ECONOMY

In Brief

Growth abroad helps Titan boost third-quarter profit Cement firm Titan beat market expectations yesterday as it posted a 27 percent rise in third quarter net profit, thanks to robust growth from its foreign operations. Third-quarter net profit rose to 78 million euros ($91.70 million), with nine-month net profit up 13 percent to 156 million euros. A Reuters poll of 10 analysts had forecast an average third-quarter net profit of 64.8 million euros. Third-quarter operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased 17 percent to 124 million euros. Sales rose 23 percent to 382 million. «Operating EBITDA growth is due to the strong performance of the group’s international operations, especially the US,» Titan said, adding that the group’s recent expansion to southeastern Europe also had a positive impact on results. Titan has operations in the United States, Egypt, Bulgaria and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as well as Greece. (Reuters) Cypriot euro plan calls for spending cap, higher retirement age NICOSIA (Reuters) – An economic plan designed to usher Cyprus into the eurozone by January 2008 will see national retirement ages increase and a cap on annual government spending, according to an outline released late on Wednesday. The plan calls for an increase in the national retirement age to 65 from 63. It will also seek to impose a two percent ceiling on growth in annual current expenditure, designed to drag the budget deficit from its forecast 2.5 percent in 2005 to 0.6 percent of GDP by 2009. Gambling profits Gambling in Athens and a one-off gain from an asset sale drove Greece’s largest casino operator Hyatt’s nine-month net profit up 49.4 percent to 51.5 million euros ($60.54 million), the company announced yesterday. Mount Parnes, the sole casino in Athens, in which Hyatt holds a 34.3 percent stake, posted a 12.1 percent rise in nine-month sales to 106.5 million euros. Of this amount, the contribution from table games grew 18.8 percent to 53 million euros, while revenues from slot machines rose 6.6 percent to 52.2 million euros. Visits to the casino were up 13.4 percent to 564.600 guests. Hyatt said net profit was also lifted by a 17-million-euro gain from the sale of its 20.1 percent stake in Lampsa Hotels, owner of the landmark Grande Bretagne hotel in central Athens, earlier this year. Earnings before tax and minorities rose 22 percent to 84.6 million euros, with gross sales, on which the government levies a gaming tax of around 32 percent. Hyatt also operates a casino and hotel in northern Greece. (Reuters) German publisher German magazine publisher Gruner und Jahr, a unit of media giant Bertelsmann, said yesterday that it has acquired a 50 percent stake in the leading Greek magazine publisher Daphne Communications. Set up in 1995, Daphne Communications is owned by the Antenna Group, Greece’s biggest private television company. Daphne’s 11 titles include the women’s magazine Diva and the lifestyle magazine Oikia. (AFP)