The United Arab Emirates' (UAE) largest bank, Emirates NBD, is preparing to submit a bid for Russia's top lender Sberbank's Turkish unit Denizbank in March, industry insiders said, according to Bloomberg.
Late January, Sberbank announced the initiation of strategic negotiations that include the purchase of Denizbank shares by Emirates NBD.
Bloomberg reported that Dubai's largest bank is evaluating an offer for Denizbank, said sources, who asked not to be identified due to the closed-door nature of the meetings. It also added, according to sources, it could take several months before Sberbank decides whether or not to sell its Turkish unit.
According to Bloomberg's calculations, a deal for Sberbank's 99.9 percent holding could be worth as much as $4.12 billion.
On Feb. 13, Sberbank head Herman Gref said the bank received a very good offer for its Turkish unit Denizbank after U.S. and European sanctions on Russia made it difficult for the lender to operate in Turkey.
He also said the bank had accumulated 40 billion rubles ($693 million) in net profit from foreign subsidiaries, while the bank had no plans to expand overseas.
Emirates NBD and Denizbank declined to comment.
Some 99.85 percent of Denizbank was sold to Sberbank on Sept. 28, 2012 for $3.45 billion. If Sberbank and Emirates NBD agree, DenizBank will get its fifth owner.
Denizbank's total consolidated assets amounted to around TL 152 billion (around $40.2 billion) as of Sept. 30, 2017. Its consolidated equity is around TL 12.3 billion. The bank employs over 14,000 people in 740 branches.
Gulf investors' interest in Turkish banks has come to the fore once again following the announcement by Sberbank.
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, consisting of Bahrain, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Oman, have many investments in different areas of Turkey, including ownership or partnership deals in eight banks. A&T Bank, Abank, Albaraka Türk, Burgan Bank, Kuwait Türk, QNB Finansbank, Turkish Bank and Türkiye Finans continue their activities with the Gulf capital.
Interest in the Turkish banking sector continues in the Gulf countries, which have invested billions of dollars in the finance, retail, health, defense, tourism and real estate sectors.
While the Turkish banking sector has been the focus of foreign investors from every region, leading banks from the Gulf region have been operating in Turkey for nearly 40 years, mainly through acquisitions or partnership deals.