Bank of Cyprus reports loss of Euros 104 mn for 2018 while its capital strengthens

Bank of Cyprus (Holdings) announced Monday a loss after tax of Euros 104 mn for 2018 and a capital strength into 2019, due to a project the Project Helix for the sale of non-performing loans and legislative amendments allowing for the conversion of deferred tax assets (DTA) into deferred tax credits (DTC).

According to the Banks preliminary results for 2018, CET1 rose to 15.4% pro forma for Deferred Tax Credits (DTC) and Helix (12.1% as reported). Total Capital ratio rose to 18.3% pro forma for DTC and Helix (14.9% as reported).

Total income amounted to Euros 781 million. Operating profit were Euros 381 million and underlying profit was Euros 140 million for the year 2018.

Loss relating to Helix was Euros 150 mn, declining to Euros 105 mn by completion as the time value of money unwinds.

The rapid de-risking of the Bank also resulted in a 4Q2018 impairment of the DTA of Euros 79 mn, expected to be reversed in 1Q2019, following the recharacterisation of the tax asset to DTC. The combination of all the above resulted in a loss after tax of Euros 104 mn for FY2018.

Legislative amendments to convert DTA to DTC approved on 1 March 2019 resulted in a more capital efficient tax asset, releasing Euros 285 mn of capital, adding c.170 bps of capital, while Helix is expected to add c.160 bps of capital (pro forma as at 31 Dec 2018).

Non- Performing Exposures (NPEs) reduced by Euros 4.0 bn to Euros 4.8 bn, pro forma for Helix, 68% down since December 2014. NPE ratio was at 36% and coverage at 47% pro forma for Helix.

We have a clear strategy for continuing the improvement in the asset quality position of the Bank and to further deal with the residual c.Euros 4.8 bn of non-performing loans. This includes Estia, a government scheme for the resolution of NPEs backed by primary residence, expected to be launched around the end of the first quarter 2019 that will positively impact c.Euros 900 mn of NPEs, said in a written statement the Banks’ CEO John Patrick Hourican.

Agreement to sell Euros 2.7 bn of NPEs (Project Helix) completion is scheduled around end 1Q / beginning 2Q 2019.

Provisions declined by 78% year on year to Euros 168 million in 2018, compared to Euros 780 million for the year 2017.

During the fourth quarter of 2081, the Bank’s deposits in Cyprus remained broadly stable and a surplus liquidity of Euros 3.1 bn as at 31 December 2018 was recorded, expected to increase to Euros 4.4 bn pro forma for Helix. New lending in Cyprus was Euros 1.9 bn in 2018, exceeding new lending in Cyprus in 2017.

We are pleased to have maintained our leading market position in a strengthening Cypriot economy, which expanded by 3.9% in 2018., said Hourican.

The loan to deposit ratio at the year-end stood at 65% pro forma for Helix

We are proud of the significant progress we have made this year against our strategic objectives. We recognise, however, that there is still much to do, and we remain as focused as ever on continuing to seek solutions, both organic and inorganic, to make the Bank a stronger, safer, Cyprus-focused institution, capable of supporting the local economy, he said.

The Group’s CEO announced Monday his decision to leave Bank of Cyprus next September, after serving a notice period of six months. By the time he leaves, Mr. Hourican will have spent nearly six years as the Group Chief Executive Officer. According to its notice for resignation Hourican intends to pursue a commercial opportunity in the United Kingdom.

Sky News has reported last Saturday that Hourican was close to being named chief executive of NewDay, a consumer finance provider which runs co-branded credit cards with retail giants? including Amazon, Sir Philip Greens Arcadia Group, Debenhams and the tour operator Tui Travel.

Source: Cyprus News Agency