ECONOMY

In Brief

Hellas Online posts 17 mln euro first half loss Greek Internet and alternate telecom provider Hellas Online (HOL) posted a loss in the first six months of the year after increased spending on infrastructure, it said yesterday. HOL’s pretax loss widened to 17.6 million euros ($25.89 million) from 14.7 million euros in the same period last year, as it spent about 43.5 million euros in the first half to expand its network, it said. «The company’s performance in the first half of the year indicates that our business development plans are starting to bear fruit,» HOL Chief Executive Nasos Zarkalis said in a statement. The company reported a loss of 3.1 million euros for its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), narrowing from an 8.5 million-euro loss in the same period last year. Sales more than doubled to 47.5 million from 20.5 million euros. HOL, in which holding group Intracom owns 84 percent, began trading on the Athens Exchange earlier this year. Unibrain, a computer software maker controlled by Intracom, acquired its Internet business in an all-stock deal. (Reuters) Lamda Development sees slide in net income Lamda Development SA, a Greek property developer, said first-half profit fell after the sale price was reduced for its 49 percent stake in shopping center, The Mall, in Athens. Net income declined to 16.1 million euros ($23.7 million) for the six months ended June 30 from 23.5 million euros for the same period a year earlier, according to a statement to the Athens Exchange yesterday. Sales fell 34 percent to 33.9 million euros. (Bloomberg) Company approved Edison SpA, Italy’s second-biggest power generator, and Greece’s Hellenic Petroleum SA received European antitrust approval to set up a jointly operated power generation company in Greece. The European Commission said it approved the transaction in a statement yesterday. The venture «would not significantly impede effective competition» in the 27-nation EU, the Brussels-based agency said. The venture will tap growing demand for power in Greece and possibly in eastern Europe. The partnership is seeking to become Greece’s second-largest power producer behind former monopoly Public Power Corporation. Greece’s electricity demand grew by 50 percent in the last decade, according to the US Energy Department. The new company may produce as much as 2,000 megawatts of electricity and will have a 75 percent stake in a thermal power generation unit. (Bloomberg) Romanian investment Czech power group CEZ plans to build a 1.1 billion euro ($1.62 billion) wind park in Romania, the largest of its kind in Europe, in a move to offset emissions from dirtier coal-fired power plants. CEZ said the two-stage, 600-megawatt project would be built 17 km (10 miles) from the Black Sea shore, north of the port of Constanta, and would be around twice the size of the next biggest onshore wind farm in Europe. Just over half the wind park would come on line in 2009 and the rest a year later, CEZ said. The project will be one of the largest new foreign investments in European Union newcomer Romania, and signals a vote of confidence in its cash-hungry economy which grapples with poor infrastructure and incompetent administration. (Reuters)