By Stelios Orphanides
Bank of Cyprus said that it will apply for a “standard” London Stock Exchange listing by using a holding company structure before it applies for a “premium listing”.
In a statement on the website of the Cyprus Stock Exchange on Tuesday the bank said it continued to work towards a premium listing at the London exchange and intended to apply for that in the future. A premium listing would allow it to be included in the FTSE UK Index series, it added.
“Work is ongoing and the standard listing is an intermediate step on this long-term path,” the bank said. “In order to facilitate this process, a new holding company has been incorporated in Ireland, which is intended to become the new holding company of the group”.
Cyprus’s largest lender said that it will maintain its Cyprus Stock Exchange listing and delist from the Athens Stock Exchange.
“We are delighted to be applying for a listing on the London Stock Exchange, which marks another significant step in the Bank’s transformation. We believe that the Bank, and its stakeholders, will benefit from the greater profile, liquidity and access to capital that a London listing offers,” the bank’s chairman Josef Ackermann was quoted as saying.
“The London listing will also enhance the group’s ability, as the largest banking and financial services group in Cyprus, to play a key role in supporting the growth of the Cypriot economy,” he added.
The bank said that the Ireland-based holding company which it would incorporate would own all existing Bank of Cyprus’s shares while its current shareholders “will receive shares in the new holding company in proportion to their current ownership”. The European Central Bank and the Central Bank of Cyprus would continue to supervise Bank of Cyprus, the bank said adding that it also intended to comply with the UK corporate governance code on a voluntary basis, affirming its commitment to the highest level of corporate governance and transparency.
“The bank remains fully committed to Cyprus and there will be no change to the bank’s day-to-day operations or business strategy as a result of the change of the Group’s structure,” the statement said. “The bank’s headquarters, management and operations will all remain in Cyprus and the new holding company will be, and the Bank will remain, tax resident in Cyprus”.