ECONOMY

In Brief

Hygeia to invest more in Turkish hospital holdings Greek healthcare group Hygeia said yesterday it will up its stake in three Turkish hospitals to 100 percent, from 50 percent currently, for US$8 million (5.7 million euros), bringing an end to its local partnership with the Safak Group. Hygeia, which is also present in Albania and Cyprus, will purchase the additional stakes in the hospitals, located in Istanbul, from the Ozturk family. The deal, which means that Hygeia will go it alone in the neighboring market, also involves the Greek company transferring its 50 percent holding in a fourth hospital, Avrupa Safak, to the Ozturk family. «The transaction aims to rationalize Hygeia’s healthcare operations in Turkey, focus on specialized and profitable activities and position the group favorably to benefit from Turkey’s substantial growth potential in the healthcare services market,» Hygeia said in a bourse filing. Shares in Hygeia, majority-owned by Marfin Investment Group, ended unchanged at 0.80 euros on the Athens bourse yesterday versus a 0.39 percent dip on the broader market. Serbia seeking 1.4 bln euros for stake in telecom Serbia is seeking at least 1.4 billion euros ($1.94 billion) for its stake in Telekom Srbija AD as European phone companies prepare to bid, said three people with knowledge of the matter. Invitations to tender may be sent as early as this week, according to the sources, who declined to be named before the process is public. Telekom Austria AG, Deutsche Telekom AG and France Telecom SA may be interested, sources said. Serbia is selling a 50 percent stake plus one share of the equity. Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic last month said the stake could be worth 1.6 billion euros and that interest was strong among «many European and non-European operators.» The sale of the state phone company may be completed by the first quarter of 2011 in what would be the largest Serbian government asset sale on record, Djelic said on September 17. Telekom Srbija is 20 percent-owned by Greece’s Hellenic Telecommunications Organization SA, which itself is 30 percent-owned by Bonn-based Deutsche Telekom, according to its website. «We are keen to analyze opportunities that arise in our region,» Telekom Austria spokeswoman Ursula Novotny said in an e-mail. «Any potential decision to invest will be based on a solid commercial evaluation of the target and the tender documents.» Deutsche Telekom spokesman Andreas Fuchs declined to comment, as did France Telecom spokesman Tom Wright. Serbia, which wants to become a European Union candidate next year, is struggling to attract foreign direct investment, which Djelic said was 800 million euros in the first half, almost double what the National Bank of Serbia had in its balance of payments report. (Bloomberg) Cypriot inflation Higher utility and food bills pushed Cyprus’s EU-harmonized inflation up to 3.6 percent year on year in September from 3.4 percent in August. Utility bills such as electricity and water were up 10.5 percent on an annual basis last month, and food costs gained 7.0 percent compared with September 2009. The harmonized index of consumer prices (HICP) rose to 113.55 points last month compared with 112.42 points in August. The island had a negative rate of HICP inflation in September 2009 of 1.2 percent. (Reuters) Romanian reforms German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday urged Romania to push ahead with judiciary reforms and promised to help Bucharest make better use of European funds. «The reforms of the judiciary and of interior affairs are being tackled very courageously but you are still a long way from the end of the road,» Merkel said during a press conference with Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc. «Transparency in this field is very important to German investors,» she stressed later, after a meeting with Romania President Traian Basescu. (AFP)