ECONOMY

In Brief

Romania agrees on telecom share capital increase BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romania’s government agreed on a $200 million share capital increase at fixed-line monopoly Romtelecom, 35 percent owned by Greek OTE, government spokesman Claudiu Lucaci said yesterday. «The government mandated the Communications Ministry to approve in the general shareholders meeting a $200 million share capital increase at Romtelecom,» Lucaci told Reuters. The government’s decision came in response to a demand by OTE for a controlling stake in Romtelecom during three days of marathon talks between OTE senior executives and Romanian officials which ended late on Wednesday. Lucaci declined to comment on the arrangements, saying details of the deal would be discussed at a later date by the Communication Ministry and OTE. He did not elaborate on a possible deadline for the talks. «The Communications and Finance ministries would discuss with OTE the methods to implement this share capital increase, and they would eventually present a report to the government,» Lucaci said. OTE wants to raise around $450 million it says Romtelecom needs to pay debts and invest in restructuring, and has rejected a government proposal for it to buy the state’s remaining 65 percent. FYROM court to probe legality of oil pipeline agreement The constitutional court of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) yesterday decided to probe the legality of the country’s 1999 deal with Greece for construction of the Thessaloniki-Skopje oil pipeline, which was launched into operation last June and is part of the OKTA refining group, controlled by Hellenic Petroleum. The court reached the decision after considering a suit by OKTA’s competitor Makpetrol, which argues that the outgoing government secured monopolistic privileges for OKTA until 2004. The court’s decision will considered by FYROM’s Parliament. Turkish tourism The number of foreigners visiting Turkey rose 10.1 percent year-on-year to 10.6 million in the first nine months of the year, the State Statistics Institute in Istanbul said yesterday. The number of foreign visitors jumped a yearly 22.9 percent to 1.8 million in September alone, the institute said. Turkey aims to attract 13 to 14 million foreign visitors and earn more than $10 billion in tourism in 2002. (Reuters) Unpaid Bankruptcies were up by a steep 390 percent in September in relation to the same month last year, confirming a trend in recent months. The value of bounced checks rose 28.9 percent to 47.3 billion euros, while that of unpaid bills of exchange was up 29.8 percent to 14.9 million euros. In the nine months to September, the sum value of bounced checks and unpaid bills of exchange rose 17.66 percent to 586 million euros. Medical center MediFirst center, at 1 Marathonomachon Street in the southern Athenian suburb of Alimos, provides the full range of preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic medical services on a 24-hour basis, including emergency and dental treatment. For more information, call 010. 991.9222. E-mail: [email protected]