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Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

lift­ing prof­its by 55% to CYP 58 mln from 37.5 mln in 2004 and Laiki by 74% to CYP 36.6 mln from 21.1 mln in 2004. Hel­lenic is seen re­turn­ing to prof­its of CYP 9.3 mln from 15.3 mln losses in 2004. The only prob­lem con­fronting the ma­jor banks is the level of non­per­form­ing loans which at around 10.5% of to­tal loans is stub­bornly high(!) and pos­si­bly a ma­jor fac­tor that will force rat­ing agen­cies to main­tain their low rat­ing or even pro­ceed with pos­si­ble down­grades. (Ed: We told you so…)

The Church of Cyprus may sue the board of Hel­lenic Cop­per Mines Ltd., in­clud­ing its chair­man Con­stanti­nos Loizides, for mis­man­age­ment, in an at­tempt to re­duce its obligations, re­port­edly at CYP 7 mln. HCM, in which the Church holds a 40% stake, has ceased pro­duc­tion and owes CYP 17 mln, of which 7 mln to banks and 5 mln to Ia­covou Bros. If it folds, then the share­hold­ers’ obligations amount to CYP 7 mln.

The an­nual con­sumer price in­fla­tion rate inched down to 2.8% in Fe­bru­ary, com­pared with 2.9% in Jan­uary. On a monthly ba­sis, prices re­mained al­most the same, ris­ing by just 0.03%, with in­creases in petroleum prod­ucts and med­i­cal care, and de­creases in tele­phone rates.

The num­ber of un­em­ployed per­sons in Fe­bru­ary re­mained at the same level as Jan­uary, at 18.401 per­sons or 5.3% of the labour force.

So­ci­ete Gen­erale Cyprus cel­e­brated its 20 years of op­er­a­tions on the is­land, with GM Jean Claude Boloux say­ing the bank had four branches with plans to ex­pand the busi­ness.

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