‘Ziraat unit drops plan to buy stake in Simit Sarayı’

‘Ziraat unit drops plan to buy stake in Simit Sarayı’

‘Ziraat unit drops plan to buy stake in Simit Sarayı’

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he disapproves of plans regarding a unit of state-owned lender Ziraat buying a stake in bakery chain Simit Sarayı and that this plan has been dropped.

Last week, venture capital investment trust Ziraat Girişim Sermayesi Yatırım Ortaklığı, a part of Ziraat Finance Group, applied to the country’s competition authority to acquire a 51 percent stake in Simit Sarayı.

“I contacted the general manager as soon as I heard about it [ the company’s application]. The general manager told me that ‘such a plan was once on our agenda but at present, we do not consider making such a move. In fact, it is not Ziraat Bankası but its venture capital arm [which acted to acquire the stake],” Erdoğan told a group of journalists in Geneva, Switzerland.

Asked if he approves such a plan, Erdoğan responded: “No, I cannot possibly approve this. Recall that state-owned banks went under in the past because of their duty losses. After we came to power, we cleared those banks’ duty losses.”

“Ziraat today is one of the leading and international banks so are [state-owned lenders] Halkbank and Vakıfbank,” Erdoğan added.

Ziraat Finance Group has a presence in 18 countries.

It has subsidiaries in several countries, including Germany, Bosnia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan.

Besides its venture capital units, Ziraat Finance Group’s local subsidiaries include participation bank Ziraat Katılım, insurance firm Ziraat Sigorta, life and pension company Ziraat Hayat ve Emeklilik and real estate investment trust Ziraat GYO.