By Stelios Orphanides
Investors should invest in Bank of Cyprus because its attractive share value and its board of directors that includes bankers, such as US billionaire Wilbur Ross who helped restructure Bank of Ireland and former Deutsch Bank boss Josef Ackermann, which guarantees “world class” governance, John Hourican, chief executive officer of Bank of Cyprus said.
“You should invest because we have people like Wilbur and Jo and others in our board,” he said in a Reuters interview.
“We have governance standards through that board that will match anyone else and any other investment across the world,” he said. “That is a statement of intent of the quality that we want to have in the business we are trying to run”.
The lender’s CEO said that as the Bank of Cyprus is attractive to investors as it can boast “a clear track record of deleveraging and actually doing what we said we would do, a set of governance standards that are put in place that are world class”.
The bank is staging non-dealing roadshows this week ahead of its relisting at the Cyprus Stock Exchange and Athens Exchange this month and “is well capitalised”.
“We are not say come and overpay for the stock we say come in and ride this back to value,” he said. “We moved the story from where this bank survived to what it is worth and we are doing that step by step, piece by piece, bringing back liquidity, bringing back capital, to strengthen the core Cyprus business where we have a strong market position”.
Hourican added that while the size of debt in the euro area and Cyprus is important what matters more for its repayment is the creation of income.
“When you have debt you have to pay it back,” Hourican said in an other part of the Reuters interview. “If you have to pay it back you have to create earnings. We can’t say debt doesn’t matter but all we have to say that you have to create growth prosperity and confidence such that you can create the cash flows for the repayment of debt”.
Last year, Cyprus’s private sector debt, posted 62.5 billion euros of debt equivalent to 344.8 per cent of the gross domestic product, which was the euro area’s second highest after Luxembourg, according to Eurostat.
As member states in the euro area share the same monetary policy, each of them still has a “different fiscal policy, different regimes of government spending, different regimes of cultural behaviour but you have to repay that when you borrow it,” he said. “I am a bank, I take your savings I transform them into capital consumption, I allow you to consume your future earnings”.
Hourican added that the Cypriot economy was able to beat all troika forecasts so far while Cyprus’s forecast return to growth next year “is one the fastest and most nimble recovery in the Eurozone”.