Cypriot lender Hellenic Bank posts 31.7-mln-euro loss in Q1

Cypriot lender Hellenic Bank posted a 31.7-million-euro loss in the first quarter, taking a hit from higher provisioning for bad loans and from the sale of its Greek business as part of an international bailout for Cyprus.

Hellenic was one of three Cypriot banks which sold their Greek branches to Piraeus Bank in March under a deal brokered between Cypriot authorities and international lenders to ring-fence the Cypriot banking system and prevent its chaotic bailout spilling over to Greece.

Hellenic, in which the Church of Cyprus is a major shareholder, said it booked a 10.2-million-euro loss from the sale of its Greek unit in a deal valued at 29 million euros.

Unlike Popular and Bank of Cyprus, Hellenic was not exposed to the restructuring of Greek sovereign debt which blew a hole in the other banks’ balance sheets.

However it said on Friday that group provisions for nonperforming loans more than doubled to 56.4 million euros from 24.1 million a year earlier, reflecting a deteriorating economic environment.