Russia’s top lender, Sberbank, has agreed to buy 99.85 percent of Turkey’s Denizbank from Belgium’s Dexia financial group for $3.5 billion, in what could be the greatest ever purchase in the bank’s history, Sberbank head German Gref said on Friday.
“We have bought 99.85 percent of Denizbank for $3.5 billion. I hope the deal will be closed this year but it would depend on approval from many regulators,” Gref said after the signing ceremony.
The Russian banking giant will be adding to its international presence at a considerable less expensive price than it may have been, as prices for all European financial players have been buffeted by doubts about balance sheet risks, exposure to sovereign debt issues within the eurozone, and the often dire economic outlook for many European markets.
Established in 1938, Denizbank is now ranked 10th among Turkish banks on assets, which were estimated at over $25 billion in the beginning of 2012. Sberbank Deputy Chairman Anton Karamzin has said that the Denizbank purchase would increase foreign business to about nine percent of total operations.
It is Sberbank’s second major foray into international markets, following on from its February acquisition of 100 percent of Volksbank International, an Eastern European subsidiary of Austria’s Oesterreichische Volksbanken AG banking group, for 505 million euros.