ECONOMY

In Brief

Infoquest says fixed telephony operation cut into profits IT firm Infoquest announced yesterday it had a group pretax loss after minorities of 3.24 million euros in the first quarter, as the cost of starting telephony operations weighed on company profits. Infoquest said group revenues came to 104 million euros from 98.78 million euros in the year-ago period. Excluding Q-Telecom to make year-on-year comparisons, consolidated revenue came to 95.04 million euros in the first quarter. Infoquest, which operates the Q-Telecom fixed and mobile service, said revenues for its information technology division, the company’s main source of revenue, was 75.67 million euros, a 5 percent fall year-on-year. Without Q-Telecom, group pretax profit after minorities would have been in the black at 2.56 million euros versus 1.6 million in the first quarter of 2002. The company said Q-Telecom, which offers fixed-line services and second-generation mobile telephony and was launched last June, was expected to contribute significantly to company profits after 2004. (Reuters) Canadians agree not to produce ‘ouzo’ and ‘retsina’ Canadian producers have been barred from making spirits bearing the labels «ouzo» and «retsina,» two traditional Greek alcoholic drinks, Greek officials said yesterday. «Two very important Greek products, ouzo and retsina, will be protected in Canada and Canadian producers will not be able to use their names any more,» the Greek Finance and Economy Ministry said. The deal was reached as part of a new agreement on wine and spirits reached on the sidelines of a two-day Canada-EU summit held in Athens. (AFP) Oil exploration Ramco Energy plc says it will invest $15 million in joint exploration work with Greece’s Hellenic Petroleum SA in the Adriatic off Montenegro. Presenting the joint plan, Ramco’s Executive Chairman Stephen Remp said geological explorations so far had shown that a significant natural gas potential existed offshore. «We will invest $15 million this year,» he told reporters in Montenegro’s capital Podgorica late on Tuesday. He said he expected the first well by the end of the year. The program for this year included seismic work on around 200 square kilometers (77 square miles) of shallow water with high potential, he said. «If it turns out to be a good finding, then Ramco and Hellenic Petrol will ask for support from international financial institutions,» Remp said. (Reuters) Folli Follie Luxury goods producer and retailer Folli Follie announced yesterday its first quarter group pretax profit after minorities grew 27 percent to 11.2 million euros year on year, above market expectations. Group sales were up 23 percent to 35.5 million euros compared with the same period last year. (Reuters) Delta Holdings Delta Holdings, one of Greece’s largest food product companies, reported a 23 percent drop in first-quarter group pretax profits after minorities to 3.5 million euros. Group sales were down slightly to 140.2 million euros ($165.6 million) from 143.4 million last year. (Reuters)