In Brief

Piraeus Bank reports record profit for 2004 Piraeus Bank, Greece’s fifth-largest lender by assets, said yesterday 2004 group net profit rose by a better-than-expected 40.4 percent to 142.5 million euros, on growing high-margin loans. The bank, which reported under Greek accounting standards, said net interest income last year grew 14.2 percent to 446.6 million euros, with its net interest margin improving to 3.07 from 2.88 percent in 2003. «Prospects for 2005 appear to be positive. The group’s growth in Greece and abroad is continuing. The first application of international accounting standards is not expected to have an impact on capital adequacy and total equity capital,» said Chief Executive Michael Sallas. The group will propose a dividend of 0.40 euros per share, up 33 percent on 2003 – a dividend yield of 2.65 percent. The group’s cost-to-income ratio came down to 58.6 from 63.1 percent in 2003. The bank said its network expanded by 20 percent to 309 branches last year. Total loans grew 18.8 percent to 12.68 billion euros in 2004, with mortgage lending up 41 percent and consumer credit growing 20.8 percent. Customer deposits rose 16.5 percent to 10.7 billion euros. (Reuters) Stock valuation provisions hurt Hellenic Petroleum results Refiner Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE) said yesterday full-year 2004 group pretax profit fell 19.2 percent to 240 million euros ($316 million), hurt by higher stock valuation provisions. HELPE’s 2003 results were boosted by a 60-million-euro gain from the sale of an option to increase its stake in gas utility DEPA. «Despite high refining margins, returns on our invested capital were not satisfactory,» said CEO Panos Cavoulakos. «There was a negative impact of 60 million euros on stock valuation provisions due to the significant drop in prices in late December.» Reporting under IFRS standards, the refiner said full-year EBITDA rose 22.7 percent to 372 million euros from 303 million euros in 2003. Cavoulakos said the value of Hellenic Petroleum’s holdings in the Balkans was marked down, as «developments in those markets worsened compared to when the acquisitions were made.» The refinery group will propose a total dividend of 0.26 euros for 2004 – a dividend yield of 2.9 percent based on yesterday’s market price. The shares were down 1.99 percent at 8.86 euros. (Reuters) HDFS Hellenic Duty Free Shops yesterday reported a 12.9 percent rise in full-year 2004 group pretax profit, at the high end of consensus forecasts. Earnings before tax and after minorities grew to 58.3 million euros ($77 million). Analysts in a recent Reuters poll were forecasting pretax profit growth of 10.8 percent to 57.9 million on average. The company was upbeat on 2005 guidance. «The strong improvement of consolidated results will continue in the current year,» it said, projecting group sales will grow to 265-270 million euros from 234.8 million in 2004. (Reuters) Alpha Bank Alpha Bank yesterday announced some top management changes, separating the duties of board chairman and managing director, and opting for the corporate governance practices followed in other EU countries. The bank said Yiannis Costopoulos, who previously held both posts, will henceforth act as the group’s chairman, with Dimitris Mantzounis, general manager since 2002, being appointed new chief executive. (Reuters)

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.