Profits rise in Q1 despite economic gloom

Cost cutting efforts by Greece?s listed companies helped offset plunging private consumption and record low business sentiment in the first quarter of the year, sending earnings more than 15 percent higher.

Figures from brokers showed that 77 companies listed on the Athens bourse, which make up 80 percent of the market?s total capitalisation, collectively reported a 15.7 percent year-on-year hike in net earnings to 775.8 million euros.

Job cuts, the merger of subsidiaries and loan refinancing were among the key tools adopted by Greek companies as a means of getting through the recession, currently in its third year.

On a revenue level, the 77 companies reported a 5.4 percent increase for the January to March period to 13.2 billion euros.

Forty nine companies reported a profit for the quarter while 28 were in the red.

The first quarter reporting season wraps up on Tuesday.