ECONOMY

In Brief

OTE group unveils ‘biggest ever’ Olympic telecoms sponsorship OTE Telecom and its mobile and internet subsidiaries CosmOTE and OTEnet yesterday presented their 58.6-million-euro sponsorship of the Olympic Games. Half of the sum will be in cash and the rest in services. The group, in order to meet the extended requirements of the Games, additionally has invested 246 million euros, of which 125 million went into infrastructure which will be reused. «It is the biggest sponsorship in the history of the Olympics,» said group President Panayiotis Vourloumis. He said OTE has invested in state-of-the-art technology in 6,500 Olympics-related projects and activities which will bring it to the top tier of peer organizations internationally after the Games. The network is based on 1,200 km (745 miles) of optical fibres, 97 percent of which are already laid. Kathimerini doubles dividend; first-quarter sales up 9.6 pct Publishing group Kathimerini yesterday posted 9.6 percent growth in first-quarter turnover to 22.8 million euros, year-on-year. The parent company’s income rose to 186,000 euros from 102,000 euros in the same period last year, on turnover growth of 27 percent to 14.55 million. Shareholders approved a doubling of the dividend payment for 2003 to 20 cents per share. The group posted an 8 percent rise in net profit after tax to 9.4 million euros for 2003, on sales growth of 26 percent to 85.9 million euros. The parent company’s earnings advanced 28.2 percent to 2.41 million euros, on a 22 percent rise in turnover to 51.67 million. Group President Aristides Alafouzos noted that the value of the four double-hulled tankers of subsidiary Argonaftis exceeds the company’s current stock market value. Heracles Cement producer Heracles said first-quarter group pretax profit rose 137 percent to 14 million euros, thanks to improved weather and rising profit margins in Greece. Group sales increased 13.2 percent to 128.3 million euros year-on-year, while operating income more than doubled to 14 million euros. Heracles, majority-owned by France’s Lafarge, has three cement plants in Greece, with a total annual production capacity of 9.6 million tonnes. Titan Shareholders in cement maker Titan yesterday approved a 2003 dividend of 0.95 euro per share, representing a yield of about 2.5 percent, and a share buyback of up to 10 percent of share capital in a range of 2 to 50 euros in the next 12 months. The shareholders also approved a share capital increase by 67.1 million euros through the capitalization of reserves, as well as the increase in shares’ nominal value to 4 euros per share from the current 2.40 euros. They also approved a one-for-one share split through the subsequent halving of the new nominal value to 2 euros per share. Forthnet Alternative telecoms provider Forthnet reported first-quarter group profit of 193,215 euros yesterday, a rebound from losses of 1.3 million euros last year, despite still high depreciation costs. Group sales jumped by almost 56 percent year-on-year to 20 million euros, while operating profits more than doubled to 3 million euros.