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Co-op to hire global investment banks to help with capital increase

The state-owned Cyprus Cooperative Bank is considering hiring at least one globally operating investment bank to assist with its planned capital increase, the Cyprus News Agency reported on Tuesday without citing its source.

The Co-op is already in talks with a number of investment banks based in New York, Paris, London and Frankfurt, which evaluate positively the bailed-out lender’s cooperation with Spain’s non-performing loans management specialist Altamira, and consider the bank’s goal to tap investor equity as feasible, the agency reported.

The Co-op is expected to make its final selection following presentations at the bank’s top executive team scheduled for Tuesday next week, the CNA reported.

Selected investment banks will also be mandated to prepare a promotion strategy for the bank’s stock to institutional investors and roadshows, the CNA reported.

On Monday, it emerged that the finance ministry agreed to postpone the implementation of a government decision to donate 25 of per cent of the bank’s stock to its customers until the first stage of the Co-op’s capital increase is completed. The bank’s chief executive officer Nicholas Hadjiyiannis said on Tuesday that the bank, which is currently working on its Cyprus Stock Exchange listing, will likely complete the first share issue the earliest next June.

According to the terms of the bank’s bailout agreed with the European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition, the Cyprus Cooperative Bank will have to reduce with successive capital increases over the next three years, the government’s shareholding of currently over 99 per cent to below 25 per cent.

The Co-op, which is struggling with a 60 per cent non-performing loans ratio, has exhausted all margins of tapping equity from the taxpayer, after it received almost €1.7bn in two capital injections in 2014 and 2015.

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