ECONOMY

In Brief

S&B maintains momentum with Q2 net income growth S&B Industrial Minerals SA, a Greek metals and mining group, is maintaining momentum in the second quarter after first-quarter net income more than quadrupled, CEO Efthimios Vidalis said. «We seem to be on a positive momentum in the second quarter,» S&B’s chief executive oficer said in a telephone interview yesterday. «We express some caution» for the latter part of the year. «It’s not as clear yet as I would have hoped it to be.» S&B’s net income in the first quarter rose to 4 million euros ($4.8 million) from 730,000 euros a year ago. Sales rose 20 percent from the same period a year earlier to 95.2 million euros, the Athens-based company said yesterday. Its shares advanced as much as 9.3 percent in Athens mid-session, trading 21 cents higher at 4.60 euros. The company’s annual profit will reflect a 700,000-euro extraordinary tax on all companies’ 2009 earnings announced by the government this month. The legislation passed after the first quarter closed and the levy is not yet reflected in earnings, Vidalis said. (Bloomberg) Morgan Stanley points out risk of nations leaving euro Morgan Stanley co-chief global economist Joachim Fels said there’s a risk of some nations eventually breaking away from the 16-member euro region should the response to the debt crisis lead to «fiscal instability» and sustained pressure on the currency. If there’s «further weakness and a rise in inflation pressures, then some of the more stability-minded European countries might decide to break away,» Fels told Bloomberg Television in an interview from London yesterday. «Clearly that’s a long-term story, not a story for now.» (Bloomberg) Italian support More than two-thirds of Italians said that the European Union is doing the right thing by putting together a rescue package for Greece, according to a poll published in Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper yesterday. While Italians approved of the political choice to support Greece, they cited politics as the No 1 problem for their own country’s economy. Fifty-six percent of Italians said that «the poor quality of politics» is the root of the country’s economic problems, according to an Ipsos PA poll of 976 people conducted on April 23-26 and on May 12, Sole said. Forty-five percent said competition with «countries like China» was the reason for Italy’s economic difficulties, according to the poll. (Bloomberg) Intralot deal Greece’s Intralot said yesterday it teamed up with Swedish online casino gaming provider NET-B to tap the upcoming opening of the Italian online casino market. The world’s second-largest lottery systems provider, Intralot already offers online poker, sports and horse betting in Italy, which is expected to open its online casino business in the second half of this year. «Through this partnership Intralot will be among the first to offer online casino games in Italy,» Intralot said in a statement. «We believe that online casino in Italy will be a very lucrative market with high potential.» No financial details were disclosed about the deal, under which NET-B will offer its products through Intralot’s outlets in Italy. (Reuters) Fewer jobless Bulgaria’s jobless rate edged down for a second month in a row in April to 9.9 percent from 10.1 percent in March as seasonal employment rose, labor ministry data showed yesterday. The number of unemployed fell by 6,401 to 368,666. The unemployment rate was 7 percent in April last year. The Balkan country plunged into a prolonged recession last year after the global economic crisis scared away foreign investors and companies cut or halted operations due to falling demand. (Reuters) Louis profits Louis Plc, the biggest tourism company in Greece and Cyprus, said the planned sale of one of its cruise ships won’t affect profit forecasts. Louis agreed to sell its vessel Aegean Pearl for $19.5 million in a transaction that is expected to result in an accounting loss of about 1 million euros ($1.2 million), the company said. (Bloomberg)