Power consumption steady but PPC profits disappoint

Power company PPC reported a lower-than-expected net profit for 2010 on higher fuel costs and a loss of commercial clients to competitors as it warned of a challenging year ahead.

PPC, 51 percent owned by the government, said its net income late year dipped 19.5 percent year-on-year to 557.9 million euros. EFG Eurobank Securities said in a morning note it was expecting a figure of 579 million euros.

Revenues fell 3.6 percent to 5.8 billion euros as sales to the commercial sector fell 10.7 percent.

?2011 will be a challenging year for PPC, it will be marked by considerable volatility in the international capital and commodity markets as well as a difficult domestic economic environment,? PPC CEO Arthouros Zervos said in a statement.

Total electricity demand remained flat in 2010 at 61,817 GWh versus 61,842 GWh in 2009, PPC added.

As the economy?s recession deepens, PPC said that it increased provisions for bad debts among low and medium voltage consumers by an annual amount of 113 million euros due to a growing number of households struggling to pay their electricity bills.

PPC shares were down 0.16 percent to 12.54 euros on the Athens bourse shortly after news of the earnings, versus a 0.05 percent broader market advance in early trade on Monday.

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