In Brief

National seen showing 19 percent profit drop National Bank of Greece SA, the country’s biggest lender, may say second-quarter profit fell 19 percent on higher impairment costs. Net income probably dropped to 332.5 million euros ($475.8 million) from 412 million euros a year earlier, according to the median estimate of nine analysts Bloomberg News surveyed by telephone and e-mail. The bank may have set aside 251 million euros for potential bad loans, more than twice the year-earlier figure, the survey showed. In the first quarter, the lender showed a better-than-expected 21 percent drop in net profits after its Turkish unit helped to cushion a drop in earnings at home and in Southeast Europe. The company will report second-quarter earnings next Friday after the market closes. (Bloomberg, Kathimerini) Cement companies rally in Turkey on lower rates Turkish cement companies including Heidelberg Cement AG’s Akcansa Cimento AS rose in Istanbul on speculation that demand for cement may surge after banks cut interest rates on mortgages. Akcansa added 22 kurus, or 4.8 percent, to 4.78 liras at the close in Istanbul, the highest level in 11 months. Cimsa Cimento Sanayi & Ticaret AS gained 43 kurus, or 8.6 percent, to 5.45 liras. The benchmark ISE National 100 Index rose for a third day, climbing 1.3 percent. Turkiye Garanti Bankasi AS is among Turkish banks that started reducing rates on housing loans as the central bank cut the benchmark borrowing rate to a record low of 7.75 percent on August 18. The central bank said it foresees more reductions in the «short term.» Home loans increased 0.1 percent in the week to August 14, the fourth-straight weekly gain, the central bank said in a report published on its website yesterday. «Lower lending rates should trigger more housing sales and more housing sales mean cement demand will increase in the coming period,» said Kurthan Atmaca, an analyst at Ekspres Invest in Istanbul. (Bloomberg) PPC figures Public Power Corp, Greece’s biggest electricity producer, may post a second-quarter profit after fuel prices fell. PPC probably had net income of 158 million euros ($226 million), compared with a loss of 141.8 million a year earlier, according to the median estimate of seven analysts in a Bloomberg News survey. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization probably rose to 392 million from 16.7 million euros, the survey showed. Oil prices have dropped 50 percent since peaking in July 2008, cutting costs for PPC. The Athens-based utility may also have benefited from a change in its generation mix, with a higher contribution from hydroelectric plants in the period. The former power monopoly will report earnings on Thursday. (Bloomberg) Minister sacked Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri said yesterday he had fired Economic Development Minister Lasha Zhvania because he was unsatisfied with the minister’s efforts on the economy. «I am not happy with the work of the economy minister and I want to say that he will have to quit his post,» Gilauri said in a televised briefing. (AFP)