Bank of Cyprus profits tumble on stock exchange woes
Bank of Cyprus officials put on a brave face Tuesday, February 27, despite announcing a 45 percent drop in profits for 2000 over the previous year, as a prolonged bear run decimated the bank's investments.
Group Chairman Solon Triantafyllides told reporters that profits after taxes were substantially offset by losses from the drop in value of investments on the ailing Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) and plunged to 43 million Cyprus pounds ($68.8 million) in 2000, from 78 million pounds ($124.8 million) in 1999.
But bank officials tried to sound upbeat, stressing that almost all losses from the 2000 investment portfolio were unrealized on-paper losses only. "Profit for 2000, as compared to 1998 before the CSE distortion of the last two years, shows an increase of 53 percent before tax and an increase of 37 percent after tax," said Triantafylides. The group chairman said profits from ordinary operations in 2000 shot up by 51.4 percent over 1999, reaching 92.1 million pounds ($147.36 million).
"The Group's strength emerges from the fact that profit from ordinary operations during 2000 has significantly increased over that of 1999, which was the biggest such increase ever achieved." "The year 2001 will be more of a rational year since results will be based on ordinary banking and economic factors" rather than outside factors, Triantafyllides said.
Bank of Cyprus blue chip stock has suffered an 18-month boom-bust cycle that has seen shares tumble from a peak of 12.50 pounds to Tuesday's closing price of 2.79 pounds. With a capitalization of 571 million pounds ($1.063 billion), the Bank of Cyprus is the island's biggest financial group with extensive interests in Greece and Britain.
Bank officials said aggressive expansion plans abroad will prove to be a boon for the group over the next few years. Despite taking a beating on the CSE, Triantaffyllides called 2000 a milestone year for the Bank of Cyprus as it was listed on the Athens Stock Exchange. —(AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)