ECONOMY

PPC plan to upgrade plants, network

Public Power Corporation (PPC) plans to build new power plants and update its transmission network as part of its five-year business plan, its president Takis Athanassopoulos said yesterday. Athanassopoulos said the 2009-2014 business plan aims at minimizing PPC’s dependence on high-cost energy, tapping low-cost fuel sources and increasing the capacity of its plants. «As part of this plan, certain steps are already under way to to raise the necessary capital and finance the program,» he said. PPC’s 2009 budget, approved by its board of directors on Tuesday, has earmarked 1.2 billion euros for investments and targets pre-tax earnings of 621 million euros, including 90 million euros in cost savings. PPC, which posted a loss in the first nine months of last year, has not yet reported 2008 earnings. PPC’s budget also projects revenues of 5.74 billion euros for 2009 and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 1.29 billion. The state-controlled utility is basing its forecasts on an average Brent oil price of $55 per barrel and a euro/dollar exchange rate of 1.25. Earlier this week, the Development Ministry, which oversees PPC, said the utility would not raise tariffs this year, citing the economic downturn and drop in oil prices.