Greece's Eurobank posts one-billion-euro loss in Q3

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Greece's third-largest lender Eurobank on Thursday reported a net loss of 1.095 billion euros ($1.44 billion) over the first nine months of 2012, after writing off six billion euros to help the country reduce its sovereign debt.

As a result, Eurobank said it needed recapitalisation funds of 5.8 billion euros overall that are due from Greece's EU-IMF bailout deal.

"Eurobank through the recapitalisation process will receive 5.8 billion euros that roughly correspond to the capital losses that stem from its participation in the PSI exercise," the bank's CEO Nicholas Nanopoulos said in a statement, referring to the debt write-down.

Greek banks are to receive 50 billion euros overall to restore their capital after a sovereign debt write-down in the spring, and a subsequent debt buy-back earlier this month.

Eurobank had received a first instalment of 3.97 billion euros for this purpose in May.

The bank said its losses had grown by 635 million euros in the second quarter of 2012 and by another 223 million in the third quarter.

Total operating income fell by 22.5 percent to 1.4 billion euros over the nine month-period to September, while expenses were reduced by 4.4 percent to 799 million euros.

With the recapitalisation funds and the sale of Turkish subsidiary Tekfen that is near conclusion, Eurobank said its core tier I capital -- a key indicator of bank vitality -- would stand at 11.5 percent compared to a minimum requirement of nine percent.

Eurobank had posted a net loss of 575 million euros in the equivalent nine-month period last year.

European leaders last week decided to unblock a total of 49.1 billion euros from the country's outstanding financial assistance package by early next year in return for a new austerity deal in Athens.

The EU rescue money earmarked for the recapitalisation of Greek banks -- 16 billion euros -- was disbursed on Wednesday.

In a sign of returning confidence, Eurobank said its deposits in Greece had increased by one billion euros in the third quarter and the trend continues.

It is next due to merge with Greece's top lender National Bank.

"The planned merger of Eurobank with National Bank is an important development in the overall restructuring of the Greek banking system," Nanopoulos said.

"The new entity, with its enhanced size in a European context, will exploit the competitive advantages of both organisations, and, will thus be able to play a leading role in the financing of Greek companies, the gradual restoration of confidence, the rebuilding of the Greek economy and its return to growth on new, sounder foundations," he said.

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