ECONOMY

In Brief

Cosmote Q1 net profit flat y/y, in line with forecasts Net profit at Cosmote, Greece’s largest mobile phone operator, was little changed in the first quarter year-on-year, as higher sales offset the cost of expanding abroad, the group said yesterday. Group net profit in the quarter was 74.7 million euros, compared to 75.2 million in the same period last year, as Cosmote’s subscriber base grew 38 percent to 12.2 million customers. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 13 percent to 215.2 million euros. Sales grew 39 percent to 687.6 million. (Reuters) Turkey planning to cut tourism VAT to 8 percent ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey will cut value-added tax across its crucial foreign currency-earning tourism sector to 8 percent from 18 percent, Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan said yesterday. VAT on food would also be cut, with the bulk of the measure becoming effective in 2008. While a negative for the budget it could also offset Turkey’s double-digit inflation. The move goes against advice from Turkey’s major lender the International Monetary Fund but could help the tourism industry, which is a key source of foreign currency and an important factor in reining in the gaping current account deficit. Unakitan said the plan would be announced fully in one or two days. In a further policy step yesterday, Foreign Trade Minister Kursad Tuzmen said electricity prices in free trade zones would be cut by 25 percent. Mytilineos profit drops Listed metals and engineering group Mytilineos’s first-quarter net profit dropped 62 percent, its published balance sheet showed yesterday. The group, which includes subsidiaries Metka and Aluminium of Greece, posted net profit of 22.6 million euros in the first quarter, down from 59.3 million the same period last year. Mytilineos has said it expects net profit between 145 and 159 million euros this year, boosted by its Aluminium of Greece and Delta Projects units. (Reuters) DSG-Kotsovolos Pan-European electricals retailer DSG International Plc said yesterday it had bought a further 10 percent stake in Greece’s largest high-tech gadget chain Kotsovolos, giving it 89 percent of the firm. DSG, which owns Currys and PC World stores in Britain, UniEuro in Italy and Elkjop in Nordic countries, said it had paid Greek retailer Fourlis 22.9 million euros for the stake. Formerly Dixons, DSG has a right to buy a further 10 percent from Fourlis in September 2009. However the firm, which runs IKEA franchises in Greece, can sell it a year earlier. (Reuters) Marfin-BoC Marfin Popular Bank has withdrawn its offer for a partial merger with Bank of Cyprus after an appeal by the island’s powerful Orthodox Church, a Marfin spokesman in Cyprus said yesterday. «(The offer) was withdrawn at the request of the archbishop,» a spokesman for the Nicosia-based lender said. The Church owns about 5 percent of Bank of Cyprus. (Reuters)