Bank of Cyprus has completed the sale of its stake in its Russian subsidiary Uniastrum Bank and certain other Russian assets to Artem Avetisyan, majority shareholder of Bank Regional Credit.

It however, "does not affect the Bank’s presence in Russia through its two representative offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg," Bank of Cyprus said in a statement.

The sale, announced in July 2015, is part of the group’s strategy to concentrate on core businesses and markets and dispose of non-core operations.

The decision to offload Russian operations will enable the bank to de-risk its balance sheet by about EUR600m and release risk weighted assets worth about EUR550m.

The move is also expected to boost the group’s regulatory capital position, with a positive impact of about 30 basis points on the Common Equity Tier 1 capital ratio.

"With the disposal of this major overseas banking subsidiary, the Group has reached another milestone in its deleveraging and de-risking strategy, and has eliminated future potential risks relating to its Russian banking operations, including any liquidity risks," the statement added.

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