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Kuwait's NBK Buys into Turkish Bank for $160 Million - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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DUBAI, (Reuters) – National Bank of Kuwait is buying 40 percent of Turkish Bank for $160 million, an official of the Kuwaiti bank said, in the latest move by a Gulf lender to make a foreign acquisition as domestic competition intensifies.

National Bank said in May it was in talks to take a 30 percent stake in privately-owned Turkish Bank, with an option to increase that to 40 percent.

“We have taken the whole lot,” said the National Bank official, who asked not to be identified.

A quarter of the $160 million would be invested in increasing the capital of Turkish Bank, the official said.

Like other Gulf banks riding an economic boom on the back of a tripling in oil prices since 2002, NBK is growing abroad to offset competition at home, where foreign players such as HSBC Holdings and BNP Paribas SA are expanding their presence.

Turkish Bank has 17 branches and ended the year with total assets of 649 million Turkish lira ($481.2 million).

National Bank wants to increase its branch network five-fold in two years, the official said.

Turkey has seen a string of foreign acquisitions of its banks in recent years with purchases from European and U.S. institutions.

Kuwait Investment Authority, which invests the Gulf Arab state’s budget surpluses, bought a 2.7 percent stake in the initial public offering of state lender Halkbank in May.

This month, Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank, the Gulf’s largest lender by assets, agreed to pay $1.08 billion for 60 percent of privately owned Turkish Islamic lender Turkiye Finans.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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