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Standard Bank Sells 53% of Turkish Unit to Focus on Africa

April 10 (Bloomberg) -- Standard Bank Group Ltd. sold 53 percent of its Turkish broker and investment bank as Africa’s largest lender focuses on markets closer to home.

That cut its stake in Standard Unlu to 25 percent, the Johannesburg-based bank said today in a statement translated from Turkish. The shares were bought by Turkish businessman Mahmut Unlu, who raised his shareholding to 75 percent. The statement didn’t say how much he paid.

“Turkey is an important enough country for us that we are not pulling out completely,” said Martin Botha, a director at Standard Bank.

While Standard Bank last year said it didn’t plan to sell the Turkish business, the sale is part of a global strategy that includes selling assets in Argentina and Russia, according to Botha. The lender, which has about $1 billion in surplus capital after the sales, is trying to improve the profitability of its operations in Africa.

Standard Bank rose as much as 2.3 percent, the biggest intraday gain in more than three months, and closed up 1.2 percent at 112.60 rand in Johannesburg trading.

To contact the reporter on this story: Renee Bonorchis in Johannesburg at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Edward Evans at

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