ECONOMY

OTE profits drop; year outlook stable

OTE telecom disappointed the market yesterday by reporting a 97 percent drop in second-quarter net profits due to weaker mobile and fixed-line revenues and a one-off retirement package. Net profits at OTE, which is 30 percent-owned by Deutsche Telekom, fell to 4.7 million euros from 159.3 million euros last year. Analysts were looking for a profit figure of 47 million euros. «The second quarter of the year saw further weakening of the economies in the countries where we operate,» said OTE CEO Panagis Vourloumis in a statement. OTE has been expanding its footprint in Southeastern Europe in recent years and is present in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Albania. Expecting continued weakness in the economy in the second half of the year, CEO Vourloumis added that the group’s objective would be to maintain profitability «roughly in line» with that achieved in full-year 2008. Group sales declined 6.5 percent to 1.487 billion euros in the second quarter, compared to the same period a year ago. OTE said mobile arm Cosmote showed a 4.1 percent rise in revenues in Greece for the second quarter and continued to gain market share, adding 381,000 net subscribers to bring its total customer base to 8.8 million, up 27 percent from the same quarter last year.