ECONOMY

In Brief

Intracom posts H1 loss; Intralot wins from World Cup Telecoms equipment-maker Intracom posted a first-half net loss of 18.1 million euros yesterday on a capital loss after it sold 51 percent in subsidiary Intracom Telecom to Russia’s Sistema in June. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 34.2 percent to 39.3 million euros, in line with market expectations. New contracts the company signed in the first half worth 406.6 million euros and a 12-million-euro capital gain from the sale of its holding in internet provider Forthnet contributed to the EBITDA rise. «Nevertheless, increased competition continues to keep margins compressed,» Marfin Analysis wrote in a note. In contrast, Intracom’s lottery systems subsidiary Intralot posted a strong rise in first-half profit, boosted by World Cup soccer revenues, with analysts saying investors would focus on future lottery tenders. Intralot said net profit grew 51 percent to 55.2 million euros, from a downward revised 36.5 million in the same period last year. (Reuters) Bulgaria nuclear watchdog clears reactor restart SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria’s nuclear regulator said yesterday a 1,000-megawatt unit at nuclear power plant Kozloduy can be brought back online after a thorough check showed the reactor was safe after an incident in March. The reactor was shut down for planned annual maintenance on June 17, two months after a technical malfunction at the unit was assessed as «level two» under the zero-to-seven International Nuclear Events Scale (INES), in which seven is the most serious. «Planned repair works and corrections on the malfunctioned rods were implemented according to the agency’s criteria… The conclusion is that it is safe to put the reactor back online,» the Nuclear Regulation Agency said in a statement. The nuclear plant said the reactor is expected to be plugged back into the national grid in early September. Its other units – two 440-megawatt and another 1,000-megawatt reactors – were operational, the plant’s spokeswoman said. Louis H1 gains up 21 pct Core earnings of Cypriot tourism hotel and cruise operator Louis Plc rose 21 percent in the first half of the year and it said that full-year gains were expected to grow on the results of 2005. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortization and rents (EBITDAR) reached 10.0 million Cyprus pounds ($22.2 million) for the period ending June 30 from 8.2 million in the first half of 2005. Citing the seasonality of its cruise and hotel sectors, the group said its pretax loss for 2006 was 4.7 million, easing from the 8.5 million loss of last year. (Reuters) Merrill Lynch in Turkey. Merrill Lynch has agreed to buy Turkish bank Tat Yatirim Bankasi (Tatbank), including its brokerage unit Tat Menkul, the US-based brokerage said yesterday. (Reuters)