ECONOMY

In Brief

Titan Cement net profits fall in first quarter Titan, Greece’s biggest cement producer, said yesterday first-quarter net profits fell 50 percent to 21.3 million euros due to slower construction activity in the United States and Greece. Net profits were below analysts’ average forecast of 22.4 million euros in a Reuters poll. Revenues declined 9.5 percent to 307.9 million euros, slightly below analysts’ average forecast of 309.7 million euros. «Management remains focused on generating positive cash flows, prudently managing liquidity, reducing debt levels and containing operating and administrative costs,» the company stated. Its stock in the Athens Exchange posted a 5.97 percent rise yesterday, outperforming the rest of blue chips. (Reuters) DryShips in agreement with Deutsche Bank Dry-bulk shipper DryShips Inc said it has reached an agreement with Deutsche Bank AG on waiver terms for a $1.125 billion credit facility. DryShips, which has been battling a debt overload and working with its lenders to obtain covenant waivers, said this facility covers two drillships that are currently under construction. The company has already received covenant waivers for about $1 billion of its debt. «We are delivering the waivers as promised and we hope to conclude discussions with the rest of the lenders in the near future,» the company’s CEO George Economou stated. (Reuters) New HACT board The new governing board of the Hellenic American Chamber of Tourism (HACT) was elected yesterday. Its new president is George Trivizas, the chairman of Hellenic Cruises / Greek Hotel Reservation Center. The vice presidents are Notis Martakis, chairman of Skal International Athens, and Giorgos Tsakiris, honorary chairman of the Athens Hotel Association (EXA). Its secretary is Stephanos Costopoulos, the former president of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce. Hellenic Bank loss Cyprus’s Hellenic Bank recorded a net loss of 12.8 million euros in the first quarter of 2009, it said yesterday. The bank, Cyprus’s third largest, said earnings were down on a reduction in interest income and said it also increased its provisioning amid difficult economic conditions. It made a net profit of 21 million euros in the first quarter of 2008. «The results are not necessarily representative of the whole year,» the bank said. Net interest income amounted to 43.6 million euros, down from 52.2 million euros in the same period last year. (Reuters) Romania pipeline Romania is committed to the European Union-backed Nabucco gas pipeline, but will consider other projects if talks do not move forward, leaving a door open to a rival Russian project, a senior official said yesterday. «Romania can afford to wait, but it cannot wait long,» Deputy Economy Minister Tudor Serban told an energy seminar. «If Nabucco does not materialize… it is clear that [Romania] will enter talks for a project, I don’t want to say which one now.» (Reuters) Serbia and IMF Serbia will ask the International Monetary Fund in August to approve an expansion of its fiscal deficit to 4 percent of gross domestic product from a previously agreed 3 percent, Finance Minister Diana Dragutinovic said yesterday during a panel discussion organized by Reuters. (Reuters)