World Bulletin / News Desk
Greece wants binding bids for its state-owned natural gas company andgas grid operator by the end of September and hopes to complete their sale in late autumn as it revives its privatisation drive, a government official told Reuters on Monday.
Hoping to regain credibility with international lenders keeping Greece afloat, the new conservative-led government has made speeding up privatisations a priority but has admitted delays from repeat elections in May and June.
After a meeting between political leaders and the finance minister on privatisations, the official said the government's priorities also included the sale of betting firm OPAP , the old Athens airport and buildings in Athens and on the islands of Corfu and Rhodes.
"What we're aiming for through the privatisations, apart from generating revenues, is to change the role of the state in the economy," the official said on condition of anonymity.
He said Russian, Italian, U.S. and French companies had expressed an interest in the natural gascompany DEPA and gas grid operator DESPA.
Athens initially targeted privatisation proceeds of 50 billion euros ($62 billion) by 2015 but cut the targetto 19 billion euros after a making slow start on the programme.
Former privatisations chief Costas Mitropoulos, who stepped down last month after accusing the government of hindering his efforts to sell assets, estimated that Athens would not raise more than 300 million euros from privatisations in 2012.
It had targetted 3 billion euros for this year.
More than 90 percent of the privatisation programme includes the lease and sale of concessions of state land and infrastructure, the government has said.
The proposed tie-up also drew criticism from France, Belgium, Portugal and the Netherlands, fearful for the future of their own stock exchanges, owned by Euronext.
The firm is trying to spin off its prized memory chip business to raise cash, after earlier selling its medical devices unit and most of a home appliance business.
Kuwait Oil Minister Essam al-Marzouk, who heads a joint ministerial committee tasked with overseeing compliance to the cuts, said conformity to the reductions could be improved.
The London headquarters of the European Union's financial regulator, in the Canary Wharf district, has 170 staff members from 27 of the 28 European Union nations.
Market research firm GfK's forward-looking consumer confidence reading for April slipped to 9.8 points after 10.0 this month, slightly short of analysts' expectations, it said in a statement.
There is widespread belief the tycoon's health system proposals will fall foul of lawmakers with many of his Republican counterparts opposed to numerous parts of it and raising questions about the fate of promised infrastructure spending, tax cuts and deregulation.
BIST 100 index opens 0.35 pct higher; US dollar/Turkish lira rate hovers around 3.61
The United States and Japan -- the world's largest and third-largest economies, respectively -- have notably declined to join the bank.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index dropped 0.6 percent to 7,336.30 points compared with Tuesday's close.
The 12-month inflation rate hit 2.3 percent last month compared with 1.8 percent in January, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.
Gains for Deutsche shares topped 7.0 percent in the early afternoon, before slipping back to trade at 16.16 euros ($17.61) -- still up 5.33 percent -- just after 1400 GMT.
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UBS will be charged with illegal banking practices and dissimulating tax fraud, the sources said, adding UBS's French subsidiary will also go on trial for complicity.
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The move is significant as it means North Korea no longer has access SWIFT's global financial transfer system, further isolating the already heavily-sanctioned country.