ECONOMY

In Brief

Eurobank seen showing 66 percent profit drop EFG Eurobank, Greece’s second-largest bank, is expected to report a 66 percent drop in first-quarter net profits, hit by higher loan-loss provisions and slower volumes at home and in the Balkans. Analysts polled by Reuters expect the bank to post net profits of 72.9 million euros ($102 million) on average, with forecasts ranging from 62-86 million. Analysts cited a rise in nonperforming loans at home and in Southeast Europe, hit by the global economic downturn, and a squeeze in spreads due to intense competition for deposits during the first quarter. EFG has operations in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Turkey, Poland and Ukraine. «Net interest income is seen down 9.7 percent quarter-on-quarter and 3 percent year-on-year, mainly due to the high funding costs stemming from high deposit rates prevailing in the Greek market for the bulk of the first quarter and minimal credit expansion,» Euroxx Securities analyst Manos Giakoumis said in a note. (Reuters) Korres posts 8.8 pct rise in Q1 earnings Korres SA, the Greek cosmetics and creams maker, posted an 8.8 percent increase in profits in the first quarter to 1.7 million euros. Sales increased 28 percent to 14.5 million euros, according to an Athens bourse filing. (Bloomberg) Lending shrinks Alpha Bank SA, Greece’s third-largest lender, may report that first-quarter profits fell as income from lending shrank and loan-loss impairment charges increased. Net income probably slid to 75.1 million euros ($104.9 million) from 205 million euros a year earlier, according to the median estimate of eight analysts in a Bloomberg News survey. Lending income may decline 8.5 percent to 404 million euros, the forecast showed. Loan-loss charges may more than double to 157.2 million euros from 67.6 million euros. The company is scheduled to report earnings today after the Athens Exchange closes. (Bloomberg) Cotton rejected Egypt’s agricultural quarantine authority said yesterday it had rejected a shipment of 740 tons of ginned Greek cotton at the port of Alexandria because it contained cotton seeds. «The shipment was rejected because we found intact cotton seeds in it and we don’t want those to mix with Egyptian cotton seed varieties in order to safeguard their quality,» Ali Soliman, head of the Central Administration for Agricultural Quarantine, told Reuters. Ginned cotton is cotton that has been processed to remove cotton seeds. The shipment was imported by textile company Arab Polvara, and the company has been given the choice of exporting the shipment to another country or destroying it, according to Soliman. (Reuters) Lafarge probe Lafarge SA, the world’s biggest cement maker, is under investigation by the Romanian competition regulator for abusing its market power in violation of the country’s antitrust rules. The Competition Council raided Lafarge facilities in Romania and opened the probe last week, a spokeswoman said by phone from Bucharest yesterday. (Bloomberg)