Qatari bank buys 71 percent of Turkish Alternatifbank

Qatari bank buys 71 percent of Turkish Alternatifbank

ISTANBUL - Reuters
The Commercial Bank of Qatar (CBQ) has agreed to buy a 70.84 percent stake in Alternatifbank, the Turkish lender said yesterday, as lenders in the Gulf state look to grow overseas.

CBQ, the Gulf state’s third-largest bank by market value, began talks in December with Anadolu Holding to acquire the stake, the latest example of Gulf lenders looking outside of their home market for acquisition targets.

CBQ said it would pay an amount equivalent to twice the target’s book value as of June 30, noting that the bank’s book value on Dec. 31 had been 585 million Turkish Liras ($323.9 million).

As of Dec. 31, the stake would have been valued at $460 million. Alternatifbank, which has a market value of $594 million, is 96 percent owned by Istanbul-based Anadolu Holding.

Executives of both parties stated their firm belief that the deal will lay the groundwork for both banks to grow.
Alternatifbank, Turkey’s largest bank in size, raised its net profit by 141 percent to over 68 million liras last year.

There has been strong interest among Qatari banks in Turkey recently as they face a lack of potential acquisitions in the Gulf region and look to diversify outside of their home country’s narrow economy, Fitch Ratings has said.

Just yesterday, another Qatari Bank, Qatar’s fifth-largest bank Doha Bank QSC, announced that it seeks to become active in the Turkish lending sector.

“We are interested in the Turkish banking sector,” Nezih Akalan, Turkey Head Representative of Doha Bank QSC, told Anatolia News Agency, adding that they are late in getting involved in the sector.

Akalan said the bank had initiated some investment attempts in Turkey before, but those efforts were halted by the 2008 financial crisis, forcing them to face Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

“Now the time for Turkey has come. It is not [a place] that you can neglect,” she said.

Qatar National Bank, the Gulf state’s largest lender, has also been interested in expanding into Turkey through acquisitions, its chief financial officer said in January, but had no firm targets. Its bid for Denizbank last year lost out to Russia’s Sberbank.