Cyprus' top bank says 2.7 bln bad loan sale 'biggest ever'

Cyprus' biggest lender, the Bank of Cyprus, says it had sold 2.7 billion euros ($3.1 billion) worth of bad loans to New York-based Apollo Global Management, the largest such deal in the east Mediterranean island-nation's history.

Speaking to The Associated Press, CEO John Patrick Hourican called the sale "the biggest transaction in Cyprus" since Britain purchased the island from the Ottomans in 1878, "except this time Cypriots are the real winners."

The sale — equivalent to 15 percent of Cyprus' gross domestic product — chops the bank's bad loan stock to 5.2 billion euros, down from 15 billion euros four years ago.

Bank of Cyprus and other Cypriot lenders have been plagued by bad loans since a 2013 financial crisis that forced Cyprus to seek a multibillion-euro rescue deal.