In Brief

Piraeus Port to end the year in the black Greece’s largest port, Piraeus (OLP) turned to profit in the first half and expects to finish the year in the black despite the economic downturn, its chief executive said yesterday. «Turnover in the first six months of the year was up 25-30 percent,» OLP CEO Nikos Anastassopoulos told Reuters in an interview. «The first half is positive with after-tax results slightly in the black.» He said strikes over the privatization of the port’s container business had not been repeated this year, and the company had cut costs to weather the decline in economic activity and shipping. Piraeus Port, one of the largest in the Mediterranean, suffered losses of 4.3 million euros ($6.15 million) in the same period last year as workers refused to work overtime, opposing a 3.4-billion-euro deal with China’s Cosco Pacific, the world’s fifth-largest port operator. Cosco Pacific clinched a deal to upgrade and run cargo facilities at Piraeus for 35 years, seeking to turn it into a commercial gateway to Southeast Europe. It will take over in October, Anastassopoulos said. The CEO said he expects 2009 to be profitable despite a drop in transit cargo. OLP has frozen cargo rates to stay competitive as some shippers turned to other European ports because of last year’s labor action. «We estimate full-year results will be profitable, around 2008 levels,» Anastassopoulos said. «Turnover for 2009 is seen growing by up to 17 percent.» (Reuters) Globus Maritime posts loss, scraps dividend Greek marine transporter Globus Maritime Ltd posted a first-half loss, hurt by a non-cash impairment charge of $18.8 million, scrapped its interim dividend and forecast a difficult and volatile market well into 2010. Net loss for the first six months ended June 30 was $11.6 million, compared with net income of $28.6 million in the year-ago period. Net revenue was $24.5 million versus $50.5 million in the year-ago period due to a decrease in the spot charter rates and a fall in the number of vessels in the company’s fleet. The company, which operates a fleet of dry-bulk vessels, said it realized a net income of $7.2 million excluding all non-cash items. (Reuters) Turkish Airlines Turkish Airlines said it will post a profit in the third quarter, reversing an unexpected second-quarter loss, as the value of its fleet rises and it carries more passengers. The decline in the value of the company’s fleet, which contributed to the loss of 53.2 million liras ($35 million), «won’t be repeated in the third quarter,» CEO Temel Kotil said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Istanbul yesterday. The value of aircraft «has reached the bottom and is starting to go up,» the chief executive said. Growth in sales and passenger numbers at Turkish Airlines has exceeded the performance at European rivals such as Air France-KLM Group and Deutsche Lufthansa AG during the global recession as Turkish Airlines bought more planes and used Istanbul’s Ataturk airport as a hub for new routes. (Bloomberg) Bulgarian debt Bulgaria’s gross foreign debt growth slowed to 9.9 percent on an annual basis to 36.9 billion euros ($52.73 billion) at the end of June, central bank data showed yesterday. (Reuters)