ECONOMY

In Brief

Eurobank puts up Greek bonds to tap markets Eurobank EFG has borrowed 300 million euros using Greek government bonds as collateral, an indicator the debt-laden country’s banks may be able to return to international capital markets. Yesterday’s move made Eurobank the first Greek lender to tap the interbank market since they were shut out of wholesale funding for most of the year after their bond portfolios took a hit from credit rating downgrades, forcing them to rely on the European Central Bank. Eurobank said yesterday it borrowed the funds last week from a foreign investment bank it did not name. Adding 500 million euros raised with foreign bonds as collateral, Eurobank has recently raised 800 million euros on the interbank market, the company said. But stock investors remained unimpressed yesterday, with Eurobank’s stock declining by 1.26 percent. «The news is not important enough to boost Eurobank’s share price, it rather reflects improving sentiment for Greek bonds,» Panagiotis Kladis, an analyst with National Securities, said. (Reuters) Serbia in talks over 15-year Eurobond issue BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia is eyeing a 200-million-euro Eurobond issue and is in talks with major insurance companies about it, Slobodan Ilic, the state secretary in the Finance Ministry, said. Ilic suggested that the interest rate for Serbia’s 15-year Eurobond will be 5.9 percent but failed to say what the money will be used for. «We are currently in talks with major insurance companies about it,» he said. The announcement about Serbia’s debut Eurobond came after two neighboring countries, Montenegro and Croatia, successfully sold their Eurobonds earlier this year. Montenegro sold an entire tranche of its Eurobonds worth 200 million euros last month, and Croatia in July sold $1.25 billion in 10-year bonds. Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) have delayed plans to issue euro-denominated bonds this year as the Greek debt crisis weakened market demand. Last month, Serbia said it was considering whether to issue World Bank-backed Eurobonds to secure 312.2 million euros for its 2010 budget. Floating LNG hub Croatia’s state-owned gas pipeline operator Plinacro plans to install a floating terminal for liquefied natural gas as a temporary replacement for the much bigger but delayed Adria LNG project, Plinacro said yesterday. «We are now waiting for formal approval from the government to kick off preparations for such a terminal,» Plinacro spokeswoman Neda Erdeljac said. The Economy Ministry, which is in charge of the European Union candidate’s energy policy, has said it was in favor of Plinacro’s plan, which would help Croatia diversify gas supply routes while awaiting a final investment decision on a land-based LNG terminal on the northern Adriatic island of Krk. «This project is neither a competition nor a replacement for the land-based terminal project. It is rather seen as a forerunner project. Of course, if the Adria LNG project is abandoned, this could serve for a long-term supply of Croatia and neighboring countries,» Plinacro said in a statement. (Reuters) Bosphorus Gas Turkish energy firm Bosphorus Gas, a unit of Gazprom, wants to import 1.5 to 2 billion cubic meters of gas annually from Russia’s western line, Metin Sen, chief executive of Bosphorus Gas, told Reuters yesterday. Turkey’s existing 6-billion-cubic-meter import contract with Russia expires in 2011 and domestic firms are keen to buy up the contracts from state energy company Botas. (Reuters) Bosnia firm clash Dozens of people were injured yesterday when workers at a stone merchant in southern Bosnia clashed with police, trying to prevent the arrival of a court bankruptcy commissioner, state radio reported. The commissioner succeeded in entering the premises. (Reuters)