Qatar National Bank eyes Turkish bank

Qatar National Bank eyes Turkish bank

DUBAI - Reuters
Qatar National Bank eyes Turkish bank

Qatar National Bank’s head office building is seen in Doha in this photo. The bank plans to by a majority stake in a top 10 Turkish bank. REUTERS photo

Qatar National Bank (QNB), which is buying Societe Generale’s Egyptian unit for $2 billion 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 license 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.

Expansion spree

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 Dec. 12, it agreed to pay $2 billion for a majority stake in National Societe Generale Bank from its French parent. The deal valued the Egyptian lender at $2.6 billion 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.

Building presence will be key part: analyts

Building a presence in Turkey will be a key part of that plan, analysts and bankers say.

“Some of the main banks in Turkey are owned by western institutions and you would expect they would be seeking to divest at some point, given issues back home.

QNB will be looking for that opportunity,” a banking source said. In April, Greek bank EFG Eurobank sold its Turkish arm to Kuwaiti group Burgan Bank in a $355 million deal.

Bankers are also awaiting the announcement of a mandate for the sale of National Bank of Greece’s Turkish arm Finansbank, one of the best-run banks in the country, despite the Greek lender saying it was no rush to sell.