Eth­niki In­sur­ance sale to go ahead as planned

Kathimerini English - - Focus -

Na­tional Bank of Greece has com­pleted 80 per­cent of its re­struc­tur­ing plan, with five ac­tions left to com­plete be­fore the end of 2018. The most im­por­tant of th­ese is the sale of its in­sur­ance sub­sidiary. Kathimerini un­der­stands the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion’s Direc­torate Gen­eral for Com­pe­ti­tion has re­jected a Fi­nance Min­istry re­quest for a re­vi­sion to Na­tional’s re­struc­tur­ing plan in order to avoid hav­ing to sell Eth­niki In­sur­ance. The bank’s man­age­ment has made no se­cret of its wish not to sell its sub­sidiary but the process is un­fold­ing for the sale to be com­pleted within sched­ule. The im­ple­men­ta­tion of the sys­temic banks’ re­struc­tur­ing plans agreed with the Direc­torate Gen­eral for Com­pe­ti­tion con­sti­tute legally bind­ing com­mit­ments for Greece, and if they are not ad­hered to, the Euro­pean author­i­ties can de­mand the im­me­di­ate re­turn of all state as­sis­tance granted to them in the con­text of the re­cap­i­tal­iza­tions. ex­ports. Core profit, or un­der­ly­ing earn­ings be­fore in­ter­est, tax, de­pre­ci­a­tion and amor­ti­za­tion (EBITDA) – strip­ping out oil in­ven­tory hold­ings – came in at 215 mil­lion eu­ros, up from 184 mil­lion eu­ros in 2015. The fig­ure was above an an­a­lysts’ av­er­age fore­cast of 191.8 mil­lion eu­ros in a Reuters poll. In­clud­ing oil in­ven­to­ries and a one-off in­sur­ance com­pen­sa­tion, EBITDA jumped to 303 mil­lion eu­ros, from 31 mil­lion eu­ros in the last quar­ter of 2015, helped by in­ven­tory gains of 82 mil­lion eu­ros – thanks to a rise in crude oil prices. set­ting aside money against po­ten­tial losses on the bonds it is buy­ing as part of the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank’s stim­u­lus pro­gram, its an­nual re­port showed yes­ter­day. How­ever, the Bun­des­bank is mak­ing prof­its on its bond hold­ings. Iron­i­cally, this is mainly thanks to bonds from trou­bled coun­tries such as Greece, bought at very high yields and against the opin­ion of Ger­many’s own rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the ECB’s board, dur­ing the 2010-12 debt cri­sis.

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