Qatar bank to buy ma­jor­ity stake in Al­ter­nat­if­bank

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Com­mer­cial Bank of Qatar (CBQ) has agreed to buy a 70.8 per cent stake in Turk­ish lender Al­ter­nat­if­bank, un­der­scor­ing Gulf Arab lenders' ap­petite to ex­pand into Europe's fastest grow­ing econ­omy. CBQ, the Gulf state's third­largest bank by mar­ket value, be­gan talks in De­cem­ber with Al­ter­natif's par­ent Anadolu Hold­ing for the pur­chase, seek­ing to ex­tend its foot­print out­side the Gulf for the first time.

The deal is val­ued at $460 mil­lion based on Al­ter­natif's book value of $328 mil­lion at the end of De­cem­ber. The fi­nal price will be based on two times the Turk­ish lender's book value as at June 30, 2013, CBQ said on Mon­day.

Gulf Arab banks are keen to build a pres­ence in Turkey, one of the world's fastest-grow­ing emerg­ing mar­kets, to di­ver­sify their re­gional pres­ence amid grow­ing com­pe­ti­tion at home.

With the Turk­ish reg­u­la­tor fol­low­ing a strin­gent pol­icy on hand­ing out bank­ing li­cences, ac­qui­si­tions have been the pre­ferred route for most in­ter­ested par­ties.

Le­banon's Audi Bank be­came the first lender to ob­tain a Turk­ish bank­ing li­cense in more than a decade when it re­ceived reg­u­la­tory ap­proval last year. Qatar Na­tional Bank, the Gulf state's largest lender, is also in­ter­ested in ex­pand­ing into Turkey through ac­qui­si­tions, though it has no firm tar­gets, its chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer said in Jan­uary. It bid for Denizbank last year but lost out to Rus­sia's Sber­bank. Denizbank was sold for around 1.3 times book value, lower than the mul­ti­ple CBQ is paying for Al­ter­natif, though that partly re­flected the pres­sure on Denizbank's owner, Dexia, to sell the busi­ness. In April last year, Greek bank EFG Eurobank sold its Turk­ish arm to Kuwaiti group Bur­gan Bank in a $355 mil­lion deal.

"Qatar and Turkey con­tinue to strengthen their re­la­tion­ship which will ben­e­fit the new part­ner­ship be­tween Com­mer­cial­bank and ABank en­abling both banks to con­tinue to grow and thrive," said CBQ Chair­man Ab­dul­lah Bin Khal­ifa Al At­tiyah.

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