Gov’t to repay 750m of ex-Laiki bond held by Bank of Cyprus
The Ministry of Finance has notified the Bank of Cyprus that the government will repay EUR 750 mln towards a EUR 1.9 bln bond held by the bank issued for the recapitalisation of Laiki Popular Bank that was transferred to Bank of Cyprus in March 2013, following the acquisition of certain assets and liabilities of Laiki.
The bond is pledged as collateral with the European Central Bank (ECB).
Part of the amount repaid will be used to reduce ECB and ELA funding, as has been recent practice by the current administration.
In its first-quarter results report, Bank of Cyprus said it had reduced the emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) from a peak of EUR 11.4 bln in April 2013 to 6.9 bln, while post-results, it said it further lowered the facility to EUR 6.4 bln by the end of May.
“With the bond transferred to the bank at fair value at the acquisition date, there will be an accounting profit of about EUR 33 mln resulting from this transaction,” Bank of Cyprus said in an announcement, adding that, “the net interest income of the bank going forward will be negatively affected by the early repayment of the bond, primarily driven by the upfront recognition of the accounting gain.”
The bank said that the remaining amount of the bond of EUR 340 mln will be replaced on its maturity on July 1 by a new bond for the same nominal amount, with pricing based on the Cyprus government yields prevailing at the time.
The government’s repayment follows the recent offering of a EUR 1 bln bond at a coupon of 3.875% and yield of 4% maturing in 2022.
Last year, the government had initially repaid EUR 950 mln of the ex-Laiki bond on July 1, 2014.
As at the end of the first quarter, the Bank of Cyprus Group’s total assets amounted to EUR 26.7 bln and total equity was EUR 3.5 bln. It’s first quarter results saw after-tax profits of EUR 29 mln, a turnaround from a loss of EUR 337 mln in the last quarter of 2014, but non-performing loans (in arrears form more than 90 days) totaled EUR 12.79 bln and accounted for 53% of gross loans.