ECONOMY

In Brief

Intralot expects roughly unchanged net profits Greek lottery systems supplier Intralot expects net profit to be roughly flat this year although sales should grow compared to 2008, its chief executive said yesterday. The world’s second-largest lottery systems provider will create a new company to benefit from liberalization of online betting in Europe, CEO Constantinos Antonopoulos told an annual shareholders meeting. «[This year’s] results will be higher in terms of sales compared to 2008, with profit at about last year’s levels,» Antonopoulos said. Citing economic uncertainty, he did not provide figures. Intralot saw net earnings drop 55 percent last year to 50 million euros ($66.96 million) as one-off provisions for new projects and foreign exchanges weighed. Excluding provisions net profit last year was 91 billion euros. Antonopoulos later told Reuters he was referring to that figure in his forecast. (Reuters) Emporiki shares jump higher following sale Emporiki Bank of Greece SA, the Greek unit of France’s Credit Agricole SA, leapt the most on record after it raised 850 million euros ($1.1 billion) in a sale of new stock to shareholders. Athens-based Emporiki rose as much as 20 percent, or 1.1 euro, to 6.67 euros in mid session trade in Greece, the largest intra-day leap recorded since Bloomberg began registering data on the bank in 1992. Investors bought 82 percent of the 154.4 million new shares on sale at 5.5 euros each, according to a stock exchange filing today. Credit Agricole, which owns 73 percent of Emporiki, bought the remaining shares. (Bloomberg) Alfa-Beta Q1 Alfa-Beta Vassilopoulos SA, the Greek supermarket chain controlled by Belgium’s Delhaize Group, said first-quarter profit dropped 72 percent on lower consumer spending. Net income declined to 2.1 million euros ($2.8 million) from 7.6 million euros in the same period a year earlier, according to a statement to the Athens bourse yesterday. Sales advanced 11 percent to 347.1 million euros on two acquisitions Alfa-Beta made last year. The company plans to open 16 new stores by the end of the year, the statement said. (Bloomberg) Hellenic Bank Hellenic Bank Pcl, Cyprus’s third-biggest bank, said it got a license to begin operating in Russia, according to a statement yesterday on the Cypriot stock exchange website. (Bloomberg) Energy talks Turkey’s efforts to normalize relations with Armenia will not harm planned energy projects with Azerbaijan, including the Nabucco gas pipeline, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said yesterday. Turkey’s traditional ally Azerbaijan has objected to US-backed talks with Armenia because it wants to first resolve a dispute with Armenia over its occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave before Turkey opens its borders. «Energy will play the role of catalyst in bringing relations between Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey to a more positive level,» said Yildiz, who took over the government’s energy portfolio after a cabinet reshuffle at the weekend. «There’s no plan to delay the projects with Azerbaijan» because of the Armenian normalization talks, he said. (Reuters)