The rising trend of listed firm Duty Free Shops continued in the second quarter of 2005, as according to information exclusive to Kathimerini, both the sales and the profits of the company for the year’s first half have shown a double-digit percentage rate of increase compared with the first half of 2004. This is particularly positive considering that 2005 comes after the Olympic Games and the influx of visitors at airports and the other gates to the country is less strong than last summer. Duty Free Shops has also raised its stature at the global level, as it finished 2004 topping the profits chart among the 20 biggest duty-free companies in the world, the Swedish research center Generation Group has announced. The Greek company has also risen to 16th position from 18th in 2003 in sales volume in the same international top 20. The company board is now aiming at further expansion of the group’s turnover, planning new moves within and beyond the Greek borders. The dividend for 2004 will be as high as 0.70 euros per share. Good first quarter Net profits in January-March 2005 posted a 15.8 percent increase from the same period last year, reaching 6 million euros from 5.1 million in 2004. The group’s sales came to 36.7 million euros against 32.9 million last year, which is a rise of 11.3 percent. Significantly, expenses were reduced to 34.1 percent of sales from 37.9 percent in last year’s first quarter. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose by 9.6 percent, to 7.7 million euros. Group turnover came to 38.8 million euros from 44.4 million in 2004, while pretax profits after deduction of minority rights rose to 7.6 million euros from 7.5 million last year. The drop in turnover is explained by the fact that this year’s group results do not include the Efsimon and Efsimon Collections companies, making the 2004 and 2005 figures not directly comparable. If the two subsidiaries’ turnover was deducted from last year’s group figure, then the Duty Free Shops group turnover would post an 11.6 percent increase and a 10.1 percent rise in pretax profits after deduction of minority rights. Group EBITDA rose by 9.4 percent to 8 million euros, while group after-tax profits went up by 14.1 percent to reach 5 million euros.