NICOSIA (Xinhua) – Hellenic Bank, Cyprus’ biggest retail lender, posted a net profit of EUR14.9 million in the first quarter of 2019, a year-on-year drop of 48 per cent from a year ago; and 38 per cent from that in Q4, 2018, the lender’s CEO Ioannis Matsis said on Friday.
Matsis said the drop in the profit was caused by increased provisions of EUR20.1 million in Q1.
Hellenic’s Q1 profit before provisions was EUR35.9 million. Total lending in Q1 reached EUR177.2 million and the non-performing exposures (NPEs) coverage ratio was 55.2 per cent.
In the fourth quarter of 2018, the lender generated EUR24.1 million euros in net profit, EUR38.5 million before impairments.
Matsis said that was the fifth consecutive quarter the bank recorded a profit and included the results for a second quarter of the acquisition of operations of the former Cyprus Cooperative Bank (CCB).
“The acquisition of the CCB operations and the simultaneous de-risking of our balance sheet and business model established Hellenic Bank as the strongest and most viable bank in Cyprus,” Matsis told the annual meeting of shareholders.
The NPEs ratio stood at 26.5 per cent of the total loan portfolio, or 32.6 per cent when non-performing loans managed by asset management firm APS were taken into consideration.
Matsis also said that Hellenic’s liquidity coverage ratio was 536 per cent while its loans to deposits ratio was 42.6 per cent, enabling business expansion.
Matsis did not rule out offloading NPEs to international investors but he added that reducing the bank’s stock to under 20 per cent did not depend on one sale.