Efforts to sell Turkish bank to UAE continue despite diplomatic tensions

Dubai’s largest bank, NBD, is on course to buy Turkish DenizBank, Reuters said, despite ongoing political tensions between the Turkey and the United Arab Emirates that followed Ankara’s decision to back Qatar in a dispute between Gulf Arab countries.

Although the decision has not been finalised, efforts to conclude the deal are ongoing despite reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is against the purchase, the news agency said, quoting anonymous sources.

In the last month, DenizBank Chief Executive Hakan Ateş has met Erdoğan and other Turkish senior officials in Ankara in an attempt to convince them of the deal’s merits.

However, it is not clear how successful his efforts were. Recent developments such as a decision taken last month by the largest Arab broadcasters to stop showing Turkish TV series are unlikely to help matters.

A Turkish official said: “In recent times the UAE has made comments and taken steps that are hostile to Ankara. It is impossible to say that they are very friendly. I cannot say that there won’t be a sale, but it is unrealistic to say that developments support the sale.”

DenizBank is Turkey’s ninth-largest lender by assets. Shares in the bank have risen by 70% this year, giving it a market value of $5.3 billion. Its current owner, Russia’s Sberbank, paid around $3.5 billion to acquire DenizBank in 2012.