ECONOMY

Lower provisions and energy costs boost Greece’s PPC Q3 profit

Greece’s dominant power utility PPC on Thursday reported a 29.7 percent rise in third-quarter core profit, helped by lower provisions for past due electricity bills and softer energy costs.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) excluding one-off items came in at 264.1 million euros ($330 million) in the third quarter from 203.7 million euros in the same period a year ago.

The figure was above an average forecast of 107.6 million euros in a Reuters poll of analysts.

In 2012, Athens imposed a property tax through electricity bills as part of austerity measures under a 240 billion euro EU/IMF bailout. This has weighed on PPC which had to book hefty provisions for distressed customers who delayed payments or refused to pay their bills.

In the third quarter, provisions for overdue bills fell by 42.4 percent to 51.2 million euros. This, coupled with lower expenses for natural gas purchases, boosted PPC’s profit.

Sales rose 3.2 percent in the quarter to 1.59 billion euros, helped by a 1.4 percent rise in domestic demand as the Greek economy recovered after a six-year recession.

In the nine months to September, net profit came in at 121.8 million euros, up from 6.7 million euros in the same period last year, when a one-off charge over a power price row with PPC’s biggest client dragged down earnings.

PPC controls almost all of Greece’s retail electricity market and accounts for about two thirds of the nation’s power output. [Reuters]