ECONOMY

In Brief

Major industrial firms report mixed nine-month results A number of industrial enterprises announced nine-month results yesterday. Metallurgy group Viohalco, Greece’s biggest single exporter, reported pretax profits of 72.3 million euros year-on-year, after depreciation provisions of 70.8 million. Turnover was 12.5 percent to 1,136 million. «The continuous rising trend in depreciation is the result of the gradual stream of more investments in recent years, which have boosted the group’s productive potential,» Viohalco said in a statement. Packaging materials group Maillis said pretax earnings rose 12.1 percent to 19.8 million euros on turnover growth of 20.3 percent to 226.9 million. The group said the improved results were due to successful streamlining. Cement maker Titan said profits after tax and minorities grew 13 percent to 84 million euros on sales growth of 7 percent to 791 million. The group said it invested 84 million euros in existing plants and 94 million in acquisitions in Serbia, Egypt and the USA during the nine months. Telecoms equipment manufacturer Intracom said group pretax profit fell 32.1 percent year-on-year to 72.2 million euros. Group sales were 18.9 percent lower at 521.3 million euros. Dairy group Delta Holdings reported a 5 percent drop in pretax profit to 21 million euros, while turnover, not directly comparable to last year’s same period, was flat at 492.8 million euros. Pretax profit for the full year is expected to reach 33 million euros. Greek SMEs see rosier prospects than EU peers Greek small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) appear more optimistic than others elsewhere in Europe as regards sales and profit prospects next year, according to the annual study prepared by Grant Thornton and Business Strategies. According to the report, conducted in September and October, 27 percent of Greek firms believe that the expansion of enterprises has been made easier in the single market. On the whole, Greek enterprises consider domestic legislation and taxation as the strongest factors impeding growth in the short term, followed by the cost of finance, the lack of orders and lack of a specialized work force. Inadequate access to foreign markets is seen as the most important growth-inhibiting factor in the long run, followed by limited demand and taxation/legislation. About 26 percent of Greek SMEs have installations in more than one location or other member state, compared to 9 percent in the rest of the EU. Finally, Greece shows the biggest rise in the number of entrepreneurs planning to transfer the firm to the next generation. OTE OTE Telecom is launching another round of share buybacks on December 9, designed to boost its share price which has receded to the lowest levels in the last six years. The plan envisages the purchase of up to 36.9 million shares at a price range of between 1 and 30 euros. OTE has already bought 2.76 percent of its shares through previous buyback schemes. Info-Quest IT and telecoms group Info-Quest reported pretax losses of 4.65 million euros in the 9 months year-on-year, on turnover of 283.2 million. Subsidiary Q-Telecom, launched on June 19, showed turnover of 1.19 million euros and pretax losses of 6.29 million until September 30.