ECONOMY

In Brief

OPAP’s net gains rise 12.3 pct, meet forecasts Gaming monopoly OPAP, Europe’s biggest betting firm, reported a 12.3 percent rise in third-quarter net profit yesterday as bumper revenues from sports betting exceeded increased payouts to winners. Third-quarter net profit rose to 127.3 million euros. Revenues from OPAP’s flagship fixed-odds sports game, Stoichima, rose 57.9 percent year-on-year after the company added Greek soccer matches in August. The World Cup soccer tournament earlier in the year also helped. «We are very pleased to announce continued solid growth, driven by a particularly strong performance in our leading games, Stoichima and Kino,» CEO Vassilis Neiadas said in a statement. «The management’s efforts are now focused on the successful in-house operation of Stoichima.» The firm said it would pay an interim dividend of 0.55 euros per share, up from 0.48 euros last year. (Reuters) Heracles Cement 9-month profits down 39.1 percent Cement producer Heracles, majority-owned by France’s Lafarge, said yesterday nine-month net profit after tax fell 39.1 percent, due to a one-off gain last year. Heracles said net profits fell to 52.5 million euros from 86.2 million last year, when it had extraordinary income from the refund of 44.1 million euros from the Greek state. Nine-month group revenues increased 14.5 percent to 513.1 million euros, due to increased volumes in domestic sales and higher export prices, which offset a rise in fuel and raw material costs. Heracles operates three cement plants in Greece, with total annual production of 9.6 million tons. (Reuters) Geniki Bank Geniki Bank, majority-owned by France’s Societe Generale, yesterday reported a group net loss of 36.8 million euros for the first nine months of the year versus a net profit of 3.9 million in the same period in 2005. Geniki said loan-loss provisions in the nine-month period reached 48 million euros, up from 8.6 million in the same period a year earlier, as the bank adopted stricter credit risk assessment criteria on retail loans. The increase in provisions follows a yearlong restructuring effort by the bank. CEO Jacques Tournebize told Reuters in July he expects the bank to turn profitable next year with provisions keeping it in the red this year. The bank said retail credit – consumer loans and mortgages – grew 14 and 32 percent year-on-year respectively. Total deposits rose 2.5 percent to 2.5 billion euros. (Reuters) Producer prices Greek producer price inflation dropped to 2.3 percent annual pace in October, slowing from 3.6 percent the previous month, data released by the National Statistics Service showed. (Reuters) Serb dinar Serbia’s central bank yesterday bought 30.5 million euros in its seventh consecutive intervention to halt a further rise in the dinar in a market awash with euros, dealers said. The dinar closed at 78.65 to the euro, unchanged from Tuesday. (Reuters)