Cyprus’s Hellenic Bank pushes targets upward

NICOSIA (Reuters) – Hellenic Bank posted a pretax profit of -72.2 million in 2006 and said it was revising upward all its profit targets until 2009 on the back of a rising share of the loan market and cost containment. The group, Cyprus’s third-largest lender, had posted pretax profit of -15.4 million in 2005. It said profit attributable to shareholders more than quadrupled to -59.7 million in the year from -13.2 million in 2005. The group said its deposits grew 24 percent last year and its advances, particularly to small and medium-sized businesses and construction firms, by 17 percent. Its revised target for 2007 is for pretax profit rising to -85.4 million from an earlier projection of -51.6 million, and for 2008 it upgraded it to -98.4 million from an earlier estimate of -56.7 million.