Cyprus approves Hellenic Bank buyout of Cooperative Bank

The finance minister of Cyprus says the government has approved Hellenic Bank's multibillion-euro offer to take over the island nation's troubled Cooperative Bank.

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said that under the in-principle deal reached Friday, Hellenic Bank will manage 9.7 billion euros ($11.25 billion) worth of client deposits.

Hellenic, which also is based in Cyprus, will also absorb 10.3 billion euros ($12 billion) in assets — including loans, bonds and cash — and operate 72 Cooperative Bank branches while employing 1,100 of its approximately 2,600 workers.

Georgiades says another 8.3 billion euros ($9.62 billion) of Cooperative Bank's assets will be taken over by the state. The sum includes 7 billion euros ($8.12 billion) worth of bad loans.

The minister says the deal is subject to European Union approval.