ECONOMY

Emporiki has sound profit rise

Emporiki Bank yesterday reported a rise in nine-month group net profit to 67.4 million euros ($79 million), despite the effects of an employee strike. The bank said net profit grew 3,409 percent after last year’s net profit was adjusted down to 1.9 million euros based on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Under Greek GAAP net profits had been put at 49.5 million euros. Three analysts polled by Reuters had estimated net profit in a range between 68 and 76 million euros at the bank, which is about 11 percent-owned by France’s Credit Agricole. «The improving performance in retail banking in the first five months of 2005 has been interrupted by the industrial action against the new pension arrangements,» the bank’s Chairman and CEO George Provopoulos said in a statement. «In the third quarter, following the employee strikes, the bank’s operations have gradually recovered.» Emporiki, the country’s fourth-largest bank by assets, said net interest income during the period rose 9.3 percent to 471.1 million euros. Its total loan book grew 10.4 percent year on year, reaching 14.3 billion euros, with mortgages and consumer loans making up about 40 percent, the bank said. Emporiki benefited from a robust borrowing trend by Greek households, with mortgages up 24.2 percent and consumer credit expanding 15.8 percent. Fee and commission income grew 8.9 percent to 110.3 million euros. On the expense side, Emporiki reported a 6.3 percent reduction as a result of its restructuring program, with staff down by 821 employees or 8.6 percent to 7,703. The government is planning to sell its direct 9.5 percent stake in the bank as part of next year’s divestments agenda to raise cash to pay down public debt. ATE Separately, ATE Bank said nine-month group net profit after minorities rose 150 percent year on year to 78.8 million euros ($92 million), helped by cost containment. The bank said net interest income in the same period rose by 25.4 percent. Its cost-to-income ratio improved to 61.1 from 76.5 percent. (Reuters)