ECONOMY

Bad debt provisions keep Eurobank in the red

Eurobank reported a jump in fourth-quarter losses on Wednesday as provisions for impaired credit weighed on its bottom line, while the pace of new bad debt formation was steady around third-quarter levels.

Kicking off the earnings reporting season for Greek banks, the country’s third-largest lender by assets reported a net loss of 524 million euros, broadly in line with forecasts, against a 187-million-euro loss in the third quarter.

For the year as a whole, Eurobank’s losses totaled 1.23 billion euros against 1.15 billion in 2013.

Eurobank, which is 35.4 percent-owned by Greece’s HFSF bank rescue fund and 13.6 percent by Canada’s Fairfax, said credit loss provisions rose to 742 million euros in the three months ending December, up 26.1 percent from the previous quarter.

The group, which has operations in the Balkan region including in Romania and Bulgaria, continued to accelerate provisioning for bad credit to strengthen its balance sheet and increase the cash coverage of nonperforming loans.

It said accumulated provisions hit 9.7 billion euros at the end of 2014, 18.8 percent of its total loans, translating into coverage of 56.3 percent for credit past due for more than 90 days.

[Reuters]