In Brief

Cyprus and Lebanon to boost tourism ties NICOSIA (Reuters) – Neighbors Cyprus and Lebanon said yesterday they would attempt to boost tourism ties and that scrapping visas could be an option. Tourism is a key money earner for the east Mediterranean island and represents almost 12 percent of its gross domestic product. «We feel that there is very little exchange of tourism between Lebanon and Cyprus,» said Mohammad Safadi, Lebanon’s economy and trade minister. Lebanon is barely 200 kilometers (129 miles) away from Cyprus, with a flight time of about 30 minutes. «The question of facilitating tourism is one of the main issues… out of experience, any two countries which have abolished visas between themselves saw definite growth in tourism, and a very strong one in a very short time,» Safadi told journalists in Nicosia. In 2009, Cyprus received 2.1 million visitors. Only 15,431 were from Lebanon, while Lebanon ranked in the top six destinations for Cypriot tourists, with 19,755 visiting the country last year. Port Authority could team up with TRAINOSE Thessaloniki Port Authority SA, operator of Greece’s second-biggest port, may cooperate with TRAINOSE, a unit of Hellenic Railways Organization SA, to build a logistics center, the authority said. The northern Greek port also wants to strengthen its status as a cruise ship destination and plans to upgrade passenger terminal facilities, the authority said on its website. Port representatives will visit Bulgaria and Serbia next month to highlight reduced tariffs for cargoes arriving in Thessaloniki that are destined for neighboring countries, said the authority. (Bloomberg) Russian oligarch Dmitriy Rybolovlev is the primary beneficiary of an offshore fund that took a large stake in Bank of Cyprus this week, the bank said yesterday. Bank of Cyprus said in a stock exchange filing that the fund, Odella Resources, belonged to a discretionary trust of which the Russian oligarch and his two daughters were the primary beneficiaries. Odella, registered in the British Virgin Islands, bought 7.57 percent of the bank this week, taking its stake to 9.7 percent. The majority of the shares were sold by the bank’s employee provident fund on Tuesday. Rybolovlev is Russia’s 10th richest man. Bank of Cyprus, the island’s largest bank, also operates in Greece and has an expanding presence in Russia, where it bought a bank two years ago. (Reuters) Bond sale Ireland auctioned 400 million euros ($533 million) of bills, less than the maximum sought by the debt agency, as concern mounted that growth in the region is slowing, making it harder for governments to cut their deficits. The Dublin-based National Treasury Management Agency sold 300 million euros of securities due February 14, 2011, at an average yield of 1.907 percent, compared with 1.925 percent at a September 9 sale. The debt agency also sold 100 million euros of bills maturing April 18, 2011, at an average yield of 2.23 percent, up from 2.19 percent at the previous sale. Ireland sold less than the 500-million-euro maximum set for the sale. Borrowing costs for the most indebted euro-region nations jumped today after European manufacturing growth slowed more than economists forecast, raising concern the nations may struggle to trim their budget gaps as the economic expansion slows. Ireland’s economy shrank 1.2 percent in the second quarter, a report showed yesterday. (Bloomberg) Businessman fined Greece’s securities regulator fined Icelandic businessman Bjorgolfur Thor Bjorgolfsson 20,000 euros for not informing the regulator promptly of changes in his voting rights in companies listed on the Athens exchange. The regulator also fined Novator Cayman Ltd and Novator One Ltd Partnership 12,000 euros each for the same infringement, according to an e-mailed statement from the Athens-based Hellenic Capital Markets Commission. (Bloomberg)

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