ECONOMY

Bank posts $7 mln profit

BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romanian commercial bank Banc Post announced yesterday its estimated net profit was 229.5 billion lei ($7.15 million) last year, up from 18.3 billion lei in 2000, with assets totaling 13.8 trillion lei at the end of 2001. A bank statement said its capital adequacy ratio was 22.16 percent, above the required minimum of 12 percent, with return on assets at 1.66 percent and return on equity of 19.95 percent. The bank, which operates 126 units across Romania, saw its client base rising by 1.8 times to 1.5 million last year, it added. Data reported are in Romanian accounting standards. Last November, Greece’s EFG Eurobank signed a memorandum of understanding with Romanian privatization agency APAPS to conclude the privatization of Banc Post, which has now a share capital of 664.8 billion lei. EFG Eurobank, which already owns 19.25 percent of Banc Post, is expected to increase its stake by an additional 17 percent. Banc Post’s other significant shareholder, Banco Portugues de Investimento, holds 17 percent. Kostunica and Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic have more serious matters to resolve, the first of which is their own coexistence. These two former allies in the operation to overthrow former Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic are now being pushed to the political sidelines while the social and economic crisis spreads and their people slip further into poverty and hardship, with no sign of light at the end of the tunnel. As long as their underlying but tough battle for supremacy continues, Belgrade will be a source of instability in the region.