CYPRUS: BoC chairman buys EUR 500,000 stock in confidence boost

Outgoing Bank of Cyprus chairman Josef Ackermann purchased 400,000 extra BoC stocks, increasing his holding to 550,000 shares, signalling his confidence in the bank and the significant progress it has achieved.

The show of confidence in the bank equals an investment of Euros 484,000 with the share trading at Euros 1.21 on the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

Ackermann said: 2018 has been an important year in the transformation of the Bank. I am proud of the significant progress we have made this year against our strategic objectives. We have reduced our non-performing loans by c.70% since their peak in 2014 and we remain committed to making further material progress in 2019.

He added: We are pleased to have strengthened our capital position, well above the minimum requirements. Liquidity remains strong, demonstrating continuous customer confidence towards the Bank. Whilst maintaining our leading market position in a strengthening Cypriot economy, the Bank remains committed to a stronger, safer, Cyprus-focused institution, capable of supporting the Cyprus economy.

The chairman has tripled his shareholding at a time he is preparing to leave the bank with Efstratios-Georgios (Takis) Arapoglou designated to succeed him subject to approval of an AGM in May.

If selected, Arapoglou would take up his duties after his board membership is approved by the ECB.

BoC has agreed to the sale of Euros 2.8 bn non-performing loans (Project Helix), which is expected to be completed in the coming weeks, reducing the NPE ratio to 36%.

The Group’s Capital position has strengthened with Total Capital ratio amounting to 18.3% at the year-end after taking into consideration the impact from Project Helix and certain legislative amendments to the Income Tax legislation.

The Bank had significant surplus liquidity of Euros 3.1 bn as at 31 December 2018, increasing to Euros 4.4 bn upon completion of Project Helix.

Source: The Financial Mirror