ATHENS, Aug. 5 -- Net profit at Greek metals group Mytilineos (MYTr.AT: Quote) surged in the first half, despite a recession in Greece, due to higher aluminium prices and the sale of a unit, the company said on Wednesday. Net profit rose to 40 million euros ($53 million) from 10 million in the same period last year. In the first quarter, Mytilineos sold its ETADE unit to rival GEK Terna (HRMr.AT: Quote) for 32 million euros before tax.
The reading was broadly in line with the average analyst forecast of 38 million euros. The company took a charge of 10 million euros in the second quarter to account for an austerity tax imposed by Greece's government, as part of measures to fight a debt crisis.
Sales gained 27 percent year-on-year to 415 million euros, helped by a 50 percent rise in international aluminium prices and acceleration of projects by its unit Metka (MTKr.AT: Quote), a builder of power stations.
Mytilineos, which runs southeast Europe's biggest aluminium smelter, is expanding into the energy sector to benefit from electricity shortages and plans for power station upgrades in the region.
"The pending full liberalisation of Greece's electricity market ... creates perfect conditions to create value with the company's energy portfolio," the company said in a statement. ($1=.7559 Euro)