The Commercial Bank of Qatar has completed its acquisition of a 70.84% majority shareholding in Alternatifbank (ABank) in Turkey from Anadolu Endustri Holding after receiving regulatory approval from both nations.
The deal is part of the Qatari bank’s international expansion drive and gives it a presence in the fast-growing Turkish economy. It has previously acquired minority stakes in the National Bank of Oman (34.9%) and in United Arab Bank (40%) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
ABank was established in 1991 and is Turkey’s seventeenth biggest lender by assets with 69 branches, a total loan book of TL5.1m and customer deposits of TL 4.2m. It posted a net profit after tax of TL81m last year. The Turkish commercial bank focuses on small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) and has assets worth TL7.9bn (US$4.4bn) as of yearend 2012.
Commenting on the takeover, his excellency Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Attiyah, chairman of the Commercial Bank of Qatar, said: “We are delighted to have received regulatory approval for, and now completed, this very important [unpriced] transaction. As the trade and economic links between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Turkey grow ever stronger, and corporates become more active in their cross-border activities between the two markets, we feel the timing of our entry into the Turkish market is right. ABank is a highly respected, growing bank and we are looking forward to welcoming the bank into the group to facilitate further growth for all of our alliance banks.”
Turkey is the eighteenth biggest economy in the world and has enjoyed an average annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of over 5% since 2002.
Turkey and the Middle East have an increasingly close financial and economic relationship, with the Middle East and the Caucasus accounting for 28% of Turkey’s exports, twice the level of five years ago. Exports from Turkey to Arab countries increased 11-fold in the last decade and imports from Arab countries grew 12-fold, illustrating the growing trade links. The level of bilateral trade was nearly US$50bn last year.
Turkish investment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has grown from approximately US$5bn to more than $34bn in just under a decade. The Turkish banking sector, which has seen loan growth of 142% since 2008, remains relatively under penetrated compared with the eurozone. It is expected to continue to grow on the back of continued GDP expansion.