ECONOMY

In Brief

Alpha Bank Q2 profits seen up 5 percent Alpha Bank, Greece’s third-biggest lender, is expected to say second-quarter profit increased 5.7 percent on higher income from lending at home and in Southeast Europe. Net income likely rose to 209.1 million euros ($306.9 million) from 197.8 million euros a year earlier, according to the median estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Lending income should have increased 17 percent to 456.7 million euros, the survey showed. The Athens-based bank is opening more branches in Eastern European countries, such as Romania and Bulgaria, to tap demand for mortgages and consumer loans. Operating costs probably climbed 11 percent to 278.6 million euros, according to the survey. Loan-loss provisions may have increased to 71 million euros from 40.2 million euros, the survey showed. The company is scheduled to report earnings on August 26 after the Athens Exchange closes. (Bloomberg) OPAP tipped to get boost from Euro 08 tournament Europe’s biggest betting company, OPAP, is expected to report a 34 percent rise in first-half profits on robust revenues from the Euro 2008 soccer championships and lower costs, analysts said yesterday. Ten analysts polled by Reuters forecast, on average, group net profits of 382.2 million euros ($561 million), up from 285.3 million in the same period last year. Increased betting during the Euro 2008 soccer championships in June are seen as boosting OPAP’s revenues from its two flagship games: fixed-odds sports betting format Stoichima and its Kino lottery. «We expect a good set of results on the back of continuing strong Kino growth and a strong Stoichima performance on Euro 2008,» Credit Suisse said in a preview note. Industry sources have said Stoichima revenues from Euro 2008 have reached about 200 million euros, with analysts forecasting total first-half sales for the game of 1.236 billion euros, up 23.7 percent year-on-year. Stoichima was also seen as benefiting from lower payouts to winners. (Reuters) Casino earnings Queenco Leisure International Ltd, an Israeli operator of casinos in emerging markets, reported a 9 percent drop in second-quarter profits after the dollar’s slide against the euro led to foreign exchange losses. Net income fell to 4.8 million euros ($7.1 million), or 0.7 cents a share, from 5.3 million euros, or 0.8 cents, a year earlier, the Ramat Gan, Israel-based company said yesterday in a statement. Currency losses were 2.5 million euros, according to Queenco, which keeps part of its cash funds in dollars to finance a development project in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Queenco, which operates casinos in Greece, Romania and Serbia, plans to open a nightclub and slot-machine hall in Prague at the end of the year. (Bloomberg) Energy plans OMV AG, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc and investor Celal Metin plan to build a gas power plant in Turkey to tap rising energy demand in the nation of 70 million people. The joint venture for the plant in the city of Samsun was approved by the European Commission, the Brussels-based body said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. OMV, Central Europe’s biggest oil company, is also building a power plant in Romania and is considering more plants in Germany and the Balkans. (Bloomberg)