it steady. Akbank holds more lira bonds than any other nongovernment bank. (Bloomberg) Spanish economy Spain’s economy took a further step out of recession by growing in the April-June period, the second consecutive quarter of expansion after nearly two years of recession, the Bank of Spain said yesterday. The central bank said gross domestic product was up 0.2 percent from the previous quarter. Gross domestic product rose by 0.1 percent from January to March. However, the economy remained 0.2 percent smaller than a year earlier. Spain is the slowest of the major European Union economies to emerge from recession and, prior to January, it had sustained six quarters of negative growth. The news came a day after the European Central Bank said economic growth in the eurozone is on course to be better than anticipated in both the second and third quarters, a further sign of optimism about the 16-nation bloc’s prospects. (AP) Serbian rates Serbia’s central bank unexpectedly raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time in 19 months on concern the weakening dinar will push inflation above policymakers’ 2010 inflation goal. The Belgrade-based National Bank of Serbia on Thursday increased the two-week repurchase rate to 8.5 percent from 8 percent. Five of 20 economists in a Bloomberg survey predicted a rise of as much as half a percentage point. Fifteen said the rate would remain unchanged for a sixth consecutive meeting. Central bankers weighed the effect of higher borrowing costs on the country’s struggle to emerge from its first recession since 1999 and a 9.3 percent plunge by the dinar against the euro this year, the third-worst performance among the more than 170 currencies tracked by Bloomberg. The «public debt crisis in some eurozone countries, leading to further weakening of the dinar,» may boost inflation, the central bank said in an e-mailed statement. Food costs may also increase after bad weather hurt production, it said. (Bloomberg)