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Society

Church of Cyprus Wants Own Bank, Acquire More Hotels

September 5, 2016

The Church of Cyprus wants to take over a small bank or make one and build six new hotels with tourism booming, Archbishop Chrysostomos said.

In an interview with the Cyprus Mail, the church leader sketched out the ambitious plans as the island continues to recover from an economic crisis that led President Nicos Anastasiades in 2013 to seek a 10-billion euro ($11.16 billion) international bailout.

The Archbishop will also sell the Church’s remaining stake in Hellenic Bank if it does not begin to issue dividends within two years, and he is in talks with Carlsberg’s Photiades group on a possible merger with the KEO brewing and drinks producer, he told sigmalive.

Chrysostomos said the reason the Church hasn’t revealed its financial statements since 2007 was because he feared some in the media would try to twist them.

The Church of Cyprus, he said, “receives five and gives ten,” and said that, “Particularly in the last four years the Church has helped hundreds of poor, sick and unemployed handing out money every year in excess of one point give million euros, ($1.67 million,)” he said.

Chrysostomos said despite the financial crisis and losses taken with bank failures that the Church had managed to increase its assets by 500 million euros ($557.9 million,) and now had property worth in excess of 1.5 billion euros ($1.67 billion).

The Church had, he said “except for some crumbs” at Hellenic Bank, completed the process of restructuring its loans of around 100 million euros ($111.58 million).

 

He said the Church was examining various scenarios related to the acquisition of small bank “or creating our own bank” and that, “The only condition for this is that we want to control 51 percent and not let others decide for us, without us.”

 

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