Titan Cement said yesterday first-quarter group net profit rose 23 percent, mainly helped by increased demand in the domestic market. Group net profit after minorities increased 23 percent year-on-year to 19 million euros, in line with market expectations. «First-quarter results are not necessarily representative of the rest of the year due to the seasonal nature of the group’s products,» the company said, referring to expectations of higher growth in the remaining quarters of the year. Apart from Greece, Titan has operations in the USA, Egypt, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria. It said that a pick-up in Greek government infrastructure projects had helped support domestic sales growth as had stronger private construction activity. Earnings from the USA were dented after the September 11 attacks but the company said the market there had stabilized. An oversupply of cement in the Egyptian market and foreign exchange instability weighed on earnings there. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased 8 percent to 49 million euros versus the same period a year earlier. Group sales rose 4 percent to 228 million euros. At parent company level, first-quarter net profit increased 23 percent to 17 million euros. (Reuters) The council’s hard drachma policy and anti-inflationary stand brought inflation down to single digits. Its strategy enabled the government to slash the fiscal deficit and set a downward course for the large debt-to-GDP ratio.