* Wants to buy majority stake in Turkish bank
* Won't bid for BNP, Credit Agricole assets in Egypt
(Adds detail, comments)
By Dinesh Nair and David French
DUBAI, Dec 13 Qatar National Bank,
which is buying Societe Generale's Egyptian unit for
$2 billion as part of a regional expansion strategy, now has
control of a top Turkish bank in its sights.
"We are looking at a majority stake in a top 10 Turkish bank
as a means to add value," chief financial officer Ramzi Mari
said on a conference call on Thursday, adding QNB would not
apply for its own licence in Turkey.
QNB, which lost out to Russian group Sberbank in
the bidding for Turkish lender Denizbank earlier this
year, is also interested in expanding in Morocco and Saudi
Arabia, where it plans to open branches going forward, he said.
QNB, 50-percent owned by the Gulf state's sovereign wealth
fund, has been on an expansion spree, snapping up stakes in
regional lenders to build an emerging market franchise with the
backing of its gas-rich government.
On Wednesday, it agreed to pay $2 billion for a majority
stake in National Societe Generale Bank from its
French parent. The deal valued the Egyptian lender at $2.6
billion and QNB now plans to make a mandatory offer to minority
QNB, which already has stakes in lenders in countries such
as Indonesia, Jordan and Tunisia, wants its international
business to contribute around 40 percent of profit and 45
percent of total assets by 2017, Mari said, up from around 17
percent and 30 percent prior to the NSGB transaction.
Building a presence in Turkey, one of the world's
fastest-growing emerging markets, will be a key part of that
plan, analysts and bankers say. Turkey's banking index
has risen nearly two thirds this year.
The country's top banks include Garanti Bank -
the largest bank by market value and 25 percent-owned by Spanish
company BBVA, and Akbank - partly owned by
U.S. group Citigroup.
Turkey raised $2.5 billion last month selling a 24 percent
stake in Halkbank in what was the country's biggest
ever share sale, attracting heavy foreign interest.
"Some of the main banks in Turkey are owned by western
institutions and you would expect they would be seeking to
divest at some point, given issues back home. QNB will be
looking for that opportunity," a banking source said, declining
to be identified due to fear of losing business with the bank.
In April, Greek bank EFG Eurobank sold its Turkish
arm to Kuwaiti group Burgan Bank in a $355 million
Bankers are also awaiting the announcement of a mandate for
the sale of National Bank of Greece's Turkish arm
Finansbank, one of the best-run banks in the country,
despite the Greek lender saying it was no rush to sell.
EGYPT PLAN COMPLETE
QNB's Egypt deal completed its 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, was also
seeking bids for its Egyptian retail arm, expected to generate
around $400-$500 million, sources aware of the matter said in
Dubai bank Emirates NBD and Moroccan peer
Attijariwafabank have bid for BNP assets, banking
sources told Reuters in October.
French lender Credit Agricole has an Egyptian unit
in which it owns a majority stake.
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 Iraqi firm Mansour Bank
to 51 percent and bought a 49 percent stake in Libya's Bank of
Commerce and Development in April.
(Editing by Dan Lalor and Amran Abocar)