Qatar’s national bank has agreed to buy Finansbank, a Turkish unit of the National Bank of Greece (NBG), for $2.94bn. Regulatory approval is still required for the acquisition of NBG’s 99.8 percent holding – yet if it does go ahead, it will be the largest takeover by a Persian Gulf lender outside of its domestic market.
It is expected that the deal will be finalised by the second quarter of 2016, having already received approval by the board of directors of both banks, as well as by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund.
Qatar National Bank (QNB), of which 50 percent is owned by the country’s sovereign wealth fund, has long indicated an interest in Turkey
Qatar National Bank (QNB), of which 50 percent is owned by the country’s sovereign wealth fund, has long indicated an interest in Turkey as part of its expansion plans. News of the bank’s upcoming purchase of Finansbank is the latest in a string of acquisitions made by QNB in recent years. For example, in 2014, the bank became the leading shareholder in Africa’s Ecobank Transnational conglomerate, with a 23.5 percent stake.
“This transaction is a significant milestone in QNB’s vision to becoming a Middle East and Africa icon by 2017 and a leading global bank by 2030,” said Group Chief Executive Officer Ali Ahmed Al-Kuwari, according to Bloomberg.
Unlike US and European banks, which have spent the years following the 2008 financial crisis retreating to their domestic markets, the QNB has expanded throughout Africa and Asia at a remarkable rate, and shows no signs of abating. In fact, QNB is still just midway through a five-year strategy to expand its presence into 20 major cities in the west-east corridor, thereby making it the largest Arab bank in the world. As such, much more investment activity can be expected in 2016 from this budding player on the global financial scene.