European, Gulf firms eye Turkey bank

ISTANBUL — Dubai Investment Group, Italy’s Sanpaolo-IMI and France’s Banque Populaire are interested in buying a stake in Turkey’s Sekerbank, an investment banking source said yesterday.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Sat 3 Jun 2006, 10:00 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 3:21 PM

South Africa’s Standard Bank had also been interested, but spokesman Erik Larsen said the bank had decided not to pursue it.

Several Turkish banks have been sold in the past one to two years for hefty premiums to foreigners eager to enter the fast-growing but fiercely competitive banking market.

Sekerbank, which has about 200 branches, agreed a 51 per cent stake sale to Dutch lender Rabobank last year, but a court ruled that the price was too low, and the Turkish bank did not complete the deal.

The banking source said a deal for more than 50 per cent of the bank might be sealed by the end of this month or early next.

“At the end of June, you may hear some news about it,” he said. “End of June or early July.”

He declined to comment on price, saying only: “It’s a sellers’ market.”

Foreigners have paid increasingly high premiums to enter Turkey’s banking market, with National Bank of Greece agreeing in April to pay 3.6 times book value for Turkey’s Finansbank.

A buyer would enter the market at a time that short-term investors are fleeing. Political and economic uncertainty knocked about 15 per cent off the lira’s value in May, and banking stocks were among the worst hit.

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