ECONOMY

In Brief

Coca-Cola Hellenic profits jump after cost cutting Greece’s Coca-Cola Hellenic, the second-biggest bottler of Coke in the world, said yesterday its profits soared in the first quarter following cost-cutting and restructuring. CCHBC said in a statement its net profits reached 25.4 million euros ($33.64 million), compared to 1.9 million euros in January-March 2009. Revenue was unchanged at 1.37 billion euros. The company said it would continue to focus on cutting costs and improving productivity. «We are encouraged by some early signs of stabilization in key countries, particularly across our emerging and developing markets,» CEO Doros Constantinou said in a statement. «We remain cautious, however, given that the first quarter is seasonally less significant for our business and economic conditions continue to deteriorate in some countries.» CCHBC has operations in 28 countries across Europe, as well as in Russia, Armenia and Nigeria. (AP) Higher energy costs push producers prices up 8.7 pct Greek producer prices rose 8.7 percent year-on-year in March, pushed higher by increased energy costs compared to the same period last year, the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said yesterday. Greek consumer price inflation accelerated to an annual 3.9 percent pace in March. «The upward trend in the producer price index reflects higher energy costs due to rising oil prices and the relatively higher costs of intermediate goods due to the continuing rebound of global economic activity,» said National Bank economist Nikos Magginas. «The continuing slowdown in domestic demand is expected to lead the index to lower levels.» (Reuters) Lenders in Bulgaria Bulgarian central bank Governor Ivan Iskrov said the country’s bank system is stable and well-funded and he has «no concerns about the Greek banks» in Bulgaria. Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary are the Eastern European nations whose financial markets are most exposed to contagion from the Greek debt crisis, Capital Economics said yesterday. Greek banks control some 30 percent of total bank assets in Bulgaria. «In regard to the Greek banks, we have no concern whatsoever,» Iskrov told reporters in Sofia yesterday. «They operate under Bulgarian supervision regulations and are among the banks with the best capital adequacy and performance indicators.» Greek bank units in Bulgaria include United Bulgarian Bank, owned by the National Bank of Greece SA, and Eurobank EFG Bulgaria. (Bloomberg) No bank bailout The heads of the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund oppose forcing banks to help bail out Greece, a German lawmaker who was briefed by officials said. ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the IMF, told lawmakers that the move would «undermine market confidence so much» that a Greek bailout would «take longer and cost much more,» Hans-Peter Friedrich, a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition, said in a radio interview yesterday. (Bloomberg)