ECONOMY

In Brief

OTE Q2 profit rises on mobile phone growth OTE, Greece’s largest telecoms group, yesterday reported a rise in second-quarter profit that matched market forecasts, helped by an increased take-up for its mobile phone and Internet operations. The former monopoly is looking to part-owner Deutsche Telekom for help to boost its mobile business in the Balkans and secure future growth to counter falling domestic fixed-line revenues from increased competition from alternative operators. »Our mobile operations achieved dynamic growth and market share gains in all countries,» Chief Executive Panagis Vourloumis said in a statement. »We have started exploring joint areas of improvement with our new partner Deutsche Telekom.» OTE’s net profit rose 17 percent to 159.3 million euros ($235.6 million). Analysts had on average forecast a profit of 158 million euros in a Reuters poll. OTE’s Cosmote mobile unit, which was fully bought out earlier this year and delisted, saw sales advance 8 percent to 794 million euros. It accounted for half of the group’s revenues. (Reuters) PPC slides into the red as fuel costs rise Public Power Corp., Greece’s biggest electricity producer, reported a bigger first-half loss than analysts expected as it took a charge for carbon emission permits and as fuel costs rose. The shares fell the most in two months. The net loss was 111.8 million euros ($164.9 million), compared with a profit of 99.4 million euros a year earlier, according to an e-mailed statement from the Athens-based company. That missed the median forecast of a 5.7 million-euro loss in a Bloomberg survey of seven analysts. The figure includes a provision of 56.9 million euros. The inclusion of the charge is to «cover the estimated deficit in the first half of 2008, although we could recognize the expense when it is actually incurred,» Public Power said in the statement. Stripping out the charge, the net loss was 56.5 million euros, according to the company. A higher fuel bill, dry winters and controls on the tariffs Public Power can charge its customers are damping earnings at the former power monopoly. (Bloomberg) MPB grows Marfin Popular Bank (MPB) said yesterday first-half net profit rose 7 percent year-on-year to 220.4 million euros on strong growth across all its regions. The figure is adjusted for income and profit from discontinued operations. Net interest income rose 8 percent to 359.3 million euros while net fees and commission income hit 147.1 million euros, up 32.3 percent. «The results for the first half of 2008 point to a significant improvement in operating performance, a trend we as management expect to be maintained in the coming quarters,» said CEO Efthimios Bouloutas. The bank is present in Cyprus, Greece, UK, Serbia and Australia. Port profits fall Thessaloniki Port Authority SA, the operator of Greece’s second-biggest port, said profit in the second quarter fell by more than half as a strike at the dock crimped sales. Net income declined to 2.3 million euros ($3.4 million) from 4.9 million euros in the year-earlier period, according to a financial statement published. Sales declined to 13.7 million euros from 18 million euros, the statement showed. Workers at the dock agreed on June 5 to halt a boycott of overtime and weekend work at the harbor. (Bloomberg)