ECONOMY

In Brief

Tsakos Q1 profit drops 61 pct on lower rates Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd, owner of crude and natural gas tankers, said first-quarter profit fell 61 percent on lower shipping rates and as a gain on a ship sale wasn’t repeated. Net income declined to $24.5 million, or 66 cents per share, from $65.1 million, or $1.70 a share, a year earlier, Athens-based Tsakos said yesterday in a statement. Earnings beat the average of two analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg of 51 cents a share. Sales fell 7.6 percent to $126.3 million from $136.7 million. Tsakos was able to deflect some of the downfall in shipping rates by placing the majority of its fleet under multiple-voyage, time-charter contracts. Shipping rates in the first quarter dropped 49 percent from a year ago as lower demand during the recession prompted the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut oil output. Members agreed last year to trim production by 4.2 million barrels a day. (Bloomberg) EYATH sees earnings growth of 18 percent Greece’s second-largest water utility EYATH expects first-quarter earnings growth of around 18 percent year-on-year thanks to drastic cost cuts, the company’s chief executive said yesterday. «First-quarter profit growth will be around the 2008 [full-year] growth rate,» EYATH’s CEO Giorgos Skodras, told Reuters. «Sales [in the first quarter] increased by about 6 to 8 percent.» Greece will seek a strategic investor this year for state-controlled Thessaloniki Water (EYATH), which grew 2008 earnings by 18.6 percent to 15 million euros ($20.2 million). (Reuters) New bank Srbijagas, Serbia’s natural-gas distributor, and Russia’s OAO Gazprom will open a new bank to fund the Serbian section of the planned South Stream pipeline.The two companies will set up the bank in Serbia to «make realization of the pipeline easier,» Srbijagas Chief Executive Officer Dusan Bajatovic told reporters yesterday in Belgrade. «The new bank will probably be a part of Gazprombank, but we are still in the process of talks.» Alexei Miller, CEO of Moscow-based Gazprom, signed accords on the South Stream project with Serbian, Bulgarian, Greek and Italian energy companies in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. (Bloomberg) Securitization Cypriot lender Bank of Cyprus has completed the securitization of 1 billion euros ($1.34 billion) in mortgage debt, it said yesterday. The bank said the project was carried out through its Greek operations, since there is no provision in Cypriot law for debt securitization. «We have signed for the securitization of debt in Greece worth 1 billion euros,» Chief Executive Andreas Eliades said. «It will be a useful tool to absorb cash from the European Central Bank at lower interest rates.» (Reuters) Piraeus in Egypt Piraeus Bank Egypt, a unit of Greece’s Piraeus Bank SA, said first-quarter profit fell 28 percent. Net income declined to 22.3 million Egyptian pounds ($4 million) from 31 million pounds in the year-earlier period, the Cairo-based bank said in a statement to the Egyptian Stock Exchange. (Bloomberg)