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Bank of Cyprus says recapitalization through bail-in completed


08:09, April 02, 2013

NICOSIA, April 1 (Xinhua) -- Cyprus' largest lender, Bank of Cyprus (BoC), said on Monday it has completed its recapitalization by converting depositors' money into equity, under a Eurogroup deal on a bailout for Cyprus.

A bank statement said the recapitalization fully satisfies the minimum capital adequacy requirements and maintains a Core Tier 1 of 9 percent under the adverse scenario developed by audit firm PIMCO.

The company completed a due diligence of the Cypriot banks in January to establish their recapitalization needs following heavy losses on account of their extensive exposure to the Greek debt.

Under the bailout deal reached at a Eurogroup meeting on March 25, Bank of Cyprus made use of 37.5 percent of deposits exceeding 100,000 euros (129,000 U.S. dollars) for the initial recapitalization operation, with a further 22.5 percent to remain blocked until the full needs of the recapitalization are established.

Bank of Cyprus did not say what percentage of depositor's money was used for its recapitalization to the Core Tier 1 ratio of 9 percent.

In a related development, government spokesman Christos Stylianides said also on Sunday that the government considers that it is now possible to unblock the remaining 40 percent of large deposits as of tomorrow so as to facilitate businesses to continue operations.

In a bid to prevent a sudden outflow of capital, Cypriot authorities imposed strict restrictions on transactions when bank reopened a week ago, following an extended bank holiday.

Stylianides stopped short of announcing a lift of the blocking of the 40 percent section of big deposits.

However, Central Bank assistant-governor Spyros Stavrinakis confirmed later that a decree unblocking this part of deposits will be issued on Tuesday.

Bank of Cyprus also announced that it has completed the takeover of all the good part of Cyprus Popular Bank, also known as Laiki, under the terms of the bailout accord.

The takeover involves all insured deposits in Laiki up to 100,000 euros and all other assets, excluding deposits upward of 100,000 euros and bad debts. These will remain with a "bad" Laiki bank until it is eventually liquidated in the span of 7 years.

"BoC will service all Laiki's customers in Cyprus based on existing terms and all employees of Laiki in Cyprus have been transferred to BOC with the same terms and conditions," the banks statement said.

It added that under the terms of the bailout decision it has completed the sale of the loans, fixed assets and deposits of BoC's banking operations in Greece to Piraeus Bank.

BoC said these major changes mark a new era for the Bank of Cyprus Group.

"BoC has solidified its position as the leading financial institution in Cyprus, has significantly strengthened its capital position, has minimized its exposure to the Greek economy, has access to European Central Bank liquidity and remains owned by private shareholders," the bank's statement concluded.

Under the restructuring arrangements the bank will from now on be owned by its large depositors, with the original equity downgraded to category and will neither receive dividend.

BoC will eventually sell off all its operations in other countries, including Britain, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Australia and New York, the United States.

An announcement in Bucharest on Monday said BoC branches in Romania will remain closed for a week ahead of an expected spin off.

Limits on bank transactions, mainly prohibition in using checks, have caused hardship to several sectors of the economy, mostly commerce, as traders find it impossible to pay their bills and take merchandise out of customs.

Stock breeders also have warned that they find it impossible to feed their herds and may have to resort to killing them.

The Central Bank of Cyprus has promised to review restrictions on a day to day basis with a view of easing problems which have brought the market to a near standstill.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said the cabinet will approve a plan within 15 days to restart the economy, as the government is racing to finalize its 10-billion-euro bailout deal with international lenders.

The plan includes attracting foreign investment, tax exemption for those who re-invest business profits, reducing interest rates for new and old loans and reversing a ban on casinos.

Anastasiades cut short his participation in celebrations to mark the start of Cyprus's guerilla campaign against British colonial rule 58 years ago which led to the island's independence, to chair an emergency meeting of his Council of Ministers in a bid to give impetus to final negotiations for finalizing the bailout deal.

Sources said that final details of the bailout deal will be in place by Wednesday, when troika negotiators will travel to Brussels to present a report to the Eurogroup working group on Cyprus.

A complete document may be signed at a Eurogroup meeting in Ireland on April 12. (1 euro = 1.29 U.S. dollars)

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