Turkish Finansbank Said to Attract Bids as Greece Preps Sale

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  • Qatar National Bank, Fibabanka said to submit bids for bank
  • National Bank of Greece to reduce stake under bailout terms

Finansbank, the $3.6 billion Turkish lender owned by National Bank of Greece, has attracted bids from Qatar National Bank and Fibabanka, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

The banks and other unidentified lenders submitted offers for the Istanbul-based lender about two weeks ago, the people said, asking not to be named because talks are private. NBG is seeking to divest a stake after abandoning plans earlier in the year to sell shares in Finansbank through a secondary public offering, people with knowledge of the matter said in July. Bidders submitted offers for the whole bank though no final decision has been made on what percentage of the bank would be sold, two of the people said.

The share sale had been imposed by European regulators under the terms of a bailout agreement and compelled Greece’s largest lender to reduce its 99.8 percent stake to less than 60 percent by year’s-end. The process was abandoned after the bank several times missed its own internal deadlines amid a rout in Turkish equities, where the main stock index has lost a quarter of its value in dollar terms over the last 12 months.

Finansbank rose as much as 13 percent in Istanbul trading as of 4 p.m. local time. They’ve risen about 35 percent year to date amid growing speculation that its parent will have to sell more of its stake as Greek lenders run out of cash. Finansbank delivered 318 million euros ($355 million) in profit last year for Greece’s largest lender, compared with the 283 million-euro loss NBG made on its home turf.

National Bank of Greece, Finansbank and Fibabanka declined to comment, while Qatar National Bank wasn’t immediately available to comment.