ECONOMY

In Brief

Eurobank’s Polish unit deal expected in days Eurobank EFG, Greece’s second-biggest lender, expects a deal for the sale of a majority stake in its Polish unit, Polbank EFG, may be reached in the coming days, Nikos Nanopoulos, the company’s chief executive officer, said yesterday. «It’ll be completed in the near future,» Nanopoulos told shareholders at a meeting in Athens. The sale will help boost the lender’s capital adequacy ratio by 150 basis points this year, he said. Intesa Sanpaolo SpA on November 25 said it submitted an offer for the unit, while Raiffeisen Bank International AG, Eastern Europe’s third-biggest lender, last month confirmed it had bid. Raiffeisen had no immediate comment when called by Bloomberg yesterday. An Intesa official declined to comment when reached by telephone. Eurobank, which is selling the unit to boost capital, received three bids, each worth between $600 million and $800 million. Polbank may be worth 900 million to 1.2 billion euros, Credit Suisse analyst Niall O’Connor wrote in a note on October 28. (Bloomberg) Romania to sign new loan agreement with IMF BUCHAREST (AP) – Romania’s finance minister said yesterday the country is negotiating a precautionary loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission. Gheorghe Ialomitianu said this will allow Romania to use the money only if needed – like an overdraft facility – and to increase credibility on financial markets. An IMF mission will visit Romania at the end of January, and media reports say the government could borrow about 3.6 billion euros. Romania already agreed to borrow 20 billion euros from the IMF, the European Union and the World Bank in 2009, when its economy shrank 7.1 percent. Last week, the IMF board approved that loan’s latest disbursement, of nearly 900 million euros, after the country passed legislation required by the IMF. Turkish deficit Turkey’s budget deficit widened in December from a year earlier, according to preliminary data from the Treasury issued yesterday. The budget surplus was 12.4 billion lira ($7.9 billion) compared to a deficit of 2.1 billion lira in the same month of 2009, the Treasury in Ankara said on its website today. Excluding interest payments on debt, the budget produced a deficit of 11.2 billion lira, compared to a deficit of 1.7 billion lira a year earlier. The Treasury figures are preliminary data that measure cash inflows and outflows. The Finance Ministry will release full budget numbers later this month. (Bloomberg) Turkey power Turkey will get an extra 8 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity capacity this year with investment of 3.2 billion lira in new production, Hasan Koktas, chief of the energy market regulator, told reporters in Ankara yesterday. (Bloomberg) Gold on the go Turkish Islamic lender Kuveyt Turk Katilim Bankasi said yesterday it will upgrade its automatic teller machines within a month to distribute gold as well as banknotes. The ATMs will deliver certified gold coins, which customers can withdraw from gold deposit accounts at Kuveyt Turk or buy with a credit card or cash, said Irfan Yilmaz, executive vice president in charge of retail banking. «It’s very popular in Turkey to use gold as a gift for newborn babies, for weddings, for all kinds of celebrations,» Yilmaz said in a telephone interview from Istanbul. «This is a great convenience for customers, especially on weekends when it’s not so easy to find gold.» Kuveyt Turk, a bank owned by Kuwait Finance House that according to Islamic banking rules is prohibited from earning interest, has increased marketing of gold products in the past three years as rising prices and the global economic crisis attracted record investment in the metal. The bank has attracted about $300 million worth of gold deposits, attaining a market share of almost 20 percent since starting its gold products in 2007. That compares with its less than 1 percent share of overall Turkish banking assets. (Bloomberg)