Cyprus agrees to spin off Greek units of Cypriot banks

Cyprus has agreed with Greece on a takeover of the Greek units of Cypriot banks, the island nation's presidency said on Friday, ending uncertainty over the fate of those operations.

"After talks between Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, it was confirmed that the spinoff issue of Greek branches of Cypriot banks has been settled with the most favorable terms under the present circumstances, with a significant benefit for the Cypriot side," the Cypriot presidency said in a statement.

Euro zone finance ministers excluded the Greek branches of Cypriot banks from a controversial tax included in the island's international bailout on condition that those units would be transferred to Greek banks.

A least two of Greece's biggest lenders have showed interest in the Cypriot units, government officials and bankers told Reuters earlier this week.

(Reporting by Michele Kambas, writing by Deepa Babington)