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Aerial view, Limassol marina, Cyprus

Cyprus has seen a 67 per cent increase in full-time researchers during the previous decade, according to a report released earlier this month by Eurostat, the statistical service of the European Union.

Cyprus’ growth rate is similar to that of Malta (69 per cent) and Ireland (66 per cent), but still some way off countries such as the Netherlands (89 per cent), as well as Poland, Greece and Hungary, where the number almost doubled.

“The number of researchers in the EU has increased in recent years,” Eurostat said, adding that “there were 1.89 million researchers employed in the EU in 2020, which marked an increase of 546 thousand when compared with 2010”.

Conversely, Romania was the only member state that bucked the trend, experiencing a 7 per cent fall in the total number of researchers.

 

The Hellenic Healthcare Group (HHG) announced this week that its subsidiary company Hellenic Healthcare Holding (Cyprus) Limited has concluded the acquisition of Apollonion Private Hospital Public Company Ltd.

This marks the group’s first foray into Cyprus’ medical market, as well as the first time it will be operating outside of Greece.

HHG is the largest private health care group in Greece, where it already operates six private hospitals, including Ygeia, Metropolitan Hospital, Mitera, Metropolitan General, Lito and Creta Interclinic.

HHG is supported by investment capital from CVC Capital Partners, one of the largest private equity investment funds in the world, who in October of this year, acquired the Apollonion Private Hospital in Nicosia.

 

Cypriot credit ratings agency Capital Intelligence Ratings announced earlier this week that it has affirmed Bank of Cyprus’ Long-Term Foreign Currency Rating (LT FCR) and Short-Term Foreign Currency (ST FCR) of Bank of Cyprus (BoC) at `BB-` and `B`, respectively.

Moreover, the agency affirmed the bank’s Bank Standalone Rating (BSR) at `bb-`, Core Financial Strength (CFS) rating at `bb-`, and Extraordinary Support Level (ESL) as Uncertain. The Outlook for the LT FCR and BSR is Stable.

The agency praised the bank’s improved asset quality stemming from the recent reduction in non-performing exposures (NPEs), while adding that the bank’s funding and liquidity are its “strongest credit strength”.

“Given the improvement in asset quality metrics, profitability is now the main challenge,” CI Ratings said, explaining that operating profitability has fallen and that the cost-income ratio is still higher than desired.

Finally, the agency also said that the bank’s exposure to the Cypriot property market remains a credit challenge, explaining that “real estate values impact the Bank of Cyprus in a number of ways – of which the impact on the real estate owned by the Bank portion is the least important”.

CI Ratings noted that approximately 45 per cent of all of the bank’s loans are to households, of which 83 per cent accounted for residential mortgages (valid up to the end of the first half of 2021), while non-household lending is also extensively tied to real estate collateral.

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