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Mon 9 Apr 2012 02:15 PM

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Kuwait's Burgan in US$355m deal for Turkish bank

EFG Eurobank will sell its Turkish arm Kuwait's Burgan Bank

Kuwait's Burgan in US$355m deal for Turkish bank
Kuwaiti businessmen, Kuwaiti investors

EFG Eurobank will sell its Turkish arm to Kuwait's Burgan Bank, in a US$355m deal which will help shore up the struggling Greek lender's capital base.

Burgan, the commercial banking arm of Kuwait Projects (KIPCO), will also absorb US$280m of loans issued by EFG to the Turkish unit as part of the deal, it said in a bourse filing on Monday.

"The bank has signed today an agreement with EFG Eurobank to buy 99.26 percent stake in Turkish lender Eurobank Tekfen for KWD99m," Burgan said in the filing.

Sources told Reuters last week that the sale was imminent and that Burgan was likely to offer Eurobank Tekfen's book value of US$350m.

Eurobank Tekfen, a partnership between EFG Eurobank and Turkey's Tekfen Holding, was put up for sale last July by Greece's second-largest bank.

Tekfen Holding signed a deal with Eurobank Holding to sell its 29.26 percent stake in Eurobank Tekfen to Eurobank Holding or a potential buyer to be named by the holding, Tekfen said in a separate statement on Monday.

The sale comes as Greek banks, hit by the country's sovereign debt crisis, look to boost their capital base to cope with a protracted recession and rise in non-performing loans.

While Greek banks seek to shore themselves up in the face of protracted recession, Gulf investors have been looking at Turkey as a natural target in the face of unrest in the Middle East and debt crises in Europe and North America.

The sale will raise EFG Eurobank's Core Tier 1 capital ratio by about 60 basis points or about 300 million euros, the bank said.

The Kuwaiti lender will use internal funds for the deal and is awaiting final approval from the central bank in Kuwait and the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency in Turkey, it said.

Barclays and Goldman Sachs advised EFG Eurobank on the deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2012 after regulatory approvals. Citigroup Inc advised Burgan on the acquisition.

Eurobank Tekfen runs a network of 60 branches and ranks among the top 20 banks in Turkey by loans. Its loan portfolio stands at €1.5bn (US$1.96bn).

The Egyptian arm of Greece's Piraeus Bank, valued at over US$200m, has attracted five suitors from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, two sources told Reuters last week.

Burgan shares were up 2.4 percent on the Kuwait bourse at 0938 GMT.

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