ECONOMY

In Brief

Eurobank shareholders OK share buyback extension EFG Eurobank got shareholder approval to extend a share buyback program to support its share price yesterday with a price range of five to 27.09 euros per share. The extension is for a 12-month period for up to 10 percent of total share capital. Managing Director Nicholas Nanopoulos told shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting that the company had bought 3.41 percent of its shares back under a buyback program in the previous year, with an average price per share of 16.26 euros. Eurobank’s share price on the Athens bourse ended 0.91 percent lower at 13 euros yesterday. It has fallen about 17 percent since the start of the year. In August, Eurobank reported first-half group net profit fell 6 percent to 115.8 million euros, slightly better than expected. The bank, in which Deutsche Bank holds a 10-percent stake, has a market capitalization of 4.1 billion euros, second only to National Bank. (Reuters) Turkey posts $649m current account deficit in H1 ISTANBUL – Turkey’s central bank yesterday reported a current account deficit of $649 million for the first six months of the year versus a $782-million surplus in the same period of 2001. Turkey has targeted a current account deficit of $1.5 billion for 2002 as it works to tackle a massive domestic debt load brought on by a 2001 financial crisis and amid nerves over the outcome of a November 3 general election. (Reuters) New Stet CFO Mobile operator Stet Hellas announced yesterday it had appointed Ruggero Caterini, from Stet’s majority owner Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM), as its new chief financial officer. Stet said Caterini, who replaces Shokat Thobani, was previously chief financial officer at Mobilkom Austria and, prior to December 2001, CFO at TIM’s Brazilian subsidiary. Caterini will coordinate all Stet Hellas finance and business planning and control activities and will report directly to Chief Executive and Managing Director Nikos Varsakis. (Reuters) Aspis capital increase Aspis Bank got shareholder approval yesterday for a 39-million-euro share capital increase in which Dutch bank ABN Amro will pay 9 million euros for 2 million shares, part of a deal agreed on in June. Aspis Bank Managing Director Constantine Karatzas told shareholders ABN Amro will pay 4.5 euros per share. The deal will give ABN Amro about a 5.5-percent stake in Aspis. In June, Aspis agreed to buy ABN Amro’s local retail network, including its leasing and insurance brokerage operations, with the Dutch bank acquiring about a 7-percent stake in Aspis in return. ABN Amro has a 16-branch network and a license to open one more. «Aspis Bank will pay 11.3 million euros for these acquisitions,» Karatzas told shareholders. The share capital increase will add 10,621,250 new shares to Aspis’s current outstanding total of 25,863,750. Karatzas said existing shareholders will partially waive their rights and receive the shares not taken up by ABN AMRO in a one-for-three issue at 3.5 euros per share. The agreement also foresees the setting up of joint ventures in asset and pension fund management. (Reuters) He said measures targeting companies appeared to focus more on simplifying procedures rather than lightening the tax burden on the sector.