September 30 (SeeNews) - Equest Investments Balkans (EIB), managed by UK-based Equest Partners, said on Wednesday its half-year pre-tax loss narrowed 20% to 27.5 million euro ($40.1 million).
The company's consolidated revenue fell 9.2% to 239.5 million euro through June as its largest holding, TechnomarketDomo (TMD), the leading electronics retailer in southeast Europe, had consolidated revenue of 239.5 million euro for the first six months of 2009, down from 262.6 million euro in the first half of 2008, EIB said in a statement.
"Despite sales impacted by negative trading environment, TMD has increased market share in both core electronics retail markets: Bulgaria c.44% and Romania c.24%," it added.
"The first half of 2009 has witnessed a continuing downturn in the economies of South East Europe and EIB has not been immune to the momentum of this setback. Despite this negative environment, the Company has held to its strategy of concentrating its operations on TechnomarketDomo ... and on maintaining progress with the required disposals of non-core assets to meet debt repayments as well as for providing necessary working capital," EIB said.
In July, EIB agreed to sell its 16.52% stake in the Bulgarian unit of Austrian insurer Uniqa to Uniqa International for 7.9 million euro, and in May it wrapped up the sale of its 80% stake in the Bulgarian wholesaler and distributor of automotive products and services Avto Union to local financial and industrial group Eurohold Bulgaria for 8.0 million euro.
"The uncertain outlook, at least in the near term, for the economies in South East Europe and Bulgaria in particular will continue to affect the performance of the investments of EIB. However, with steady progress on the non-core asset disposal programme and the proposed improvements to the operations and management structure of TMD, we remain hopeful of reducing the debt in select subsidiaries to sustainable levels and protecting the value of our core holdings," EIB non-executive chairman Ian Schmiegelow said in the statement.
The target region of EIB (www.equestinvestmentsbalkans.com) covers Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine, while the main countries of operation are currently Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia.
($ = 0.685 euro)