ECONOMY

In Brief

Eurobank likely to report 8.2 pct drop in profits EFG Eurobank, Greece’s second-largest lender, is expected to report a 8.2 percent drop in full-year 2008 net profits on slowing loan growth in Greece and Southeast Europe and higher loan-loss provisions. Based on the average forecast in a Reuters poll of nine analysts, the group is seen as posting net profits of 748.2 million euros ($941 million), down from 814.6 million in 2007. Estimates ranged from 647 to 853 million euros. «The slowdown of lending in Greece and the wider region and higher provisions for bad loans due to a worsening market environment have resulted in lower profits for 2008,» said analyst Nikos Koskoletos at P&K Securities. Eurobank also operates in Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Serbia, Poland, Turkey and Ukraine. (Reuters) DryShips sells ship for $30.8 million DryShips Inc, a transporter of commodities including iron ore and coal, said it sold one Panamax-class ship at a reduced price and received compensation for the failed sale of a second. The Paragon, built in 1995, was sold to an unidentified buyer for $30.8 million. DryShips, based in Athens, originally said it would sell the vessel for $61 million. The shipowner said yesterday in a statement that it would record a gain of about $2.1 million on the sale in the first quarter. The sale of a second Panamax carrier, the La Jolla, was canceled and DryShips said it would receive compensation of $9 million. (Bloomberg) Manufacturing Greece’s manufacturing sector contracted again in February, with the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) dropping to a new record low of 38.9 from January’s 40.0, a monthly survey of manufacturers showed yesterday. Operating conditions in Greece’s manufacturing economy worsened for the sixth month in a row and at an accelerated pace in February, with a record fall in new orders. The 50-point mark separates contraction from growth. Incoming new business fell and new orders from the domestic market were particularly poor, Markit data showed. (Reuters) Tough year Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, said 2009 will be a «tough» year as passenger numbers decline amid the global financial crisis. The poor economic climate contributed to a decrease in first-class ticket demand, and the airline is struggling to fill economy seats, CEO James Hogan said yesterday at a news conference in Abu Dhabi, where the carrier is based. Business-class seats are «holding up,» he said. «We hit our January numbers; February and March will be a tough ride,» Hogan said. The airline flew more than 6 million passengers in 2008, introducing nine aircraft and adding six routes. Etihad is forecasting revenues of $3 billion this year and plans to start service to Melbourne, Athens, Istanbul, Chicago, Larnaca, Cyprus and Hyderabad. (Bloomberg) No dividend Babis Vovos International Construction SA, a Greek property developer, told the Athens bourse in a filing it doesn’t plan to pay a dividend on earnings last year. Vovos will announce full-year earnings on March 31, according to the filing. (Bloomberg)