ECONOMY

In Brief

Piraeus Bank Q1 profits rise along with domestic market share Piraeus Bank’s first-quarter group net profit rose 38 percent to 42.8 million euros on strong consumer and home loan growth at Greece’s fifth-largest lender by assets. Following international financial reporting standards (IFRS) the bank said net interest income in the first three months of the year climbed 17.5 percent to 119.6 million euros. Net interest margin improved to 3.20 from 3.07 percent. The bank said overall lending rose 21.3 percent, making up 70.7 percent of its total assets. Home loans grew 49 percent to 2.45 billion euros, above the banking sector’s 30 percent expansion rate, triggering a one-percentage-point gain in market share to 7.9 percent. «The group’s reporting of financial results under IFRS for the first time coincides with a significant rise in profitability, mainly due to improving core earnings,» CEO Michael Sallas stated. «Prospects remain optimistic. The improving performance of new branches launched in the last years, coupled with the group’s growth abroad, will be the main factors driving profitability to new records this year,» he added. (Reuters) Germanos’s sales growth pushes company profits higher Phone and accessory retailer Germanos posted a 12 percent rise in first-quarter net profit to 10 million euros, boosted by robust sales. Pretax profit increased 16.8 percent to 13.53 million euros while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 15.4 percent to 19.34 million euros. Sales grew 12.7 percent to about 195 million euros, with revenues from its foreign units accounting for a quarter of group sales. The retailer has given guidance for 2005 pretax profit of more than 7 million euros from its operations abroad, with a 25-30 percent contribution in group sales, up from 20 percent last year. It reiterated its full-year guidance of 15-17 percent revenue growth for the group and earnings per share growth of 13-15 percent. (Reuters) THY Turkish Airlines (THY), due for privatization, said yesterday it carried 4.02 million passengers in the first four months of 2005, up 19.2 percent from the same period last year. THY General Manager Temel Kotil also told a parliamentary commission the amount of cargo transported by the airline in the same period showed a year-on-year increase of 5.8 percent. (Reuters) Eurobank issue EFG Eurobank said yesterday it plans a 750-million-euro mortgage securitization issue. The bank said it is being advised by Citibank, Morgan Stanley and EFG Telesis Finance. Roadshows to foreign institutional investors will begin next week. Of the 750-million-euro issue, 690 million is rated «AAA» by S&P, Moody’s and Fitch, it said, expecting placement to be completed by June 6-10. (Reuters) Unemployment down Recorded unemployment declined by more than 30,000 people in April, according to data from the Office of Employment and the Manpower (OAED). From 542,731 in March, those listed as unemployed were reduced to 511,985 people last month. Deputy Labor Minister Gerasimos Giakoumatos said the situation was bad but is showing signs of improvement and promised that by 2008 the unemployment figures will have fallen by 3 percent.