In Brief

Bank of Cyprus’s Q1 net profit grows 67 percent NICOSIA – Bank of Cyprus, the island’s largest lender, said yesterday its first-quarter net profit rose 67 percent to 107 million euros ($144.5 million), boosted by strong lending growth. Net interest income rose 28 percent to 173 million euros, while pretax profit rose 62 percent to 124 million euros and earnings per share rose 65 percent to 19.3 cents per share. It reported strong growth in core banking activities, particularly housing loans, and in insurance. It also reported strong growth in deposits, with a 20 percent annual increase in Cyprus and 21 percent in Greece, a key market. The bank said it stuck to its forecasts of a 31 percent increase in overall profit for the year to 415 million euros. «The results to date prove that we can deliver on our promises,» CEO Andreas Eliades said. (Reuters) Penalization of early repayment not on The Consumer’s Ombudsman has issued a recommendation for the amendment of the term of contract of fixed-rate loans issued by banks which penalizes borrowers if they repay the loan earlier than its maturity. The Ombudsman advised that the term be amended to state the reason for the penalization, how the extra burden is calculated and the criteria used in the calculation, for the sake of transparency. «Citizens are entitled to protection, as consumers, in case of abusive general terms of transactions that do not allow the exact determination of the economic liabilities they undertake… (They) must also be in a position in know in detail in advance the contractual substance of a loan transaction in order to be able to make responsible decisions,» the recommendation said. Bioethanol tender Athens-listed Hellenic Sugar Industry is proceeding next week to an international tender for a strategic investor to transform its sugar factories in Larissa and Xanthi into bioethanol production units, costing a total of 180 million euros. The company aims to produce 300,000 cubic meters of bioethanol per year, in compliance with the EU directive for the production of 5 percent of local fuel consumption through bioethanol by 2010. Turk gold mine Gold exploration company Ariana Resources said it aimed to start test production in its gold project in Kiziltepe, western Turkey, by the end of this year. Kiziltepe prospect is located within a 10-year renewable operating license that forms Ariana’s fully owned Sindirgi gold project in Balikesir Province, western Turkey. Kerim Sener, managing director of Ariana Resources, said the Kiziltepe prospect contained an estimated 99,000 ounces of gold ore and 1.8 million ounces of silver ore. (Reuters) Bulgaria jobless Bulgaria’s jobless rate fell to 8.37 percent in April from 8.92 percent a month earlier due to strong economic growth and a pickup in seasonal work, Labor Minister Emilia Maslarova said yesterday. The jobless rate, which was 10.23 percent in April 2006, has fallen in recent years in the runup to Bulgaria’s entry to the European Union this January. Foreign investors have put billions of euros into construction, real estate deals and tourism in the Black Sea country