ECONOMY

In Brief

OPAP seen posting 27 pct rise in 3Q profit Europe’s biggest betting firm, OPAP, is expected to post a 27.6 percent rise in third-quarter profit, thanks to the absence of a substantial one-off cost this year and lower operating expenses, analysts said yesterday. Eight analysts polled by Reuters forecast group net profit of 143 million euros ($182.7 million) on average, up from 112 million in the same period last year. Analysts said the absence this year of a 25-million-euro donation OPAP offered to Greece’s fire victims in the third quarter last year, operating cost containment and a lower payout to winners of OPAP’s fixed-odds sports bet Stoichima are seen boosting the bottom line. Excluding the one-off cost from last year’s third-quarter numbers, OPAP’s net profit is expected to grow 9.4 percent this year. Revenues are expected to slow compared with the second quarter, showing single-digit growth, with Stoichima sales seen up 2.4 percent, as reduced sports betting activity after the European Soccer Cup last summer weighed. (Reuters) Iberdrola gets OK to buy remainder of Rokas Iberdrola SA, the world’s largest wind-park operator, said it got Greek approval to buy the remainder of C. Rokas SA. The Hellenic Capital Market Commission approved the purchase on November 14, the Madrid-based company said in a statement posted yesterday on its website. The company offered to buy the shares it does not own in Greece’s largest wind-farm operator for 175 million euros ($220 million), or 16 euros per ordinary share and 11 euros for each preferred share, the company said. (Bloomberg) Tax evasion Bulgaria loses some 1.5 billion levs ($972.8 million) a year from tax evasion in the labor market as nearly half of its people are employed unofficially in the «gray economy,» a study showed yesterday. The study by Bulgaria’s independent pollster Mediana, sponsored by the Social and Labor Ministry, showed that 48 percent of the officially employed receive payments totaling 4.2 billion levs a year that are not being taxed. «Almost half of the labor market has one foot in the gray economy,» Mediana’s chief executive Kolio Kolev told a news conference. People who work without contracts get some 600 million levs a year of unofficial salaries, the study showed. The real average monthly wage in the country is about 667 levs, while the officially declared wage is about 490 levs, Kolev said. Tax cuts and improved government controls have shrunk the European Union newcomer’s unofficial economy by about one-third in the past five years, but its share still remains large, the independent Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) said in a report earlier this year. (Reuters) Gas supply Turkey said yesterday Iran had given assurances it would not cut its gas exports this winter, after supplies to Turkey were disrupted last winter. Ankara imports about 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) a year of gas from Iran, about 30 percent of its natural gas needs, and has been looking to increase supplies. Iran sits on the world’s second-biggest gas reserves but last winter Iran cut exports to Turkey in an unusually cold snap when Tehran struggled to meet domestic demand. (Reuters)