By Stelios Orphanides
The government-owned Cyprus Cooperative Bank has signed agreements to sell its stake in nine non-core subsidiaries for a total of €70m.
“The agreements concern the buyout of the bank’s shares by the minority shareholders of Sopaz, Nea Sevegep, Comarine, Speal, the Cooperative Unions of Carob Trading of Paphos, Limassol and Larnaca, the Cooperative Federation of Carob Trading and Synergaz,” the second largest bank said in an emailed statement on Wednesday, after the signing of the agreements. “The withdrawal from some of the companies will be immediate and in others gradual”.
The bank said that the deals are part of the restructuring plan agreed with the European Commission’s competition watchdog and a condition for receiving in 2014 and 2015 almost €1.7bn in public funds as part of its recapitalisation.
The agreements allow the affected cooperative companies to remain “financially robust” and continue to grow without having to sell their shares to third parties, the bank said, adding that it will continue to cooperate with them in the future.
“We have materialised yet another difficult project quietly,” said the bank’s chief executive officer Nicholas Hadjiyiannis. “Once again, the Cyprus Cooperative Bank under the known difficult circumstances remained on course for materialising its commitments as it strives for normalisation and modernisation”.
Hadjiyiannis said that the deals in addition to helping achieve targets, will improve prospects for the companies themselves.