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Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

clos­ing the next on Hel­lenic Bank, judg­ing from the di­rect and in­di­rect stake it has ac­cu­mu­lated, or promised. It al­ready has ac­quired a 1.4% stake and is rais­ing its hold­ing in In­ter­fund to 28% of the fund’s shares and war­rants, through which it has ac­cess to In­ter­fund’s 2.4% stake in the third big­gest lender.

The United Na­tions plans to es­tab­lish a com­mand cen­tre in Cyprus for its peace keep­ers serv­ing in Le­banon, ac­cord­ing to For­eign Min­is­ter Ge­orge Lil­lykas, who had vis­ited Beirut to view the dam­age caused by the re­cent Is­raeli bomb­ings. The news prompted hote­liers and tour com­pa­nies to sug­gest that Cyprus adds ‘peace tourism’ to its range of hol­i­day ser­vices of­fered, as

UN

lay­over base:

even Amer­i­can and al­lied troops were also stop­ping in Cyprus for a rest be­fore re­turn­ing home from duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.

HB

prof­its

surge:

Hel­lenic Bank beat an­a­lyst ex­pec­ta­tions and de­liv­ered a strong set of first half prof­its amount­ing to CYP 15.3 mln, com­pared to CYP 794,000 a year ear­lier. The boost came from de­riv­a­tive po­si­tions taken on Cyprus pound and euro rate con­ver­gence, which ore non-re­cur­ring. The bank re­vised its re­turn on eq­uity tar­get from 11% to 13%, while the cost to in­come ra­tio was low­ered from 69% to 65%. How­ever, Hel­lenic was still bleed­ing in Greece with losses at CYP 836,000, an im­prove­ment from the year-ear­lier losses of CYP 3.9 mln.

Trade deficit up:

The trade deficit in the first nine months of the year rose to CYP 712.6 mln from 663.1 mln, driven by a rise in im­ports, while ex­ports saw a mar­ginal in­crease.

Char­alam­bides

The other Clin­ton:

store:

Char­alam­bides Hy­per­mar­ket is ex­pected to open its flag­ship store in En­gomi later this month, that cost CYP 4 mln to build.

And in the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, in­cum­bent Bill Clin­ton was re-elected hav­ing de­feated Repub­li­can chal­lenger Bob Dole, with the sec­ond Demo­cratic term ex­pected be dom­i­nated by Medi­care and so­cial se­cu­rity, de­spite a stand­off brew­ing with Repub­li­can dom­i­nated Congress over the US bud­get.

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