BoC’s net profit for 2006 rose 153 pct

NICOSIA (Reuters) – Bank of Cyprus, the island’s largest lender, said yesterday full-year 2006 net profits grew 153 percent to 183 million Cyprus pounds ($410.3 million). BoC said it would propose a dividend per share of 0.10 Cyprus pounds for fiscal year 2006. In its 2007-09 business plan, the bank targeted annual profit growth of at least 25 percent. For 2007, the bank said it expected profits of 240 million pounds, a 31 percent increase over 2006. «The business plan’s earnings growth target is higher than we expected, and quite optimistic,» said analyst Dimitris Haralabopoulos at Alpha Finance. In Cyprus, its key market, the group posted a 239-percent increase in profit after tax to 141 million pounds. After-tax profit in Greece rose 50 percent to 37 million pounds.