ECONOMY

InfOTE says it expects to post a 20-percent jump in profits for this year

InfOTE, the Yellow Pages division of telecoms operator OTE that was recently split off from the group, is expected to post a 20-percent increase in profits this year, Managing Director Ioannis Vassilaras said yesterday. «We have set very conservative projections,» he told a press conference. He said that pretax profits this year are forecast at 6 million euros, rising to 7 million euros in 2003 and expected to approach 9 million euros in 2006. Revenues for 2001 are projected at close to 35 million euros and expected to increase to 50 million euros in 2006. InfOTE is one of three subsidiaries set up by OTE last month in line with its strategy of splitting off non-core activities, in order to focus on its traditional telecommunications operations. The other two companies, OTE Globe and OTE Estate, deal with OTE’s corporate clients and real estate assets respectively. Explaining the group’s decision to split off the divisions, OTE Chief Executive Nikos Manasis said the move is part of a three-pronged strategy to prepare the telecoms operator for a more competitive and deregulated environment. «We have modernized our infrastructure and network, digitalizing our lines last year, and launched new products and services in response to market demands. Splitting off non-core activities has been very successful for US and European telecoms operators,» he stressed. Vassilaras said that the Yellow Pages publication, the company’s mainstay telephone guide, has a 95-percent recognition rate. Five million copies are printed every year and distributed nationwide. The company recently came out with a CD version of the edition. Those who are Internet-savvy can also log on to www.xo.gr for information. With 30,000 visitors daily, the site is the fifth-most visited in the country. Another publication, the Blue Pages, seeks to promote Greek tourism and export businesses abroad. InfOTE recently launched B2B, a guide targeted at businesses and aims to match companies in all sectors of activities. Eyebrows were raised when the consortium was excluded in the screening process. Nicosia-based J&P, one of the largest construction groups in the Middle East, was among the most prominent of Cypriot firms on the list. The Politis newspaper reported yesterday that its complaints at being ditched went as far as the presidential palace.