NBG tightens grip on Stopanska

National Bank (NBG), the country’s largest lender, raised its 75 percent stake in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s Stopanska Banka AD, buying an additional 20 percent on the Skopje stock exchange, an NBG official said yesterday. «The additional shares were bought today from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corporation (IFC),» an official who did not want to be named told Reuters. NBG, which is also present in Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Albania, Cyprus and Ukraine, became Stopanska’s biggest shareholder in 2000. The IFC is a unit of the World Bank. Stopanska has a network of about 65 branches and total assets of just over 1 billion euros. With NBG scheduled to unveil second-quarter figures at the end of the month, the bank said yesterday that earnings from its Turkish unit Finansbank will be reported under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) on August 27, along with the group’s earnings. The publication under IFRS is expected to illustrate an increase in Finansbank’s earnings in the first half of this year from 2009, NBG said in a bourse filing. Finansbank earlier this month reported second-quarter earnings under Turkish accounting standards of 199 million liras, rising from 145 million liras in the first quarter, the filing showed. In recent quarters, the strongest-growing segment of NBG, which has a market capitalization of 6.5 billion euros, has been Turkey, as slowing loan growth and rising nonperforming loans at home weigh on profit figures.