NICOSIA  – The troubled Bank of Cyprus, the largest lender on the recession-hit island, said Monday it has sold its UK loan portfolio for 361 million euros ($451 million) as part of its restructuring.

The loan portfolio — largely composed of residential and commercial real estate-backed facilities – was sold to Mars Capital Finance and Camael Mortgages, said BoC.

“Sale of the loan portfolio is in line with the Group’s restructuring plan and is part of the Group’s strategy of deleveraging through the disposal of non-core operations… and strengthening its capital and liquidity position,” it said in a statement.
The portfolio is not linked to the group’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Bank of Cyprus UK, but part of a wider UK portfolio transferred after BoC absorbed Laiki Bank under a 2013 bailout/bail-in.

In return for 10 billion euros in aid from international lenders, Cyprus in March 2013 agreed to wind down its second largest bank, Laiki, and impose losses on depositors in under-capitalised BoC.

Depositors in Bank of Cyprus were hit with a 47.5 percent “bail-in” as part of the bailout package..

BoC is now trying to claw back money it lost during a period of rapid expansion and has sold off its Romanian assets for 95 million euros.

In July, BoC successfully completed a one-billion-euro private capital issue which attracted big-hitting foreign investors.

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