ECONOMY

Oil prices and rainfall boost PPC profits

Public Power Corporation (PPC), Greece’s largest electricity company, reported a larger-than-expected jump in first-quarter profits, thanks to falling petrol prices and strong rainfall that powered hydroelectricity plants. Net profit for the first three months of the year rose to 219.5 million euros from 30 million a year earlier, beating analysts’ forecasts of 200 million. «The year 2009 began with quite positive prospects, mainly attributed… to the sharp drop in oil and energy purchase and the increased hydro-generation due to significant snowfall and rainfall,» PPC CEO Takis Athanassopoulos said in a statement. PPC said spending on liquid fuels, natural gas and energy purchases decreased 36 percent on an annual basis due to falling oil prices and lower electricity demand. «The main standout from the release was the lower-than-expected decline in the volume sold and the positive sales mix effect,» said Proton Securities in a note to investors. The slowing economy has resulted in a reduction in power consumption rates, particularly among PPC’s industrial customers. Shares in PPC, which has a market value of 3.8 billion euros, advanced 1.89 percent on the Athens bourse to 14.57 euros, versus a 3.80 percent rise on the broader market.