ECONOMY

National works on new plan

As the global economic crisis bites deeper into the Greek economy, National Bank announced it has been forced to drop targets set in its three-year business plan in order to adapt to worsening conditions. «Due to the adverse global financial conditions and the continuing instability prevailing in the markets… the assumptions on which its 2007-2009, three-year business plan was prepared. .. are no longer relevant,» National, Greece’s largest lender, said in a bourse filing late on Friday. National Bank, which operates in 10 countries in Southeast Europe, including Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia, did not provide any further details in its statement. Under the plan, announced in February 2007, the company said it would expand its operations to boost net income at an average annual growth rate of more than 30 percent. National Bank reported annual net income of 1.55 billion euros in 2008, compared to 1.63 billion euros in 2007. Earlier this month, the lender announced a 1.25-billion-euro rights issue to boost its capital and prepare for possibly expanding its presence abroad in a move that put selling pressure on its stock due to investor concerns of earnings per share dilution, analysts say. Shares in the lender, which has a market capitalization of 9.18 billion euros, have gained 2.4 percent in the last month, outperforming a 3.2-percent dip in the broader market. The bank furthermore said it will report second quarter earnings on August 28 after the close of trade on the Athens bourse.