ECONOMY

In Brief

Better-than-expected H1 net profit report from PPC The Public Power Corporation (PPC) yesterday beat market expectations by announcing a 9.8 percent rise in first-half group net profit to 192.9 million euros ($233.2 million) on successful cost-containment efforts. Eleven analysts polled by Reuters had forecast on average a 4.3 percent rise in first-half net profit to 183.2 million euros. PPC said first-half group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) grew 12.9 percent to 657.9 million euros. Group sales increased 4.6 percent to 2.0 billion euros. (Reuters) Bank of Cyprus withdraws GDRs from London Stock Exchange NICOSIA (Reuters) – The Bank of Cyprus (BOC) yesterday announced that it was withdrawing its global depositary receipts (GDRs) from the international markets as a last step away from the London Stock Exchange. The bank introduced the GDRs to the London Exchange in 1998 to facilitate international investment in its shares. «With the lifting of all foreign exchange controls as from May 1, 2004 following the entry of Cyprus into the European Union, and due to the trading of the Bank’s shares in two European exchanges, the Cyprus Stock Exchange and the Athens Exchange, the advantages previously offered by the GDRs no longer apply,» a statement from BOC said yesterday. It has given the required 90 days’ notice to the GDRs depositary bank, Bank of New York, to terminate the Deposit Agreement, the statement said. «The GDRs will not be delisted from the London Stock Exchange until all required procedures have been fully completed,» it added. The total number of shares represented by GDRs amounts to 90,000 and each GDR represents four shares, the bank said. Dixons takeover cleared European Union regulators yesterday approved the takeover of Greek consumer electronics retailer Kotsovolos by the British chain Dixons Plc. The European Commission cleared the deal under a simplified procedure after finding no competition concerns. Dixons is paying 53.7 million euros (US$64.4 million) to raise its stake in Kotsovolos to 52.3 percent from 13.6 percent, and plans to make a public bid to acquire the remaining shares at 6.50 euros (US$7.80) a share. It is buying the stake from Greek holding company Fourlis Holdings SA. Dixons is aiming to expand across Europe. The company already operates 1,350 stores, and Kotsovolos will add an extra 127 outlets and 1,700 employees. Kotsovolos operates under the Kotsovolos, Radio Athinai and One Way brands. The company reported 2003 sales of 367.2 million euros (US$441 million) and pretax profit of 3.4 million euros (US$4.1 million). (AP) Germanos Phone and accessories retailer Germanos yesterday reported a 23.5 percent rise in first-half group pretax profit to 29.4 million euros ($35.51 million). Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 13.3 percent to 37 million euros on sales growth of 15.7 percent to 366.5 million euros. Germanos said its operations abroad accounted for 17.5 percent of group sales, up from 12.5 percent in the same period a year earlier. Results are not directly comparable with last year’s figures as they included recently acquired Polish retail chains GTI and Genimex, and also a 24.7 percent participation in Hellenic Duty Free Shops that Germanos started consolidating in June 2003. Folli-Follie Jewelry retailer Folli-Follie posted a 28 percent rise in first-half group pretax profit to 34.2 million euros. Group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased 26 percent to 30.2 million euros, while sales grew 28 percent to 90 million euros. Results are not directly comparable with last year’s figures as Folli-Follie started consolidating duty-free retailer HDFS in June 2003. The retailer has more than 250 outlets in 20 countries, with Asia and Japan the main revenue drivers.