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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Bank of Cyprus says capital base strengthened with 1 billion euros raised from new shares

NICOSIA, Cyprus - Cyprus' largest bank says it has bolstered its capital base by raising 1 billion euros ($1.34 billion) through a private placement of new shares.

Bank of Cyprus said in a statement late Monday that the new shares each valued at 0.24 euros ($0.32) went to institutional investors form Europe, North America and Russia.

It said existing shareholders will get a chance to buy back up to 20 per cent of those shares, but that the total capital raised would remain at 1 billion euros.

The bank said this will speed up its restructuring plans and help it pass European tests this year gauging its health.

Bank of Cyprus figured prominently in the country's multibillion-euro rescue last year that sanctioned a grab of uninsured deposits in its two biggest lenders.

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