Shacolas’ CTC profits up, market continues slump

By Hamza Hendawi

NICOS Shacolas’ Cyprus Trading Corporation yesterday said its sales rose by 18 per cent in 1998 to £65.91 million from £55.73 million in the previous year and that before-tax profit rose by more than £1 million over 1997 to reach £5.79 million.

A company statement said that the improvement in its performance was due to the creation of what it called “right company structure” without incurring additional costs, and forecast a significant upturn in profits in 1999.

It is hoped that CTC’s distribution centre in Nicosia will be completed and functioning in 2000, the statement added.

CTC and Woolworth are the heart of Shacolas’ retail empire, which also includes Next and Zako stores. CTC are the agents for an array of exclusive and world renowned goods, including luxury appliances and expensive cars such as Sweden’s Saab and Britain’s Jaguar.

CTC shares closed slightly lower yesterday at £1.24 apiece on a day when the entire market headed down for the fourth successive trading day, something which traders are attributing to continuing profit-taking after a series of peaks in recent weeks and the psychological effects of Nato’s week-long military campaign against Yugoslavia.

“The CTC results were expected and the share will pick up in the next few days when investors learn of the results through the media,” said investment analyst Panos Panayiotou.

One problem in the market affecting shares such as those of CTC, he explained, was that investors were holding on to their bank titles and unwilling to part company with them before benefiting fully from an assortment of bonus shares, warrants and new rights issues promised by the Bank of Cyprus, the Popular Bank and Hellenic.

The all-share index was down 0.36 per cent yesterday at 119.47, taking losses to a total of 4.55 per cent since last Wednesday. There was no trading last Thursday because of a national holiday.

Nonetheless, Bank shares were not spared the downward trend, with the Bank of Cyprus down 1 cent yesterday to close at £5.47 and the Popular Bank down four cents to finish at £5.72. The two are the island’s largest financial institutions.

Of the bourse’s seven sub-indices, only that of tourism companies finished higher, a meagre 0.08 per cent.