ECONOMY

Germanos meets forecasts

Mobile phone and IT retailer Germanos matched forecasts with a 31.6 percent rise in first-quarter pretax profit on the back of international expansion and domestic mobile market growth. Group pretax profit after minorities came in at 11.6 million euros ($13.82 million), with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) at 17.3 million euros versus 15.3 million last year, Germanos said yesterday. Sales rose 13.4 percent to 173 million euros. A Reuters poll of 11 analysts had forecast, on average, pretax profit after minorities at 11.4 million euros, with EBITDA at 17.6 million euros and sales of 174 million. Germanos, which has subsidiaries across Eastern Europe including Poland, Bulgaria and Romania, said revenues in its foreign markets represented around 16 percent of total revenues in the first quarter of 2004, up from an 11.8 percent share last year. «Management estimates that their (foreign markets) contribution will settle between 20-22 percent in 2004, while it will exceed 30 percent in 2005,» the firm said in a statement. The company announced on Wednesday it completed deals to buy two Polish retail chains for about 10 million euros as part of its strategy to expand its presence in the country. The results are not entirely comparable to last year, as they include a 24.7 percent participation in Hellenic Duty-Free Shops that Germanos started incorporating in the second quarter of 2003. Germanos shares closed 0.61 percent up at 23.04 euros. (Reuters)