Moody’s holds BOC ratings

Ratings agency Moody’s affirmed yesterday all stable ratings on Bank of Cyprus (BOC), the island’s largest lender, following the completion of a majority stake in Russia’s Uniastrum Bank. In June, BOC signed a deal to buy an 80 percent stake in the Russian bank, the country’s ninth-largest lender, for 371 million euros. Moody’s said the relative size of Uniastrum is not large enough to impact BOC’s financial fundamentals but added that the deal does increase its risk profile. «The acquisition… could result in potentially higher earnings volatility,» Moody’s said, adding that Uniastrum’s current weak financial performance needs to turn around to avoid a dilution of BOC’s figures. Shares in Bank of Cyprus, which has a market capitalization of almost 2 billion euros, retreated 1.16 percent yesterday to 3.42 euros on the Athens bourse. The broader market advanced 1.96 percent.