ECONOMY

Nine-month results paint a mixed picture

The nine-month results of listed companies, the reporting season for which ended yesterday, have painted a mixed picture. Small- and mid-sized firms reported, on the whole, satisfactory turnover and profit growth. But most others, including large companies, showed either declining or stagnating profits. The financial statements of 170 companies – about half of all market listings – show that most sectors face difficulties. The notable exceptions are construction and many information technology firms. Heracles and Titan cement companies, benefiting from the flourishing construction sector, reported strong improvement despite large investments. The metallurgy sector also benefited from stronger sales and the rise of the dollar. Mobile operators did satisfactorily, with Panafon retaining strength and CosmOTE reporting a 61-percent surge in revenues. Banks came under pressure from the rapid fall in interest rates, poor stock market business and the gradual loss of traditional revenue sources. Their results also reflect the high costs of big acquisitions in recent years. Closed-end investment funds were particularly hard hit by the stock market slump. Coastal shippers were also adversely affected by high depreciation and financial costs. Printers and publishers felt the catalytic effect of a rise in the cost of paper and a dramatic fall in advertising revenue. Those escaping such situations are not economic immigrants but refugees, and are generally viewed as such by the British justice system, although recent events have brought this attitude into question. Other countries, such as Germany, support the same view.