Cyprus' biggest bank to list on London Stock Exchange

NICOSIA, Cyprus – Cyprus’ biggest bank said Tuesday it’s applying for a listing on the London Stock Exchange to boost its profile, attract investors and expand its access to capital.

The Bank of Cyprus said it intends to maintain a listing on the Cyprus Stock Exchange, but won’t be listed on the Athens Exchange.

The bank said it has incorporated a holding company for the Bank of Cyprus Group in Ireland in order to be eligible for inclusion in the London Stock Exchange’s premium listings.

But the lender’s headquarters, management and operations will remain in Cyprus.

“We believe that the Bank and its stakeholders will benefit from the greater profile, liquidity and access to capital that a London listing offers,” said Bank of Cyprus Chairman Josef Ackermann in a statement. He added the higher profile would help boost confidence in the bank and help it support economic growth in the east Mediterranean island nation.

The bank was at the centre of a multibillion-euro rescue deal Cyprus agreed in 2013 with its eurozone partners that saved it from bankruptcy.

Under the terms of the deal, deposits in the bank over 100,000 euros were seized to help prop up the country’s wobbly banking sector. The second largest lender, Laiki, was shut down altogether.

The island nation successfully completed the program in March.

Since 2013, the Bank of Cyprus has shed numerous foreign holdings to concentrate on the local market and managed to boost its coffers with a 1 billion-euro ($1.08 billion) equity raising.

But the bank is still burdened with a huge number of bad loans, although it said it has reduced them by 4.23 billion euros ($4.56 billion) over the last three years.