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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.