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Shares of the Bank of Cyprus (BOC) commenced trading on the London Stock Exchange last week, offering cautious optimism the embattled lender was back on its feet after a debilitating financial crisis just four years earlier.

The Bank’s arrival on the Main Market in London fulfills a promise made to investors in 2014 after it raised €1 billion of equity to list on a “liquid, index-driven European exchange.” The Bank has exited the Athens bourse, citing a lack of significant business in Greece. It has also eliminated operations in Russia, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine.[1]

Prior to listing in London, Cyprus’s flagship lender considered entering the Paris capital markets. Its debut gave it a market capitalization of just under €1.5 billion.[2]

The BOC today stands in stark contrast to where it was just four years earlier when it received a massive lifeline from the government. It enters the London Stock Exchange having repaid €11.4 billion of emergency liquidity financing from the Central Bank of Cyprus.

2013 was a painful year for Cyprus. In grave danger of being booted from the 19-member Eurozone, the country’s banks closed their doors and implement strict capital controls for the first time in the currency region’s history. It took a steep price to rescue the tiny island nation. Slowly but surely, however, the country has emerged from the mess.

Capital controls were lifted in 2015, the year the economy returned to growth. Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 2.9% in 2016, and analysts expect steady growth of 2.7% this year.[3] While the economy is still smaller than it was before the financial crisis, may be moving in the right direction. This is a far cry from neighbouring Greece, which remains mired in slow growth, and Italy – a country teetering on the brink of a major financial crisis.

Chairman of BOC Holdings Josef Ackerman said his bank’s inclusion on the London Stock Exchange is a major milestone that is going to enable stronger growth in the future.

“We expect the listing, on one of the world’s leading international markets, to facilitate greater profile, liquidity and market access,” he said. “We welcome the increased engagement with market participants and meeting the highest standards in corporate governance and transparency.”

Ackermann adds, “The Group will act as a flag carrier for Cyprus on international markets raising the country’s profile as a destination for foreign investment. We are grateful to our shareholders for their overwhelming support for the London listing and look forward to their continued support, as well as to welcoming new shareholders to BOC Holdings.”[4]


[1] The Economist (January 21, 2017). “The repair job at Cyprus’s biggest lender.”

[2] Marion Dakers (January 19, 2017). “Bank of Cyprus joins the London stock market.” The Telegraph.

[3] The Economist (January 21, 2017). “The repair job at Cyprus’s biggest lender.”

[4] Famagusta Gazette (January 19, 2017). “Bank of Cyprus shares commence trading on the London Stock Exchange.”

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