İşbank seeks to acquire Greek bank in Egypt

İşbank seeks to acquire Greek bank in Egypt

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
İşbank seeks to acquire Greek bank in Egypt

The İşbank towers in Istanbul as seen here house the headquarters of İşbank, one of Turkey’s leading banking and financial groups. Hürriyet photo

İşbank, one of Turkey’s leading banking and financial groups, is looking to acquire a bank in Egypt as part of its expansion strategy in the surrounding countries and region, according to daily Milliyet.

İşbank’s latest target has become Piraeus Bank Egypt, owned by a Greek banking group, following preliminary examinations. İşbank managers have initiated contact with the Muslim Brotherhood, a rooted political Islamic movement dominating Egyptian politics in the transitional period following the overthrow of Egypt’s former president, Hosni Mubarak, Milliyet said.

İşbank currently has a representative office in Egypt, the most populous country in the Arab world. Piraeus Bank Egypt has an asset size of about 1 billion euro and 49 branches. Piraeus Banking Group has put its Egyptian unit up for sale due to the deepening economic and social crisis in its home country.

İşbank had a branch in the coastal city of Alexandria from 1932 to 1959. The bank returned to the North African country in 2010, launching a representative office in the capital city of Cairo.

During the inauguration of the office, an İşbank official signaled the significance of the Egyptian market saying: “The trade volume between Turkey and the region [North African countries] has hit $11 billion. [That is why] we have made a decision to open a representative office in Egypt, which has development potential.”

Fast expansion

The bank has accelerated its search for proper markets and opportunities to expand after acquiring Bank Sofia, operating in Russia, in December 2011 for approximately $40 million. İşbank opened a branch in the Russian capital of Moscow early last December.

İşbank was also preparing to open new branches in Iraq, Kosovo, Georgia and Pakistan, the bank’s general manager, Adnan Bali, told the Daily News on Feb. 15. “In addition, our talks to acquire a bank in Azerbaijan continue. The bank’s representative office in China might also be turned into a branch if Turkey gets more plugged into the Asian market,” he added.

İşbank’s asset size grew by 23 percent last year, reaching nearly 161.6 billion liras. It opened 65 new branches across Turkey, employing 2,031 people.

Piraeus Banking Group is one of the three largest Greek private banking and financial institutions. The market capitalization of Piraeus is at about 543 million euros. It was founded in 1916. Piraeus Bank went through a period of state-ownership and management (1975-1991) before it was privatized in December 1991. The group possesses a network of 810 branches, 354 in Greece and 456 internationally, as of September 2011, according to its official website.

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