PPC posts Q4 loss on provisions, costs

Greece’s biggest electricity producer PPC announced a record quarterly loss on Friday, hit by bad-debt provisions and higher fuel costs amid the country’s economic crisis.

The state-controlled company’s loss reached 240 million euros ($318.65 million) in the fourth quarter, compared with a 37.4 million euro profit in the same period the previous year.

PPC booked a bad-debt provision of 84 million euros, reflecting fees it was owed by two smaller rivals which went out of business earlier this year. In addition, its costs were increased by rising prices for natural gas and oil, which PPC burns to produce a large part of its energy.

Share portfolio losses added another 26 million euros to the company’s loss.

Hit by competition and stagnant power demand amid the country’s worst recession since World War Two, full-year 2011 sales dropped 5.1 percent to 5.514 billion euros, slightly better than analysts’ 5.467 billion euro forecast.

The company said earlier this month it expected sales to rise to 6.2 billion euros this year, helped by an increase in its regulated power prices.

“In 2012, we expect a positive impact on financial results, both from the increase in electricity tariffs, wage cost cuts and further savings initiatives,» the company’s chief executive Arthouros Zervos said in a statement.

For the full year, PPC posted a net loss of 148.9 million euros, above an average forecast of 100.4 million euros according to a Reuters poll of analysts. [Reuters]

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