ECONOMY

Moderate profit dip for Bank of Cyprus in 2010

Bank of Cyprus reported a two percent drop in earnings for 2010 but managed to churn over a growing profit in Greece after provisions.

The bank, Cyprus? largest lender, said on Monday full-year group profit dropped to 306 million euros, from 313 million in the previous year. Analysts described the earnings as being broadly in line with forecasts.

The Nicosia-based bank had previously forecast full-year profit at between 300 million euros and 400 million euros. Excluding the provisions, profit would have risen 18 percent to 725 million euros.

In Cyprus, profit dipped nine percent to 256 million euros and in Greece earnings after tax jumped to 11 million euros from three million in 2009. It booked provisions worth 184 million euros in Greece for 2010.

The bank, which also has operations in Russia, Australia, Ukraine, Romania and the U.K., forecast that net earnings in 2011 will be similar to 2010 with a positive contribution from all of its markets, while profit before provisions will be higher.

Bank of Cyprus will propose a final dividend for the full year of nine cents a share. It has already paid an interim dividend of six cents a share.