In Brief

Coke bottler 2Q profit beats expectations Greece’s Coca-Cola Hellenic (CCH) posted better-than-expected second-quarter profits yesterday, as cost savings offset pressure on sales volumes, and said trading conditions would remain tough due to the economic slump. CCH, the world’s second-largest bottler of Coca-Cola drinks, said net profits rose 7 percent year-on-year to 194 million euros ($279.2 million), excluding restructuring costs and nonrecurring items, beating an average analyst forecast of 171.4 million euros. The global economic downturn has seen consumers cut spending on soft drinks, hurting CCH’s retail business. The firm, 23.3 percent-owned by Coca-Cola, bottles Coke-branded products in 27 countries across Europe and in Nigeria. «Challenging global economic conditions continued to impact negatively on consumer spending and our sales volumes in the second quarter,» Doros Constantinou, CCH managing director, said. (Reuters) Greek economic sentiment dips in July Greek economic sentiment fell for the first time in four months in July, as higher unemployment and new tax measures hurt consumer confidence. The index, which measures short-term economic trends, slipped to 57.2 points from 59 points in June, the highest level since November, the Athens-based Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said in a statement yesterday. Sentiment worsened mainly on the decline in consumer confidence, with marginal changes recorded in other segments of the report, IOBE said. Consumer confidence declined 4 points to minus 49, possibly hit by a government announcement of new taxes in late June, the foundation said. Among the 27 European Union countries, only Lithuania and Hungary have lower July consumer confidence expectations, the report said. The results buck the trend across Europe. An index of executive and consumer sentiment in the 16 nations that use the euro rose to 76, the highest since November, from 73.2 in June, the European Commission in Brussels said on July 30. (Bloomberg) Sex cruises Cyprus is to toughen its supervision of coastal shipping activities following reported incidents of travel agencies organizing sex orgy cruises. It plans to send «the message that Cyprus is a quality tourism destination, which is very important after some recent reports have seen the light of day,» said the country’s Transport Minister Nikos Nikolaidis, according to a statement yesterday on the website of the Interior Ministry’s Public Information Office. Travel agencies in the resort of Ayia Napa are organizing nighttime sex cruises for young tourists involving the use of drugs and alcohol, smearing the international tourism image of Cyprus, the Simerini daily reported. (Bloomberg) Rights issue Greek pharmaceutical firm Alapis fixed a 451-million-euro ($649.1 million) rights issue at a deeply discounted 0.46 euros per new share yesterday, sending its shares lower. The rights issue is the second biggest in the country this year, after National Bank of Greece’s 1.25-billion-euro rights issue in July. «The company intends to use the net proceeds from the share capital increase to repay part of its existing short-term debt, finance expected working capital requirements and pursue targeted acquisitions of companies and other assets,» Alapis said in a statement. (Reuters)