Alpha ready to speed up pace of expansion

Greece’s second-biggest bank, Alpha, yesterday announced third-quarter net profit of 138.2 million euros, a gain of 32.5 percent over the same period one year earlier. The results boosted return on average equity to 25.1 percent, the bank said. Alpha’s nine-month net profit shaped up at 360.3 million euros, against 312.6 million euros recorded in the equivalent period in 2004. «The organizational and operational changes currently in progress, as well as our investment in new systems and technologies, have boosted our development,» Alpha Bank Executive Chairman Yiannis Costopoulos said in a statement. «We are ready to increase the pace of our expansion into Southeastern Europe and to increase the return on the Greek market’s rapidly expanding retail banking activity,» Costopoulos added. Alpha’s third-quarter income was measured at 446.7 million euros, up from 395.8 million in 2004. Measured over nine months, income this year has exceeded 1.256 billion euros, an increase of 7.8 percent. The bank’s operating expenses over the nine-month period of 2005 were up 612.2 million euros, an increase of 0.6 percent over the same period one year earlier. Retail banking in the third quarter yielded Alpha a pretax profit of 80.4 million euros, up from 58.8 million euros last year. (AFP)