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Quarterly profit at Greece's Public Power Corp plunges on higher energy, CO2 costs

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ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s biggest power utility Public Power Corp. (PPC) reported on Thursday a 24.6% drop in core profit for the first quarter due to higher spending for gas purchases and to offset carbon emissions.

PPC said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) came in at 170 million euros ($182.22 million) in the three months to March, down from 225.6 million euros in the same quarter last year.

The group, which is 34% owned by the state, has offered discounts worth 800 million euros to households and businesses since last year to help them deal with soaring power bills.

Those discounts came in at 358 million euros in the first quarter, PPC said.

Despite that cost and soaring gas prices, PPC said its first-quarter performance bode well for meeting its annual target for EBITDA of about 870 million euros.

The utility plans to invest about 5 billion euros by 2024 as it seeks to ramp up renewables capacity to at least 7.2 gigawatt by that date and shift away from coal-fired generation.

"We're already building 355 megawatt (of capacity), including 290 megawatt which are expected to be ready by the end of the year," Chief Executive Georgios Stassis said.

($1 = 0.9329 euros)

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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