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UPDATE 1-Greece's Public Power Corp. sees 2017 core profit around 700 mln euros

euros@ (Add chairman's comments)

ATHENS, June 30 (Reuters) - Public Power Corp. (PPC) , Greece's dominant power utility, sees core profit of around 700 million euros ($799 million) this year, down from about 1 billion euros in 2016, its chairman said on Friday.

The drop in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) this year is driven by the spin-off of the company's power grid operator this month, Manolis Panagiotakis told a parliamentary committee.

PPC, which is 51 percent-owned by the state, posted on Tuesday a first-quarter net loss of 67.5 million euros but said it expected to return to profit in coming quarters.

The utility currently has an 87 percent share of the country's retail market and aims to reduce it to below 50 percent by the end of 2019 under the terms of Greece's third international bailout.

Another bailout commitment stipulates that PPC will sell about 40 percent of its coal-fired generation capacity by June 2018. Greece has said PPC and the European Commission are expected to specify the plants that will sold by next month.

Panagiotakis said PPC's plan with China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) to build a new coal-fired plant in northern Greece would go ahead, even if the plant is among those to be divested.

He added PPC would prepare by November a five-year business plan, taking into account a European policy to cut dependence on coal and reduce carbon emissions. ($1 = 0.8761 euros) (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Mark Potter)