Emirates NBD completes Denizbank purchase to become top regional player

Emirates NBD completed the acquisition of Turkey’s Denizbank from Russian lender Sberbank in a deal delayed by more than a year.

Emirates NBD, Dubai’s biggest bank, now owns 99.85 percent of Denizbank, which is the fifth-largest lender in Turkey. The company has 749 branches across Turkey and employs almost 14,000 people.

The sale of Denizbank had been postponed by a currency crisis in Turkey. Emirates NBD and Sberbank first announced a deal in May last year valuing the bank at 14.6 billion liras. But the Turkish lira sank to a record low against the dollar three months later, prompting renegotiation of the sales contract. The new agreement, worth 15.5 billion liras, but about $400 million less in dollar terms, was announced in May this year subject to regulator approval.

Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim, vice-chairman and managing director of Emirates NBD, said the purchase of Denizbank would strengthen the market position of Emirates NBD across the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, allowing it to become a top regional player.

 “While there is considerable cross-border trade and business activity across the MENAT region, only few banks can claim to have a strong pan-regional presence,” Al Qassim said in a statement on the bank’s website on Thursday. “Emirates NBD is now looking to change this with DenizBank, and we are pleased to have found a partner that has built a strong franchise and reputation as a leading banking group.”

The sale of Denizbank will allow Sberbank to focus on its business in Russia, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Herman Gref said in the statement.