The Public Power Corporation (PPC), the country’s largest electricity company, said yesterday nine-month net profit fell 30 percent due to higher fuel costs and lower power consumption. Net profit dropped to 520.2 million euros, but beat the expectations of analysts, who were looking for a figure of around 507 million. Sales declined 2.8 percent to 4.47 billion euros as small businesses curbed electricity use during the recession or turned to cheaper rivals. «In the third quarter, market loss from clients yielding high profit margins intensified,» Arthouros Zervos, PPC’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. PPC’s market share in this customer segment fell to 87 percent from 90 percent in the previous quarter, Zervos said. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) declined 18 percent to 1.22 billion euros. PPC paid 30 percent more for natural gas and 56 percent more for diesel fuel during the nine-month period, the company said. Greece, which owns 51 percent of PPC, plans to present its strategy to open up the energy market by the end of 2010. This was a condition of the 110-billion-euro rescue package provided by the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. PPC said it will announce its business plan after the government releases its program. «PPC is currently faced with important changes that impact both the regulatory framework of the energy market and its operating model,» Zervos said. Shares in PPC fell 3.52 percent to 11.52 euros on the Athens bourse yesterday, bringing its market capitalization to 2.67 billion euros, versus a 0.04 percent dip on the broader market.