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Thu 13 Dec 2012 04:27 PM

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QNB eyes Turkish buys after SocGen deal

Qatar National Bank just signed deal to acquire SocGen's Egypt arm for US$2bn

QNB eyes Turkish buys after SocGen deal

Qatar National Bank, which is buying Societe Generale's Egypt arm for US$2bn, is looking at taking a majority stake in one of Turkey's top ten lenders, its chief financial officer said on Thursday.

QNB, which bid to buy Turkish lender Denizbank but lost out to Russia's Sberbank earlier this year, prefers to pursue an acquisitive path in Turkey as part of its regional expansion, Chief Financial Officer Ramzi Mari said on a conference call.

"I don't see us applying for a licence in Turkey. We are looking at a majority stake in a top ten Turkish bank as a means to add value," Mari said. He did not give further details.

QNB, which is 50 percent owned by the Gulf state's sovereign wealth fund, has been on an expansion spree, snapping up stakes in regional lenders as it seeks to build an emerging market franchise with the backing of its gas-rich government.

On Wednesday, it agreed to buy a majority stake in Egypt's National Societe Generale Bank from its French parent for US$2bn. The deal valued the Egyptian lender at US$2.6bn and QNB plans to make a mandatory offer to minority shareholders.

The Egypt deal completes the bank's expansion plans in the North African country, Mari said, and QNB will not bid for other banking assets put on the block by European lenders there,

BNP Paribas, the largest French lender, is also seeking bids for the sale of its Egyptian retail arm, expected to generate around US$400m to $500 million, sources aware of the matter said in August.

Credit Agricole has an Egyptian unit in which the French lender owns a majority stake.

"This acquisition completes our Egypt expansion plans. We are not looking at BNP or Credit Agricole assets," Mari said.

QNB raised its stake in Abu Dhabi-based Commercial Bank International to 39.9 percent from 16.5 percent recently. It also boosted its stake in Iraq's Mansour Bank to a 51-percent holding and bought a 49-percent stake in Libya's Bank of Commerce and Development in April.

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