Business briefs...

- The Greek government is examining the introduction of a single payroll system in public sector enterprises, a move aimed at rationalizing wages and facilitating the restructuring and reduction of spending by public sector enterprises and organisations, which total 800 million euros this year, finance ministry officials said Monday.

The ministry said there were significant margins to cut operating costs in the wider public sector, particularly in operating spending (rents, mobile telephony, cars, recyclables etc), adding that leases paid by public sector enterprises totaled 30 million euros annually.

- Bank of Cyprus will continue investing in Greece, expanding its branch network and supporting its staff during a difficult period for the country, Andreas Eliadis, the bank’s chief executive said on Monday. Addressing an event organised with the Athens University of Economics - with guest speaker Christopher Pissaridis, the Nobel winner and professor of London School of Economics - Eliadis said the current period demands a right evaluation of facts and changes currently witnessed and those anticipated, to draw conclusions from the past and to look with dynamism into the future.

- The central government’s deficit dropped 25 pct to 4.25 billion euros in the first three months of 2011, down from 5.6 billion euros in the same period in 2010, the Bank of Greece announced on Monday.

- Greek exports jumped 35.2 pct in February to 1.433 billion euros, up from 1.06 billion euros in the same month last year, an analysis by the Panhellenic Federation of Exporters - based on Hellenic Statistical Authority’s figures - revealed on Monday. The report said Greek exports - measured in US dollars - were up 34.8 pct to 1.9555 billion euros in February, after an increase of 39.9 pct in January 2011.

- The Lambrakis Press Organisation on Monday announced it has sold a 36-pct equity stake in Eurostar SA - which manages Travel Plan travel agency - to Express Holidays SA. for around three million euros. Following the transaction, Lambrakis Press will hold a 15-pct stake in Eurostar's equity capital.

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