• The opening of Portugal’s residential electricity market could take eight to 10 months once the ERSE power regulator completes the regulations for the plan. Portugal has liberalised its electricity market for a total of 40,000 industrial clients and small businesses, representing around 65 per cent of electricity consumption in the country.
• Labour union UGT approves reduction of public sector workers by between 20,000 and 40,000 over the next four years.
• Portugal’s Consumer Price Index rose 0.3 per cent in March. The retail price index was unchanged in the month of February. Average annual inflation, the government’s yardstick, was 2.4 per cent in March, the same rate registered in February.
• Fiscal administration has seized taxpayer bank accounts with sums greater than the amount they owe the government.
• Somincor which operates Europe’s biggest copper mine will produce 370,000 tonnes of copper concentrates this year, down 7.5 per cent from last year.
• McKinsey has concluded a strategic plan for Portuguese electrical equipment maker Efacec up to 2008.
• Portugal’s media regulator gave the green light for unlisted Controlinvest to acquire a controlling stake in Lusomundo Media, but recommended the Competition Authority ask the group to sell its sports paper, ‘O Jogo’.
• Media Capital said that it would consider acquiring sporting newspaper ‘O Jogo’ if competition authorities ask Controlinvest to sell it as part of a merger deal.
• Stada Arzneimittel has agreed to buy Portuguese generic drug sales company Ciclum Farma for around 31 million euro. Stada said it was buying the company from an unnamed Swiss financial investor in order to establish its own sales presence in Portugal.
• A decision by Anacom to suspend PT’s plan to quadruple the speed of its broadband Internet offer was a setback to PT.
• Clix, a unit of Sonae.com, launched what it said was one of the world’s fastest broadband ADSL services with a speed of 16 megabits service in a challenge to PT’s dominance over the broadband Internet market.
• Iberdrola said that it aims to control between 15 and 20 per cent of Portugal’s power market within five years, after it reached a deal to break into the residential market. Iberdrola also announced that it had signed an agreement with state postal company CTT-Correiros de Portugal to sell electricity in its branches to a potential residential market of 5.9 million clients.
• Iberdrola said its 5.7 per cent stake in edp was not up for sale, saying a change in accounting rules had caused confusion in the press. Iberdrola Portugal Chief Executive, Joaquim Pina Moura said the EDP stake was no longer consolidated in company accounts under new IFRS accountings rules which took effect at the start of the year. It is now classified as ‘available for sale’. However, he said this was a mere accounting formality and Iberdrola had no plans to sell its holding.
• Galpenergia to appeal the decision by previous government to grant only one license to build a combined cycle power plant in Sines.