QNB eyeing Turkish bank after SocGen deal

December 14, 2012 - 7:06:51 am

DUBAI/Doha:Qatar National Bank, which is buying Societe Generale’s Egyptian unit for $2bn as part of a regional expansion strategy, now has control of a top Turkish bank in its sights.

“We are looking at a majority stake in a top 10 Turkish bank as a means to add value,” chief financial officer Ramzi Mari said on a conference call yesterday, adding QNB would not apply for its own licence in Turkey.

QNB, which lost out to Russian group Sberbank in the bidding for Turkish lender Denizbank earlier this year, is also interested in expanding in Morocco and Saudi Arabia, where it plans to open branches going forward, he said.

QNB, 50-percent owned by the Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund, has been on an expansion spree, snapping up stakes in regional lenders to build an emerging market franchise with the backing of its gas-rich government.

On Wednesday, it agreed to pay $2bn for a majority stake in National Societe Generale Bank from its French parent. 

The deal valued the Egyptian lender at $2.6bn and QNB now plans to make a mandatory offer to minority shareholders. 

QNB, which already has stakes in lenders in countries such as Indonesia, Jordan and Tunisia, wants its international business to contribute around 40 percent of profit and 45 percent of total assets by 2017, Mari said, up from around 17 percent and 30 percent prior to the NSGB transaction.

Building a presence in Turkey, one of the world’s fastest-growing emerging markets, will be a key part of that plan, analysts and bankers say. 

Turkey’s banking index has risen nearly two thirds this year. Reuters

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