Banks make deal for Greece


The bond swap deal will cost the 12 banks over half of their holdings. Also in business news: Fitch Ratings affirmed Croatia's credit rating at BBB-, and Romania looks to become energy efficient.

Without the deal, which includes National Bank of Greece, the country could not secure its second bailout loan. [Reuters]

Twelve of the biggest private investors in Greek government bonds committed on Monday (March 5th) to take part in a bond swap deal that would cost them over half of their holdings. Among them are German insurer Allianz, French bank BNP Paribas, Germany's Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank, as well as Greece's Eurobank EFG and National Bank of Greece.


The IMF and Kosovo reached an agreement on Monday (March 5th) on a new standby arrangement. The 107m-euro deal comes after the Fund cancelled a previous agreement last summer, over an up to 50% hike in public sector wages undertaken by the government of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.


An NGO has called on Bulgarians and Romanians to boycott Dutch goods, as the Netherlands remained firm in its stance against opening the EU market to workers from the two countries, which led to a postponement of a decision on the issue until the fall. Nature for the People said on Monday (March 5th) the public should stop filling their fuel tanks at Dutch stations, and stop buying Dutch cosmetics, vegetables and other food.


Fitch Ratings on Monday (March 5th) affirmed Croatia's credit rating at BBB- with negative outlook over the significant budget deficit and insufficient policy steps to consolidate the country's finances. Bulgaria and Romania share the same rating, which is the lowest investment grade.


Slovenian home appliances maker Gorenje inaugurated on Monday (March 5th) its new production plant in the Serbian town of Zajecar. The facility, which will make sanitary equipment and washing machines, has already created 96 jobs, with a total of 300 expected.


Ten small ports will be established on Macedonia's lakes -- Ohrid, Prespa, Dojran and Mavrovo -- in an effort to promote tourism activities, according to an action plan adopted by the ministry of transport and communications. The facilities are also expected to significantly improve sailing conditions inside the country.


Montenegro's Central Bank said in a statement on Thursday (March 1st) that the country may ask the IMF for an arrangement to improve its financial state. The statement followed a meeting of Central Bank Governor Radoje Zugic and IMF representatives in Podgorica.


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Romanian President Traian Basescu said on Monday (March 5th) that his country may become energy-sufficient by the end of this decade due to the discovery of significant gas reserves in its Black Sea territorial waters. He made this statement after visiting the drilling platform of US oil giant ExxonMobil.


Cypriot Interior Minister Neoklis Sylikiotis said that China's state-owned oil and gas giant CNOOC is among several companies that have expressed interest in investing in the island's offshore natural gas field. The discovery was announced in December by US-based Noble Energy and is believed to hold between 140 and 230 billion cubic metres of gas.

(Various sources -- 29/02/12-07/03/12)

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