Nicosia / AFP
Bank of Cyprus, the bailed-out eurozone country’s largest lender, has announced plans to list its shares on the London Stock Exchange and to delist from the Athens market.
The move reflects the bank’s ambitions of raising its “visibility and share liquidity” on a major European exchange, BoC said in a statement.
The announcement came on the same day that Cyprus concluded its multi-billion euro bailout programme with the European Union’s rescue fund.
A major financial crisis on the Mediterranean island saw the government close banks for nearly two weeks in 2013 and impose draconian capital controls when they reopened.
In return for the 10-billion-euro ($12.3 billion) bailout, the EU and International Monetary Fund demanded the closure of Cyprus’s second-biggest bank, Laiki, and a “haircut” on deposits at BoC of more than 100,000 euros.
Bank of Cyprus said a listing on the LSE would boost its profile and provide access to a “greater pool” of capital.
It intends to pursue a “premium listing”, which would require it to meet extra stringent rules.
The bank said it also intends to keep its listing in Cyprus.
But the company “does not intend to maintain a listing on the Athens Exchange, as it no longer has banking operations in Greece.”
The bank said it hoped to complete the London listing in the second half of 2016, adding that it was subject to meeting eligibility criteria.
“The access to a greater pool of international capital, together with greater profile and visibility in the European financial markets, will help position the group to play a key role in supporting the growth of the Cypriot economy,” it said.
“Adherence to the high standards of corporate governance and transparency required for a premium listing on the LSE will further enhance the confidence of all stakeholders in the group.”
Bank of Cyprus is a major Cypriot financial institution. In terms of market capitalisation, it is the country’s biggest bank.