articles | 26 May 2022

AstroBank bounces back to profitability

Cyprus-licensed bank AstroBank on Wednesday announced that it recorded an after-tax profit of €3.3 million in 2021, a notable improvement on the €18 million loss it sustained in 2020.

Moreover, the bank recorded a pre-provision income of €18 million, which is primarily attributed to the organisation’s revised structure, as well as its efforts to further develop the business.

The bank’s capital position also improved during this time, with its total capital ratio rising from 15.02% in December of 2020 to 16.58% at the end of 2021.

In addition, AstroBank managed to further derisk its balance sheet by reducing its non-performing exposures (NPE) ratio to 24% as of 31 March 2022.

The bank’s NPE ratio stood at 30.3% on 31 December 2020, before falling to 25.6% on 31 December 2021.

“Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, AstroBank continued its growth in 2021, further strengthening its position in the Cypriot market with new loans reaching €240 million,” CEO Aristidis Vourakis said.

“The Bank has also managed to reduce its NPEs from 30.1% at the end of 2020 to 25.6% last year, and 24% in Q1 2022,” he added.

Regarding the bank’s balance sheet dynamics and business activity, there was some growth during this period of time, albeit a mild one, mainly due to significant repayments that took place during 2021.

An additional factor was the acceleration of NPE resolutions which nullified the significant new loan origination.

Specifically, the bank’s total assets as of 31 December 2021, reached €3 billion, compared to €2.83 billion a year before that.

The bank said that the increase reflects a steady increase in deposits, which rose to €2.19 billion, having previously stood at €2.1 billion on 31 December 2020.

Furthermore, loan balances increased from €1.1 billion as of 31 December 2020, to €1.13 billion as of 31 December 2021.

“The sale of real estate (REOs) reached €29 million in 2021 and we are on track to at least reach the same levels this year, with €30 million worth of properties sold or committed to be sold so far,” Vourakis said.

“The war in Ukraine has certainly created new challenges, though AstroBank has no direct credit exposure to either country therefore it is not expected to be directly impacted,” the CEO added.

Regarding the war, the bank further explained that its loan portfolio has been analysed further for indirect exposures, primarily relating to the hospitality sector.

In this sector, there is an expectation that the strong recovery following the pandemic and the lifting of restrictive measures will at least partially offset tourism flows from Ukraine and Russia.

“Looking ahead, AstroBank will focus on developing a quality retail client base and mid-market corporate loan book, continuous cost efficiencies through operational improvements, and accelerating NPE resolutions and REO sales,” Vourakis concluded.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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