Bloomberg News

Sberbank Said to Return With Higher Denizbank Bid

May 14, 2012

Russia’s OAO Sberbank (SBER) has returned to negotiations to purchase Denizbank AS (DENIZ) with a bid higher than that of Qatar National Bank SAQ (QNBK), previously the only potential buyer for the Turkish lender, according to people familiar with the situation.

QNB remains in negotiations with Dexia SA (DEXB), the Franco- Belgian owner of Denizbank, after seeking a price close to the Turkish unit’s book value, which stood at about $2.7 billion at the end of the first quarter, the people said, declining to be identified as the talks are private.

Alexander Baziyan, a spokesman for Moscow-based Sberbank, declined to comment on the process or Denizbank’s valuation. A spokesman for Dexia declined to comment.

Dexia, based in Paris and Brussels, put Denizbank up for sale as part of a rescue plan imposed by the French and Belgian governments when the debt crisis eroded its ability to obtain funding. The sale came amid decisions by lenders including Deutsche Bank AG and France’s Societe Generale SA (GLE) to shed more than $1 trillion in assets, loan portfolios and entire units to raise cash, according to Bloomberg data, creating a surge in available banking assets.

The European Banking Authority told the region’s banks to raise 114.7 billion euros ($151 billion) in fresh capital in December to respond to the fall in the value of securities issued by euro-area governments. The agency also required banks to keep a core Tier 1 capital ratio of 9 percent and hold additional reserves, called a sovereign buffer, to protect against default on debt tied to weaker euro-area economies.

Sberbank Expansion

Sberbank has started expanding outside its mainstay in the former Soviet Union this year by purchasing most of Oesterreichische Volksbanken’s eastern European business. It plans to use the Vienna-based banking group as a springboard for buying new assets in Poland and Turkey, the biggest banking markets in the emerging European economies.

Sberbank and HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) had previously dropped out of the Denizbank process, saying the price was too high. UniCredit SpA (UCG), the Italian bank that is Sberbank’s biggest competitor in the region, also said it would consider an offer for Denizbank if the sale to QNB foundered.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ercan Ersoy in Istanbul at eersoy@bloomberg.net; Matthew Campbell in London at mcampbell39@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jacqueline Simmons at jackiem@bloomberg.net


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