ECONOMY

In Brief

Germanos eyes Turkish and Serbian markets Phone and accessory retailer Germanos plans to expand into two more countries this year to cash in on growing mobile phone usage. «We expect to enter two other markets in 2006, Turkey and Serbia,» Germanos CEO Ioannis Karagiannis said at a conference with analysts yesterday. Germanos – with around 900 outlets in Greece, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Ukraine – said it aimed to expand its network to 1,500 shops in the next two years. Foreign operations accounted for around 30 percent of Germanos total sales of 1 billion euros last year. The company expects the contribution to rise to 35-40 percent this year. Germanos said it might return capital to shareholders if it secured cash from an asset sale, as of Hellenic Duty Free Shops, in which Germanos holds a 24.7 percent stake. (Reuters) Nation’s shopkeepers doubt their prospects Self-employment in Greece accounts for 40.2 percent of the total against an average of 15.6 percent in the 25-member EU, an Alpha Bank study shows. But intensifying competition appears to be spreading pessimism among the self-employed. According to another study by GPO, conducted from December 5 to 9, one in three businessmen would prefer a job in the public sector and one in 10 in the private sector. Roughly half of them believe there is no future for small and midsized businesses. More than half of all new businesses are based in Attica and are service-oriented. InfoQuest IT group Infoquest returned to profit last year, boosted by the performance of its telecoms unit Q-Telecom, which it sold last month, the IT group said in a stock market filing yesterday. Net profit came to 12 million euros versus a loss of 2 million euro in 2004. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose by 177 percent to 40 million euros, with sales up 13 percent to 537 million euros. «The improvement in the group’s results was due to Q-Telecom’s exceptional financial performance,» Infoquest said. (Reuters) Retail sales Greece’s retail sales volume rose 2.3 percent year-on-year in December, picking up from a 1.6 percent pace in November, the country’s statistics service said yesterday Retail sales by revenues rose 5.0 percent year-on-year in December compared with a 5.1 percent annual clip in November. (Reuters) CCHBC Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling (CCHBC) will propose a 2005 dividend per share of 0.30 euro at the annual meeting on June 20, it said yesterday. (Reuters)