Bank of Cyprus could become a FTSE 250 company as it seeks London Stock Exchange listing in the second half of 2016

Billy Bambrough
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Capital controls were placed on the country in March 2013 to avert the collapse of the banking sector resulted in €300 daily cash withdrawal limits at Cypriot banks (Source: Getty)

The Bank of Cyprus is planning to move its primary stock market listing to London in the second half of 2016, the bank has announced, following months of rumours it was mulling a move.

The business, led by former RBS banker John Hourican, plans to ditch its listing on the Athens stock exchange but will maintain a secondary listing on the Cyprus exchange.

If the bid is successful the bank would become part of the FTSE 250 index.

The move is expected to give it access to greater pool of international capital and better visibility in the European financial markets the bank said in a statement.

The bank, which was one of the worst hit in the Cyprus banking crisis in 2013, posted a loss after tax for full year 2015 of €438m (£347m).

The loss was mostly down to a €1bn charge for higher provisions on bad debts after the European Central Bank increase pressure on lenders to shore up their balance sheets.

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There are no plans to raise fresh capital during the move that will see investors offered the option of transferring their shares to London or Cyprus.

The company made a profit in the first three months of 2015, compared with heavy losses in previous periods.

The Bank of Cyprus' secondary listing in Athens has faced several hurdles since it was launched, including the ongoing shut down of the Athens Stock Exchange currently in place.

A €1bn share sale in 2013 gave US restructuring guru Wilbur Ross a 19 per cent stake in the group, alongside a number of institutional investors.

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