Excerpt of Article -- Cypriot Banks - Rating Report

Following the announcement of the 1999 first-half results for Bank of Cyprus, The Cyprus Popular Bank and Hellenic Bank, Thomson Financial BankWatch affirms all assigned ratings. The substantial operating income growth reported by the Banks is mainly attributed to their local operations. The overheated Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) boosted the performance of the Banks' investment subsidiaries, while their insurance subsidiaries also benefited through their investments in equities. Even though for the second half of 1999, results at the CSE have still been favourable for the Banks, in the long term, contribution from the CSE is unpredictable as the conditions in the bourse during 1999 can only be described as a speculative frenzy. Stephen Shevoley, Senior Vice President, Thomson Financial BankWatch.