Public Power Corp’s Jan-Sept gains forecast higher on charges

The Public Power Corporation (PPC), Greece’s electricity utility, is seen posting a 41 percent rise in nine-month profit helped by increased tariffs earlier in the year. Six analysts polled by Reuters forecast an average net profit of -100.1 million, up from -71 million in the same period last year. PPC’s sales are seen rising 5.5 percent to -3.77 billion. The government allowed the utility to increase tariffs for industrial users and nighttime rates in April, a move that helped boost revenues hurt by an unseasonably warm winter. «Year-on-year increases in agricultural tariffs, industrial and night tariffs… are all expected to have contributed to the overall increased revenues,» said Nick Photopoulos, an analyst at National Securities/P&K Research, in a research note. PPC’s prices are set by the government, which owns 51 percent of the utility. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization are seen little changed at -636.2 million as a strong euro helped offset higher energy costs. A dry winter led to a decrease in energy generation from hydroelectric plants that PPC uses to lighten its fuel costs. However, a stronger euro versus the dollar compared with the year-ago period eased the burden. Analysts attribute the premium to expectations PPC will soon expand in the Balkans and hopes the government will liberalize power tariffs. (Reuters)