Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Laiki Bank were ex­pected to be up by 120% in 2004 from the pre­vi­ous year, with an­a­lysts fore­cast­ing a div­i­dend of 1.4 to 4c a share, while an on­go­ing dis­pute on the man­age­ment of the bonds mar­ket is also hav­ing an i mpact for in­vestors, ac­cord­ing to the Fi­nan­cial Mir­ror is­sue 608, on Fe­bru­ary 16, 2005.

Laiki Bank is seen re­port­ing a 120% year-on-year in­crease in net prof­its for 2004 to CYP 21 mln from 9.5 mln in 2003, with the is­land’s sec­ond largest fi­nan­cial group ex­pected to an­nounce re­sults and pos­si­bly even a div­i­dend.

The sec­ond mar­ket for bond yields does show some anom­alies re­gard­less of method­olo­gies, ac­cord­ing to re­searchers, de­spite as­sur­ances from the Cen­tral Bank to the con­trary. Cur­rently, the pri­mary mar­ket for gov­ern­ment bonds is much more liq­uid at about CYP 1.1 bln a year than the sec­ondary mar­ket of just CYP 5 mln, rais­ing con­cerns about su­per­vi­sion and man­age­ment.

The Con­ver­gence Plan sub­mit­ted by Cyprus fore­cast­ing that the deficit will decline to un­der 3% o GDP is seen as am­bi­tious, but re­al­is­tic, ac­cord­ing to Euro­pean Com­mis­sion sources. The lan fore­sees av­er­age 4.5% growth based on lo­cal ac­tiv­ity cou­pled by a re­bound in ex­ports on the back of an in­crease in tourism. In­fla­tion, con­tained at 1.9% in 2004 from 4% in 2003, is seen at 2.4% in 2005 and re­main­ing steady at 2% un­til 2008. The fis­cal deficit is seen de­clin­ing fur­ther to un­der 3% in 2005 to 2.9% of GDP from 4.8% in 2004 and de­clin­ing steadily to 0.9% of GDP by 2008, based on gov­ern­ment prom­ises to re­duce ex­pen­di­ture by 2.3%. Public debt, which reached 74% of GDP in 2004 is seen de­clin­ing to 58% by 2008, but the Com­mis­sion said that Cyprus needs to con­tinue with its aus­ter­ity plan

In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal Ho­tels & Re­sorts will open a new ho­tel in Cyprus in March, lo­catyed in the heart of the Aphrodite Hills Re­sort, among a cham­pi­onship golf course, spa and ten­nis academy. It is part of the CYP 150 mln devel­op­ment by Lani­tis Group.

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