ECONOMY

In Brief

Provisions weigh down Emporiki H1 profit but interest income rises Emporiki Bank, Greece’s fourth-largest lender by assets, said yesterday its group pretax profit after minorities fell 33 percent in the first half to 37.4 million euros, burdened by higher provisions. The company said second-quarter pretax profit rose 28.1 percent from the first three months of the year to 21 million euros. «Since April 2004, we are implementing an extended program to restructure and regroup our forces for efficiency and growth,» Chairman and CEO George Provopoulos said in a statement. The bank raised its provisions by 50 percent in the first half to 23.9 million euros to strengthen its loan-loss reserves. Operating expenses were flat at 165 million euros in the second quarter. Emporiki reported first-half net interest income of 318.5 million euros, up 8 percent year-on-year. (Reuters) Banks willing to give Klonatex one more chance Five banks appear willing to support a debt-rescheduling plan for financially strapped textile group Klonatex, which has put a large number of workers on compulsory leave. Sources said the banks are proposing to extend a 20-million-euro loan on condition the basic shareholder puts up 10 million more. The plan is considered sufficient to enable the group to continue operating for a year, during which banks will exercise tight supervision. If Klonatex does not accept the plan, the banks are said to be determined to push for its liquidation. Infoquest IT and telecoms group Infoquest posted a first-half pretax profit of 1.3 million euros as its telecoms arm Q-Telecom narrowed its losses, it said yesterday. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose to 11.6 million euros from 0.5 million euros in the same period last year on a 31 percent rise in sales to 183.8 million euros. The information technology division, the group’s main activity, recorded sales of 135.8 million euros, up 15.7 percent, while pretax profit nearly halved to 2.7 million euros from 5.3 million euros on higher provisions. Q-Telecom narrowed its first-half loss to 1.4 million euros from 11.1 million euros last year as sales more than doubled to 48 million euros. (Reuters) Olympic consumers The Consumers Institute (INKA) is distributing leaflets and a 52-page manual to tourists at border entry points and throughout Greece, designed to offer protection as regards prices and quality of services. INKA (www.inka.gr) said that, on the whole, instances of profiteering seem to have receded recently, except in catering establishments. Alpha Bank Alpha Bank said it will keep eight central branches open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from August 12 to 27 for the requirements of Olympic visitors. These are located at: 40 Stadiou Street, Athens; 21 Angelou Metaxa Street, Glyfada; 1 Kolokotroni Street, Kifissia; 2 Patriarchou Ioakeim Street, Athens; 6 Loudovikou Square, Piraeus; 6 Lysicratous Street, Athens; 6 Filellinon Street, Athens; and 200 Kifisias Avenue, Neo Psychico. Alpha’s branch at Athens Airport will stay open between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. throughout this period.