Wed, Dec 23, 2015 - Page 15 News List

Qatar bank to buy Turkey’s Finansbank


Qatar National Bank SAQ (QNB), the Gulf country’s biggest lender, has agreed to buy National Bank of Greece SA’s (NBG) stake in its Turkish unit for 2.7 billion euros (US$2.95 billion).

The deal to buy the Greek bank’s 99.8 percent holding in Finansbank AS is subject to regulatory approvals and expected to close in the first half of next year, the Doha-based lender said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

State-controlled QNB will finance the purchase with its own funds and will remain “strongly capitalized” after the acquisition, the statement said.

“This transaction is a significant milestone in QNB’s vision to becoming a Middle East and Africa icon by 2017 and a leading global bank by 2030,” chief executive officer Ali Ahmed al-Kuwari said in the statement.

NBG bought Finansbank for the equivalent of US$5 billion in 2006 in what was then Turkey’s biggest-ever banking deal.

While Finansbank has been responsible for driving NBG’s profits, the Greek lender agreed to sell its stake to comply with conditions of an EU bailout.

NBG’s initial plan to reduce its holding through a share offering faced repeated delays amid a turbulent series of elections that shook capital markets in Turkey and Greece. It said last month it would sell the entire stake following a change in management earlier this year.

Finansbank’s share price has doubled over the past 12 months. The transaction has been approved by the board of directors of both banks and the General Council of the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund.

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